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Beautiful design needs really great copy

16 March

This is an eloquently put guest blog post by my copy writer Olly Davy:


Beautiful design needs really great copy


Imagine you’re in a department store. A good-looking shop assistant catches your eye. You ask for help but they ignore you completely and rant incoherently about their weekend. You’re not likely to stick around, are you?


So it is with design and copywriting. Get it right—attractive, intuitive design paired with clear, customer-focused copy—and you build a stronger brand. Neglect either side of this crucial partnership and you risk being snubbed by your audience.


‘A copywriter is a salesperson behind a typewriter’


Goes the famous quote. These days it’s more likely to be a Macbook of course, but the principle still applies. A copywriter brings precision and clarity to your communications. They make your brand human and accessible. They help you grow your business by:


  1. Pinpointing the most powerful messages about your product or service
  2. Conveying these messages in a way that resonates with your target audience


Sadly, copywriting is often neglected by business owners. Perhaps because they don’t understand its benefits. Or because they want to save money by doing it themselves.


DIY copywriting is a false economy


Like putting in your own bathroom. Save a few quid, right? Unless you’re a skilled tradesman, it won’t be long until the tiles fall off and the shower starts leaking. You’ll wish you hired a pro. Investing in professional design and copywriting is one of the best decisions you can make for your business.



Avoid these common copywriting traps


Writing comes naturally to most people. But writing persuasively has to be learnt and practised. Inexperienced writers often fall into the following traps:


Self-centred copy


Many business communications—websites, brochures, newsletters, whatever—are introspective, wordy and dull. Reading them is like being stuck with the company bore at the Christmas party. People are motivated by self interest. So give them something useful. How does your product make their lives better? If you can put your finger on that you’re half way there.


The wrong tone


The world is awash with business speak. It doesn’t need any more. Your customers are human beings first, [insert job title] second. They respond better to simple language. Jargon is disguise for muddled thinking.


Your copy is the perfect opportunity to express your brand personality. But it has to be done carefully and consistently. An inappropriate tone will alienate your audience. Too zany and they won’t take you seriously. Too dry and they’ll nod off before you get to the point.


A professional writer can help you avoid these pitfalls.


Design-led or copy-led?


A designer and a copywriter make a natural team: visuals and content supporting and enhancing each other to create professional-grade marketing materials. The result? A smooth and pleasant journey for the consumer. One that ends where you want it to, with a phone call, email or sale.


Copywriters love to see design templates before they start writing. It gives them a sense of the space they have to play with. Where the titles, headlines and subheadings could go. The mood of the design also informs the copy. A corporate design requires a more serious written tone. A vibrant design is well suited to lively copy.


There are no rules stating whether a project should start with copywriting or design. Either way, it’s best to get both the designer and the copywriter on-board as early as possible so that everything fits together seamlessly.


Design and copy are two sides to the same communication coin. Investing in well-researched, persuasive copy is just as important as making sure you have the most suitable colours and layout.


Remember the shop assistant we met earlier? Nice to look at but oblivious to your needs? Well, they’ve had a personality upgrade. Now they’re not only good-looking but eloquent and helpful too. That’s a combination customers cannot resist.




Olly Davy is a freelance copywriter based in London. He helps agencies, brands and entrepreneurs communicate with precision and clarity. Find him at



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