The original pen tool

Why designers should write more

Laraine Domingo
Jan 13, 2018 · 2 min read

What it means to be a designer has evolved. I think we can all agree on that. While “graphic design” used to be a job title, it’s now just one skill amongst the many other functions of our role.

In the past, the list of things we created were:
- Logos
- Imagery (Illustration, Photography, etc.)
- Type
- Printed material (Posters, brochures, flyers, cards, etc.)
- Digital media (Websites, videos, presentation decks, etc.)

Now, our list looks more like:
- Graphic design (the things above)
- Brand identities
- Market and business strategies
- User experiences
- Design thinking
- Research methods
- Holistic systems
- Environments and spaces

The big difference is that we’re not just visual communicators anymore. This is probably because the people we design for and work with aren’t always visual learners. Which means our design process and output require us to explore the other types of communication — reading/writing, listening/talking, and showing/doing.

Medium has especially encouraged me to read more by providing a ton of amazing content. There have been countless times where I’ll read a design-related post during my morning commute, and then apply it to a project at work that afternoon. That’s the beauty of knowledge-sharing!

Written communication skills comes into play more often than you think. For example, when writing:
- Design briefs
- Brand mission statements
- Video scripts
- Clear and concise emails
- Working with a copywriter for web copy
…and the list goes on!

So wouldn’t it make sense if we practise writing more? I think the trouble is that designers get discouraged because they find written communication intimidating. There’s a stigma that words and numbers aren’t our strength, pictures are. Well what I’ve learned is that you build skills with practise.

Just like with becoming a better designer, the trick to being a good writer is to do it and do it often.

Laraine Domingo

Written by

Designer who’s practicing better communication by reading and writing more | brainoflaraine.com

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