A copywriter’s words can help ideas to take shape

Jim Davies’ article about the power of words and tone of voice highlights the fact that many design consultancies still see writing as a freelance add-on, rather than as an intrinsic part of their offer.

When I joined Furneaux Stewart, after a career spent in advertising and journalism, it seemed an act of faith (both on their part and mine) to bring a senior writer into a company known mainly for 3D and interpretive design.

The three years since then have been an eye-opener for both sides; I’ve found it liberating to be able to write for a willing audience, on projects such as VW’s Autostadt, rather than work within with the five-second attention span that an advert may command. And my colleagues? I’d like to think that they, too, have found that words aren’t something you add to design; they are part of it. (Sometimes even the inspiration for it.)

It’s a pity that many in the industry still miss this point. It might help designers to be respected by their clients as communicators, rather than mere decorators, if more of them saw writers as partners and not sub-contractors.

Sadly, many still show every sign of valuing words for the shapes they make on the page, rather than the meaning they convey to the reader.

Nick Swallow

Communications director

Furneaux Stewart Design &



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