As a bona fide, card-carrying word nerd, I’m always going to advocate good copy as the essential aspect of your business branding

If we’re using marriage as the metaphor, let’s say copy is the wife.

But, fair’s fair – design is an important facet. A union needs a second half. Another wife. Because #loveislove. Or husband – whatever floats your boat. 

What creates a smashing brand is marrying the two beautifully, harmoniously, like lovers fated to meet, two halves of a whole. The melody and the harmony.

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Making sweet music together.

If you’ve found a fabulous designer, they will probably have a laser focus on your brand aesthetics. They’re quite right to do so. We know good looking sites are generally better sites, if for no other reason than snazzy design makes the user feel good. And user experience is key.

All the back end tech magic, optimisation, clever beaver ranking tricks, and even, yes, brilliant copy, will lose their impact if your design is off. Then, no one’s buying your love story.

Designers are born with a gift. They see the white space with a sprinkling of magic. They’re so concentrated on their part of the branding task they even use pretend copy *gasp* to hold the space until the real deal is written. (Did you know there was a BACON Ipsum?) While we want our designers to live in visual land, our job as business owners is to remember that a successful, functional end product has to include a perfect blend of all the delicious ingredients.

Of which, luscious copy is a necessity.

So, design is the other wife (or husband, or other) in my story. They’ve spent a significant amount of time and money looking red-hot sexy for their upcoming nuptials. That’s going to be super helpful in the long term, but they’d better not forget to spend some quality time with their future bride ensuring they’re the right fit before they goes waltzing down the aisle in front of a couple of thousand of their nearest and dearest.

Because, as much as your potential reader will be wooed by graphics and design, they’re usually on the hunt for a message

They’re lured in, and then spend a few precious minutes skimming the copy to see if they’re in the right place. It’s here when wifey #1 takes over and boy, she’d better have something to say.

Design and copy can’t be speaking two different languages, or telling two opposing stories. Design’s very function is to support and propel the message delivered by copy.

Because your reader doesn’t differentiate between pretty design and clear words – she just sees a gorgeous website representing an awesome brand. And she feels a bit in love with your unification.

And then she’s telling herself she’s in.

That’s how marriage should work.

Does yours feel like a match made in heaven?

Don’t invest in a pretty box first and then fill it with your all-important message – endeavour to create with the big picture in mind. It can be toilet-roll-dolly flouncy with a six-tiered cake and a big band, or a whisper of a silk sheath, bare feet on the beach kind of wedding, but ensure your branding has synthesis and unity – and we will buy into your romance, as naturally as falling in love.


This article was originally published in “Totally Thriving”, a magazine by Creative Possibility, October 2016. Reprinted with permission from Shannon Bush.

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