Fancy Writing With Your Pretty Pictures


Blessed be the work of the SmashLab employees. In particular, Eric Karjaluoto, who wrote this post earlier today on the company’s blog: “Designers Must Write.” This writer really enjoyed the piece for two reasons: 1) he cannot draw to save his life and although he is surrounded by designers and the designer world and is even sometimes called to “design” something himself, he would never, ever, consider himself a designer, because, of course, he can’t even draw. This weakness is explained in this post. And 2) This writer, with the notable exception of this site, can write, and he finds it a tremendously important skill to have. If you can write well, even if you’re not as talented in other areas, you’ll probably have more success than people who can’t. Is this always true? Of course not. But we tend to work with designers and other artists who know their way around the communication circuit other than the pure visual. So that’s the second big topic of this essay, thus making it a terrific, and important read:

I think we generally limit the scope of our work as designers and see only partial aspects of the job as part of our responsibility. For example, we know that we’ll have to select typefaces and correct photographs; however, the amount of time most of us end up spending on these tasks is in my mind relatively unequal to the effort we expend on tasks not acknowledged as part of the job.

I believe that my true job description would begin with this phrase, “Write and respond to email.” That’s what I do all day. I send notes to designers, clients, and suppliers, and then I task manage the fallout from these messages. I send persuasive emails, abrupt emails, congratulatory emails, friendly emails, and so many others. In fact, I’m even composing this blog article in…You guessed it, my email application. Although I may not open Photoshop on a given day, my email application is never inactive.