Sunday, March 8, 2009

Which one has a priority – the design or copy?

Do you give copy a go-by when compared to a design?
It struck me hard when I saw a brochure for a premier educational group which has reprinted its brochure for the new academic year. The design is new, but the copy alas…is an old one. When I asked the art director he said “the client’s pushing me as he fell short of the deadline. And I too didn’t find time to get a new copy done”.

I literally felt so bad for the client who printed the brochure which would’ve cost him quite a sum. It was a huge opportunity for him/her to talk about its new vision, new dreams, and the new developments to its readers.

Many clients think it’s a waste of time and money to pay a copywriter for new copy and even the consultants too lend a deaf ear to writing a new one. I feel it’s because they do not want to part the extras money with or plain lack of knowledge what copy does for them.

How important is copy for all the communications: brochure, website, leaflet, direct mailer etc? Let’s take a look at it and find out the real purpose of it.

Every brochure, website etc – a mouthpiece, a piece of history

Brochure will always have a charm. The sensuous design on the cover really attracts every reader. Usually the ones which cross the line (away from the ordinary and expected) and showcase a theme with a good picture and the matching shade of colours takes our attention. Inside too, the seeming flow of the theme on to the corresponding pages and the final back cover which signs off, all make a good, arresting brochure which steals our interest and certainly deserve a second look.

It’s the cover headline that’s the hook.
Inside copy is the soul

“The headline is the 'ticket on the meat.' Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising”. David Ogilvy

The visual appeal sure attracts us, but what strikes the heart first is the cover headline. Which instantly lifts our spirits to know what these people are all about. This headline changes the plane of thought of the reader from whatever state of mind he/she is in.

The cover headline should intrigue and pique the interest of the reader; if not, the conceptual visual should do the job. And certainly once the inside copy is being read it should talk to him as if we’re talking to a close friend. Pouring our heart out to let the world know what we truly believe in and what the company stands for without mincing words.

Behind the cosmetic appeal, what’s the person is all about

Several individual design-shops who work for clients and who seemingly doesn’t know the importance of copy should understand it’s a precious opportunity that’s being wasted: to talk to and let the readers know the organization as a true person. It’s their professional duty to suggest the client (who’re innocent and sometimes indifferent to any suggestions), and drive home the point. Even to the point of ruffling few feathers - the importance of copy and its phenomenal role in touching the chords of readers and bring oodles of appreciation and cheers for their brand. After all, we, advertising professionals, go a length to make the organization stand in a good light (brand equity), and with it ours too.


Vivienne Quek said...

I would say both copy and design are equally important. We enjoy watching a movie because we can watch and listen at the same time.

Solomon said...

I'm for both. Infact, I like and adore (any copywriter for that matter) great design. It's like a relation between a sculptor and an architect, an artiste and a writer...lover and his love etc.

Thanks for the visit!