Which Comes First, Copy or Design?
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Which Comes First, Copy or Design?

April 27, 2021

Want the short answer? Copy comes before design.

What is copy? It’s the core text that tells your customers what they need to know about your brand. This can be written on your website, an email newsletter, or social media accounts. You don’t necessarily need to be selling something with your copy, but you need to connect your potential customer with your brand. 

When it comes to a successful brand mark and website design, copy is Queen. In fact, it’s so important that we don’t even begin the design process until the copy is at least 80% complete.

Is your jaw open? Yes, we said 80%. 

Why? Because until you’re able to convey your brand’s purpose in writing, you’re going to have a difficult (read: almost impossible) time communicating it visually. 

So before you jump the gun on design projects, invest your time and energy into crafting copy that is clear, descriptive, and unique to your business.  Overall, make sure that you answer some of these big-picture questions:

  • Why does my business exist?
  • How do I specifically serve my ideal audience?
  • What is unique about my product or service?
  • What are 3-5 words that describe my brand?
  • How do I want my audience to feel after interacting with my brand?

By answering these questions and allowing copy to be the foundation of your business’s online presence, you’re setting yourself up for long term brand success. If you struggle with writing this on your own, the best way to learn about your brand is by reading your reviews about your business or directly asking  past clients. We recommend sending former clients a questionnaire or writing  a direct email which asks some of the questions mentioned above. 

If you are starting a new brand, we firmly believe that you should begin with finessing and strengthening your copy before working on or hiring someone for design and branding. We’ve known too many people who have spent thousands of dollars trying to get a website up and running without seriously considering and elevating their copy. We believe this leaves your brand to the whims of current design trends or trying to fit into a predesigned template.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about yourself. We get it. But we don’t recommend hiring a copywriter to speak on your behalf, especially if you are a personal brand. Instead, we recommend that you hire a copy editor to refine and help you in areas where you’re struggling to convey thoughts or ideas. A copy editor comes into the process after you’ve done the hard work of coming up with your mission statement, who your ideal client is, and the why behind what your business does. 

Copy is such a crucial step in the design process, and we also know that it can be the most challenging part of the process for our entrepreneurs. We are here to help coach you along the way. We won’t tell you what to write, but we will guide you along the copywriting journey because when compelling copy meets beautiful design, branding magic happens.

We recommend that every one of our clients fill out our Google Form Branding Guide to get into the right headspace while starting a  new project or doing a redesign. This form may seem to have a lot of questions, but after you complete it you can use the words and phrases to write copy that speaks directly to your ideal client. This client doesn’t have to be a particular type of person, but there should be a connecting pain point for all your ideal clients. Your product or service must solve a specific problem in their life, and you need to speak directly to them and their problems in your website copy.

If grammar isn’t your thing, we love the tool Grammarly and use it every day! 


p.s. Are you struggling to find out who your ideal client is? Then read this article!

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