There are approximately 25 million articles asking whether ‘designers should learn to code.’ Makes sense, development fees take a big bite out of my studio budgets. For full disclosure, one of our Creative Directors has taught himself to code and we are reaping the financial benefits.
However, there’s one criminally overlooked skill every ambitious designers (is there any other kind) should be adding their tool belt.
Designers need to write so bad that Lynda should do a tutorial. Designers need to write so bad their careers depend on it.
We’re communicators and yes, much of what we do is visual, but let’s not forget the value of words. Graduates need to write enticing emails as much as directors must create persuasive proposals. Every talk I give has to be written in much the same way as our personas, our case studies and our press releases.
You could argue that this is a job for your PR but few freelancers and smaller studios have the financial capacity. And, having been a design studio PR myself, I can tell you it’s not ideal. Adding in a third voice to any project creates unnecessary distance. The only way to identify and craft relevant stories is to have a hand in producing the work yourself.
I’ve seen first hand the impact writing about design on my career.
I’ve written about my studio since our launch in 2012. There was no early strategy. We didn’t have a website and I needed a tactic to guarantee visibility in a crowded industry. However, writing about our work has helped shape our business.
Irrespective of the audience we’ve built, the studio blog has ensured we keep track of our goals, our mistakes and our successes. It helps us process our processes, understanding who we are and the kind of studio we aim to be.
When we’re busy, it’s hard to keep track of what we ate for lunch, let alone the ideas we float about. Adding writing, as a task into my working week kills two birds dead. So while we’re ensuring visibility for the studio in between portfolio updates, I’m also keeping track of our business’ development, diarising the issues and experiences taking brain space on a weekly basis.
In the age of data, our studio blog is a timeline of hindsight, illustrating the cash flow with real emotion. Our industry, so consumed with the future mustn’t forget the importance of the past. Scrolling through your history is a valuable commodity. Identifying change and loss over time is as vital as remembering who you remain throughout it all.