Copywriter to content designer
Published 8 May 2017, by Sarah Winters in Content Design.
We spend a fair amount of time talking about the term ‘content design’. That’s ok. It was used in the beginning as a conversation starter.
So it is doing it’s job. But there’s still some weirdness around the term and I have had a number of conversations recently where there’s some snobbery about whether you are a content designer or a copywriter. I’d quite like to knock that on the head.
Different, not better or worse
I was a copywriter. I started at Ogilvy’s and Saatchis. Traditional, ad-world copywriting. I don’t see content design as better – I see it as different. Personally, I have a very analytical mind. I love data and evidence. I see the discipline of content design, in the way we developed it at GOV.UK, as being steeped in research and reflecting whatever the audience want and need, rather than what the organisation wants to say.
Some copywriters do that. Some editors do that. All content designers do that.
Content design is comforting
My audience will tell me everything I need to know.
They’ll show me the language to use.
They’ll tell me what information they need.
At what time.
On what channel.
In which format.
I find it comforting.
To be honest, I find it a massive relief.
I don’t need to have all the answers.
Content design is the discipline of finding what your audience wants and giving to them where and when they want it, in a way they can digest it. Content designers will not publish whatever the organisation wants. It’s about having research to make sure that everything published is entirely user-centred.
The way I used to do copywriting was to draw people in using only the ideas in my head. I would pull my audience through a literary path of imagination towards a product I wanted to sell.
Different start points. For me, copywriting is inwards, out; content design is outwards, in. (If you see what I mean.)
Some people have both skills, some excel at one.
There’s a place for both.
Content design course
If you’d like to expand your content design skills, we have two courses on in January (Manchester) and February (London). More details on our 2-day content design course page.
You can sign up to our email newsletter to get regular updates from Content Design London.
2 day Content Strategy course 28 and 29 September 2022 (online. EDT timings)
2 day Foundation content design course. 18 and 19 October 2022 (online, AEDT timings)
2 day Advanced content design course. 19 and 20 October 2022 (online)
2 day Working in the open 20 and 21 October 2022
2 day Content Strategy course 26 and 27 October 2022 (online)
2 day Foundation content design course. 26 and 27 October 2022 (online)
2 day Foundation content design course. 16 and 17 November 2022 (in person)
2 day Advanced content design course 17 and 18 November 2022 (online, AEDT timings)
2 day Advanced content design course. 30 November and 1 Dec 2022 (online)