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A Copywriter’s Guide To Designing

Back when marketing was majorly dependent on written content, Copywriting - the art of creating text content for marketing- was born. As of today, with the shrinking attention span of the audience and the evolution of technology, 70% of your audience is proven to retain content that they hear or see. This highlights how the importance of visuals in content is growing as now words alone cannot always suffice. It has become crucial for copywriters to develop a modest understanding of design to present their copy better. After all, the core agenda of any copywriter is to get the message across successfully.

Before we begin, let’s understand the role design or visual content plays in marketing besides retention.

Keeping this in mind, we have put together a basic guide for copywriters to understand design language:

The Weight Of Your Copy

How much space your copy takes up on a design plays an integral role. A design stuffed with copy will instantly repel a reader’s attention and lead him/her to ignore it. On the other hand, a design with a balanced copy looks attractive and creates the right impact.

Figure 1 shown below is an example of an ad with heavy copy and figure 2 shows one with minimal copy. While the message is clear in both, you are more likely to be attracted to figure 2 given its presentation.


A conversation about the visual presentation of content is incomplete without a discussion on the hierarchy of your messaging. This hierarchy refers to looking at content in descending order of importance in a design. Figure 1 shows how impactful visual content is with hierarchy while figure 2 shows how content can be perceived without it.

Hierarchy in design can often be designed in a Z-pattern and an F-Pattern, based on the movement of a viewer’s eyes. For the F-Pattern, our eyes view in the following direction:

  • First, the copy (headlines) is across the top of the page.

  • Second, the points down the Left-Hand-Side of the page.

  • Lastly, across the page again following the subheading or body text.

As for the Z-Pattern, the given pattern is followed:

  • First, viewers scan in an imaginary horizontal line from the top left to the top right.

  • Secondly, an imaginary diagonal line from the top right of the page down to the left.

  • Finally, back to the right once again to create a second horizontal line.

The viewing pattern depends on how the important details are placed on a design, aiming to make reading effective for the viewers.


Next in line and equally important colour. Actually, the importance of colours in creatives goes beyond using the right hues, making it attractive, etc. From choosing bright or dark shades, and contrasting background colours with font colours, to adding visuals that complement your brand guidelines, colours have a make-or-break role in visual content creation. The figures below are examples of using colours correctly for your designs.

White Space

A blank space between texts, elements, or anywhere in the design is referred to as ‘White Space’ or ‘Negative Space’. This space has nothing to do with its two names - white or negative. This white space contributes to the neatness of the design and helps in the better focus of viewers. Primarily there are two kinds of ‘white spaces’ - Micro (present around the smaller elements and texts of the design) and macro (the surrounding blank space in the design).


Besides just knowing the basic design elements, it is essential for a copywriter to get into a habit of creating copy keeping these in mind. This practice ensures that your visual content is perceived well and comfortably, in turn creating the right impact on your audience. Breaking the consistency of integrating these design elements in your copywriting will only lead your designer to treat your copy differently than you imagined, making the outcome dissatisfactory for you and your audiences.

Indeed a copywriter is not a designer, but the knowledge of these basic design elements is sure to elevate your creativity and visualisation of content presentation, letting you create effective content.

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