So true story: In the middle of working on content to write this article, I attended a free class at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle (a school for creatives which I can't possibly recommend more), and the lecture was about portfolios, resumes, and interview success. A copywriter friend and I sat in a panel of recruiters in the creative industry, talking about what it takes to land a dream job.
However, as the class went on, my friend and I looked at each other because we suddenly felt very out of place.
She wrote on my notepad "I feel like this lecture is VERY designer centric." She underlined very quite a few times.
I nodded my head in agreement, but rather than embarrassingly walking out of a crowded room, we sat and listened. And it dawned on us perhaps at the same time: While some of the specific strategies were design focused, the basic principles for good design and good copywriting are universal not only in execution, but how they are applied to the workplace.
There was once a time where simply being a writer was good enough. For you millenials out there, we used to have this thing called a typewriter where you actually typed on these metal keys that would stamp ink onto actual sheets of paper. There weren't even emoticons to express what we felt. Instead, we had to use real words.
It was a weird time for everybody.
But along came the processor chip and our lives changed forever. Nowadays, being a writer means more than just typing words, it means thinking about the overall visual presentation. You are a creative, an idea person, and a better designer than you probably think you are. You know what looks nice and what doesn't, right?
This probably sounds like common sense to you, but check out this stat that I definitely did not Google or look up for fact checking:
The average user spends less than 5 seconds on a website/link before they get bored and look elsewhere.
What does this all mean for writers? This means that we as writers have to think visually, in order to truly put great ideas on the table.
It will benefit you as a copywriter to learn a thing or two about good design. This doesn't mean you have to spend your life savings taking a design class at the Art Institute, it just means knowing what the difference between serif and sans-serif is. Knowing how to properly apply white space. Knowing your color wheel. Knowing the difference between a well designed page, and a page that is simply doing too much.
What's more, think about the fact that you will probably be working very closely with graphic designers, illustrators, UX designers, AD's, etc. and you will likely have to learn to speak their language.
And in case that's not enough to convince you, just know that the hiring manager at a creative agency or enterprise will likely be an art director with a background in visual design, so it would benefit you to be on their same page (man, I probably should've just started with that).
If you are a copywriter, marketer, content writer or pretty much anyone whose job it is to write words, and you aren't thinking about visual design; the chances are that you are behind the eight ball.