Great advertising is the result of teamwork.
It takes a copywriter and art director/graphic designer,
working together, to create an effective ad, direct mail piece, brochure, or Web page. (Definition of "art director" and "graphic designer" below.)
Years ago, one member of the team was the clear leader. The
copywriter was king. Back in the old days, many decades ago, writers like
Claude Hopkins and John Caples provided the major creative thrust. Copywriters
were the stars.
Writers like these would conceive and write the advertising,
then pass the finished copy under the door to the "art guy" in the
back. This relatively minor figure would take the headline and copy, order an
illustration, lay out the ad as per the writer's instructions, set the type and
paste everything up. The art director was the poor relation who, like Rodney
Dangerfield, "got no respect."
In the 1960s everything changed.
With the advent of television, and the recognition of its
powerful selling potential, the role of image in the sales process became fully
understood. The "art guy" became the "art director" and was
finally allowed to contribute fully to the creative process.
Fabulous agencies like Doyle Dane Bernbach and Papert,
Koenig, Lois teamed great writers with terrific art directors. They worked
together as equals, as an organic team, and produced advertising that made
Today, the pendulum is swinging again.
I'm convinced that the art director/graphic designer is now
becoming king, and that the writer's role in the creative process is being
severely undermined. My concern about this change is not a case of "sour
grapes." I am not affected personally in the least. I work with wonderful
art directors and graphic designers of my choice and simply want to point out a
significant industry trend that may affect your
business. (See my recommendations below.)
Let's look at this in more detail . . .
In television, the spoken word has been supplanted by trick
photography and computer graphics. Gimmicks are in. Persuasive selling is out.
Form is winning over content. Not always, but often.
It's the same thing in print advertising. Image is
frequently seen as more important than content. The result is beautiful ads
that feature lots of white space and weird typography, but simply don't sell
Make sure your advertising strikes a happy balance. Use the
talents of both your writer and your art director/graphic designer.
Tell your copywriter to use the space to motivate the
reader. Explain that you're after an increase in sales, not a mere enhancement
In the same way, make sure your art director/graphic
designer is interested in selling -- not in art for art's sake.
Remember. You want a beautiful ad/direct mailer/Web page -- but one that gets
The trick, as a client, is to get the copywriter and art
director/graphic designer working together as a team. Don't split them up. Make
sure there is good communication between them. If you do, you're on your way to creating marketing
communications materials that can have a tremendous impact on the profitability
of your business!
In case you're not sure of the difference between an art
director and a graphic designer, let me help you out a little:
An art director is someone who works in an advertising agency or comes out of an agency
background. He or she specializes in creating ads or commercials, though a good
art director can do just about anything including collateral.
Because they come from an advertising agency background, an
art director comes to your project with a good marketing background and an
interest in selling. The art director develops the concept of the ad, along
with the copywriter, then commissions any necessary photography or
illustration. He or she also selects the type style and supervises production.
recommendation: Larry Nielsen
Tel: (415) 945-9106 Email: Webboy.firstname.lastname@example.org
A graphic designer is the perfect choice for corporate identity work, including logo development,
signage, brochures, and package design. Again, good graphic designers can do
it all, though advertising may not be their strong suit.
Graphic designers are terrific at making things look
beautiful. If you need a flyer or a killer brochure, I'd give a
designer a call.
Because most graphic designers don't come out of an
advertising agency background, some aren't as tuned in to marketing as they
might be. Initially, you want them to be more interested in understanding the
target audience than in worrying about what paper stock works best.
My recommendation: Carrie Scherpelz
Tel: (608) 233-7787 Email: email@example.com
Want me to do some copywriting for you? Let's talk. If you need me to write email, Web
copy, direct mail, or anything else, give me a call at (415) 461-0672. What kind of results can I get for you? CLICK HERE to find out.
Let's go to work!