Creative + Co-Pilot

What I've Learned From Teaching as an Adjunct Professor This Year

Great Content is the First Step Toward Great Design


How many times as designers do we approach a client project without the necessary content? How many times have you been forced to polish the written word turd? How many times have you had to search endlessly on a shit stock photo site for imagery worthy of integrating into your current project? (For a great set of ridiculously bad stock photos click here) How many times have clients not wanted to pay for a copywriter and supplied dense, flat, extraneous copy for a project?

When you encounter these challenges, it shows the power and importance of good content. Whether it's photographs, words or illustrations, as designers it's nearly impossible to create an impactful piece that delivers the goods without strong initial writing and imagery. How many times have you seen an ad, and the design was meh, but the headline nailed home the concept? It can be done. 

"Smart and engaging content can live on without good design, but not the other way around. "

When I was working in Nashville with a particular advertising agency, I was fortunate enough to work with some extremely talented writers, videographers and photographers. Those folks would trudge through mud, hang out of helicopters (I've done that too) and work 36 hour days in less than desirable conditions in support of great content. Whether it was to capture sunrise Army navigation drills at Fort Benning, craft a story about the benefits of  the National Guard or to get the money shot for the cover of a monthly magazine, they continually put out good content. I miss that devotion to it but also that the agency valued it so highly and let it champion the work. Smaller design and ad agencies that don't put content at the top of their list, will crash and burn.  Imagine National Geographic without great photographs or The New Yorker without great stories.

Don't crash and burn. Make content a top priority and watch your design work elevate to the next level.


Stephen Jones