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Think Process not Product !

When referring to the two aspects of communications, we use the terms "writing" and "design." While both are nouns, the word "Writing" is also a present-tense participle which tells us that writing is an activity and process. "Design," on the other hand, describes only the product or outcome of the process of designing . This is not mere semantics, but illustrates how our thinking can be shaped by the way we use words.

Writing at its best is rightfully perceived as a cerebral, rational and creative process, while the perception of design is often wrongly reduced to a final product that simply "happened." However, designing should involve the same combination of disciplined thought and imagination as writing. (The equivalent to the noun [a] "design" is "copy," which has the same limiting, end-product connotation.)

"Design" in the broader sense is not a product but a concept, an idea or a plan. Being equally important, writing and designing are the two means to develop the idea and execute it.

For a product brochure or a Web site to be the best each can be, there needs to be a concept which is developed simultaneously through words and visuals. This seems logical, yet traditional job classifications, hierarchial thinking, and linear working methods often get in the way. Unfortunately, some designers neither read much nor attempt to write. Those who do, have a legitimate complaint about being reduced to decorators, when their contributions are not sought in the concept development stage.

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You mean you wrote that???
Perhaps it is talent, maybe it is reading much, possibly it is learning Latin, ancient Greek and English at an early age. Probably, it is all these together that enable me to write with some ease. Also, being bilingual is more than being able to speak and write in two languages. It means deriving ideas from two different ways of thinking. (The American thought pattern is different than the German, in reasoning and in expression.)

I began to write professionally first in German - at the Munich Olympics and then as a freelance journalist. Having to wear several hats in my first corporate communications job, I started writing copy in English. By 1986, when Ade & Associates opened its doors, writing had become my other suit - the one I was asked to don more frequently than my "designer suit." Over the years, I've written and created

  • business proposals,
  • scripts for presentations,
  • letters to shareholders,
  • editorial text of annual reports,
  • web site copy,
  • product marketing brochures,
  • advertising copy,
  • identity guidelines,
  • brand names and
  • nomenclature systems.

As creative director, I've directed both writers and designers. And, true to my beliefs, I expect designers to be keenly interested in words and writers to appreciate designing as a process akin to writing.

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