Writing as design

Lately I’ve giving a lot of thought to the role of writing in experience design.

It started with an article in the NYT that led to an article in the HBR by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and a leading thinker in the Design Thinking movement. I then tracked down the author’s blog. It was this post that really caught my eye.

At the end of the first paragraph he asks himself if the cup is a “great product or a great experience.” The question hit a nerve with me.

Does the copy that I write contribute to the experience of the product/company/service/brand being marketed or is it simply part of the way the user experiences the marketing, whether it’s a web site or printed collateral?

I’ll bet most clients think the answer is the latter. But I’m increasingly convinced that it’s the former. In fact, I think the line separating products from their marketing is quickly dissolving. I’d even go so far as to say that the quality of the marketing is an integral feature of the product experience. In fact, marketing is many people’s first experience with the product.

Experience design should, therefore, be extended to include marketing — and the quality of the copy.

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