The copywriter/art director team for the digital ad agency

There was a time, once, long ago, when the copywriter in an ad agency would come up with copy, and the art director would toil away in the basement drawing something to go with it. They came up with stuff like this:

It does have a certain charm to it, though.

When the copywriter and the art director finally started working together, from concept to execution, suddenly the industry changed. We got this:

The art director/copywriter team is now standard practice in the ad industry. When a project requires two kinds of expertise, you want both of those experts communicating as much as possible. Not only do they create a more cohesive finished product – they come up with ideas together that neither of them would have come up with on their own.

In the digital world, it’s not so simple. You can’t just be a copywriter – you have to be a content writer, and content isn’t just clever copy. In the information age, a catchy headline doesn’t even come close to getting the job done.

Art direction isn’t enough either. Sorry, art directors. A website can’t just look pretty, because it’s not just an ad. It’s a tool. It’s an experience. It has to work, and it has to feel nice.

So we have interaction designers. And the interaction designers toil away with filler content, while the content writers try to come up with content that fits the specific character count required by the design. And this is how the vast majority of websites are made.

You may not have realized this, but the vast majority of websites suck.

This gets improved the moment we team up the person making the content with the person making the design that’s supposed to convey that content. That’s right: content writer/interaction designer teams. Or content strategist/user experience designer teams. Or gardener/architect teams. Any way you put it, good things will happen when you have these people working together from concept to execution.

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  1. […] landing page had already been designed, and all I had to do was fill in the lorem ipsum. (Another horrendously wrong way to make a website, for the record.) It was a complicated project, and the team’s first time working on a […]

  2. By How to use Preview to develop content on April 3, 2011 at 09:27

    […] My advice is to never use spreadsheets for writing content. Content goes in the design, so you should develop it in the design. This, obviously, becomes impractical when you are not the person who is designing. (Although I hope you are working very closely with the designer.) […]

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