What Comes First? Copy or Design

30th Jul, 2015

| by writesolutions , Disha Taneja

Obviously the copy, because unless he reads, he can’t design

What should come first for a web designer? Design that offers great user experience and keeps readers happy – right?

Well – you are wrong!! Most web designers believe a good looking page is all that matters but that’s not all.

If you have been doing this, I can bet my bottom dollar that you are dis-serving and deceiving your client.

Time to understand what your client needs.

He needs business leads, reach and customer engagement.

He wants a site that communicates what he is selling to his customer in the most visual, arresting manner.

If you haven’t read the copy that the copywriter gave you, can you accomplish that objective in design terms?

You cannot.

When a client orders a website, he wants quick and good returns on his investment (RoI). He wants his business to grow and he wants to go smiling all the way to the bank.

He wants steady and stable flow of income. Your client may not explain his financial plans or disclose any of these objectives to you, but as a web designer, you have to be perceptive. If your great-looking website does not convey your client business to the prospects, he may not even have it!

If you’re unsure of the core functions of a client or what business he does, read the copy, or make sure to get those answers from the client before cracking the project. You client may not have the words, that the copy person is going to lend him, but without it, you can never get the winning formula in place.

Once you understand why a business exists, it’s important to know how does the client want the website to generate income for the business. Whether you are building an e-commerce site, a corporate site, a product site, a service information site, you need to know what the client is offering to the visitors of the website and how.

This brings us to the next point.

Interface architecture

“Design should organize the user interface purposefully, in meaningful and useful ways based on clear, consistent models that are apparent and recognizable to users, putting related things together and separating unrelated things,” says one industry wag.

Are you creating new or working on the old?

If you have been asked to work on the old, then obviously some business models and plans that were working before for the client have changed.  Find out from the copywriter or the client what has changed.

If you are working on a brand new site, find out where the client wants to position his business in the market.

Getting an exact brief from you clients can be difficult but not an impossible task. It’s also well worth the effort for the rich dividends it pays.. to nail down what their site goals are is important in creating a design that they’ll be satisfied with. After all, you’ll approach a design that’s meant to raise awareness differently from one that’s meant to specifically sell a product or service.


Getting a sense of what your client wants in terms of style is vital. They may have a grunge design in mind when you’re picturing something clean and modern (or vice versa). Most clients have very distinct likes and dislikes. But they’re not always good at expressing what their tastes are.

Asking clients for examples of designs they like and designs they don’t like, even if they’re the designs of their competitors, can give you valuable insight into what they like and don’t like. Your clients should provide you with a handful of examples prior to starting the design phase.

Disha Taneja

Disha Taneja


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