I know what you’re thinking.
How can design improve my writing? They’re totally separate.
And if I’m honest, I used to think the exact same thing.
I was so certain that as a copywriter, I didn’t need to think about design at all because my clients each had designer to handle that part of the branding pie.
That was until, I started seeing some major design faux pas that actually changed the context and meaning of their copy.
Love your whitespace
Your words need breathing room. Give them whitespace to make it easy for your readers; the harder it is for your audience to read what you’re sharing, the less they’ll read any of it.
Whitespace (aka the empty space between all of your elements) is what our eyes look for.
Our brain uses visual cues like a big ‘ol bunch of nada to determine when a topic has ended and new one is starting.
Break up your large paragraphs in two medium-sized ones. Move short, punchy sentences onto their lines of their own. Add paragraph breaks between headlines and new paragraphs as well as images and text.
When your copy can breathe, it will do all the talking for you.
Make it big, bold, and blatant
See the readability theme popping up again? It’s important to make your content easy to read, so that there are no obstacles stopping visitors (on your website, blog, etc.) from becoming readers.
Generally speaking, minimalism is a good rule of thumb for your copy.
That means no tiny font or hard-to-read typefaces.
What does tiny font make you think of? Fine print! And nobody wants that; it gives us all a super negative “ugh what’s the catch” feeling. Yuck!
It also means no light font colors on white backgrounds or placing text over busy photos.
Instead, opt for large fonts, clearly legible typefaces, plain backgrounds, and neutral, dark colors.
And don’t be afraid to add formatting like bold, italic, and bullets!
Write for readers, edit for skimmers
I’m not gonna lie, this is the one area I personally struggle with most. I love writing (obviously).
So, it’s easy for me to write pages and pages of content before I remember that most people aren’t interested in consuming long-form content 24/7 — especially if they’re looking for a solution their problem.
Heck, even I’m not that keen!
Most visitors who stumble upon your content got there because your headline pulled them in (great job!!).
The next thing those strangers are going to do is skim for a keyword related to their problem. If they don’t see, they’re bouncing.
So, write for your brand loyal readers — your super fans — but when you go back for a rewrite or an edit, dress up your key points into headlines and sub headlines.
This ensures those skimmers become readers!
Sprinkle with visuals
Humans are visual creatures. Why? Because we’re super lazy.
Just like we skim to find speedy answers to problems (and decide if it’s worth spending our precious time on all the words in between those headlines) we use imagery as information clues.
Think of adding visuals like leaving breadcrumbs for your visitors.
When they show up to your content, and immediately see images related to your content — that speaks to their problem and hints at the solution — you’re dramatically increasing the possibility that they’ll stick around to read what you’ve got to say.
Pop in some pictures, icons, illustrations, or whatever else you’ve got that’s aligned with your visual brand identity.
let your images add another 1,000 metaphorical words each!
With these design tips in tow, all you need is some spectacular copy that makes your ideal client swoon. Not sure where to start? Use a word bank!
Calling all designers and artists!!
How do you use design to make your copy stand out and attract readers?