When words on the page become more than a graphic element
Believe it or not, I’m actually a writer who does think that (most times) less is more. And by less, I mean the amount of copy on any particular piece. But sometimes, the story just needs some breathing room. Like they need to relocate, if only momentarily, from their townhouse in crowded Southern Cali to a nice wide, open pasture in the Midwest where they can stretch and ramble and graze and otherwise just take in a big gulp of fresh air.
Sometimes, finding the space on the page (be it paper or pixel) can be a challenge. That’s because there are some of the art/graphic persuasion that believe copy is a burden. Or words interfere with the overall essence and compete with the pictures and/or graphics and therefore should be minimized or eliminated altogether.
But I’ve got a word (or 12) to say about that.
I have worked with many truly gifted art directors and graphic designers who appreciated the words I provide. I mean, they actually READ them before asking me to cut and condense. (Trust me, very rarely has it ever been that they actually ask for MORE copy.)
The trick is learning when to stand your ground. I mean, like a lot of other writers I know, we do actually give some thought to our word choices. True, there might be times when things can be said a wee bit more concisely. But only when trimming is the right thing to do. And not because the design would look better with 2 less lines of copy.
What it all comes down to is doing what’s best. And creating harmony between all the elements. Because pictures and words can get along. And art directors and writers can see eye to eye.
Sure, we’ve all heard that a “picture is worth a thousand words.” I’m not sure who actually said it first, but whoever it was had to be an AD.
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