August 3, 2022
When you want a killer brand that packs a punch and draws the right people to you, you probably think of how your brand looks. But as brand designers know, design isn’t the only element of a strong brand.
You also have to think about the copy.
Design and copy aren’t two different beasts entirely; they’re part of your brand’s ecosystem.
We want people to stop thinking about their brand as just about design — it’s about your unique value in a market, or how you’re doing things in a way no one else is. A brand is your secret sauce, and it involves all pieces of the puzzle from your visuals to your marketing strategies and your customer support to your packaging and copy.
That’s why we’re excited to announce our Intersection of Design series, featuring a few experts in their respective fields talking about what “branding” means to them — and how design impacts their work.
Our first Intersection of Design guest is Latasha Doyle, owner of Uncanny Content. During our chat, we talked about how design and copy work together to extend the brand, create an experience, and drive results.
Since 2014, Uncanny Content has helped dozens of entrepreneurs, business owners, and digital agencies create on-brand copy and content — meaning it sounds like they wrote it, not her. Her ability to match the tone of voice and brand voice for clients is unmatched, and she’s scaled an agency that supports more people with content and copy that’s on brand, on purpose, and on time. (Latasha’s team writes for us here at The Design Lab!).
They’re more than a full-service content and copy studio; they’re an extension of your team and an extension of your brand. And because of that skill, they’ve worked with clients like The Contract Shop®, Amber Housley, The Children’s Hospital of Colorado, LISH Creative, and more!
Uncanny Content’s focus on brand voice across mediums is also what made them the right fit for this discussion. Plus, we work with Latasha and her team on a number of shared client projects — and the dynamics between design and copy are definitely worth highlighting.
Follow along with our chat by watching the video below OR you can read a summary of our Q&A.
“I run Uncanny Content, a content and copy agency, where we offer full-service management for our clients. We do everything from content planning to weekly content execution, as well as web copy and sales copy, or even blogs and social captions.
We like to start off with content planning first because a lot of clients often don’t know what to say or what will have the most impact on their audience. Starting with that piece of strategy helps everything flow and feel organic. It also helps prevent confusion among different pieces of copy. Having a point of reference keeps copy varying from the sales page, to the blog, etc.
In a nutshell, we do everything that people need to help to get their content out! Except for design.”
“When we start with a client, we always think about things from the perspective of ‘What does your business offer that no one else does? What makes you different?’ When people think of branding, I think they tend to think of visuals, but to me, it’s more about what makes a business unique and valuable in this market.
Leveraging what makes your business and offers different from others, both in visuals and other mediums, is the most important thing to remember when it comes to branding. And keeping everyone on the same page when it comes to things beyond the mission statement or values — like how a brand looks, talks, feels, all the stuff — affects everything. It affects customer service and social media, or sales copy.”
“Generally, clients come to us with brand exercises done or they’ve just been doing it long enough that they have a good grasp on what their brand sounds like.
But if they don’t, there’s usually an interview to nail down brand ‘vibes’ — which just means how they want people to feel when they come to their site, read their posts, etc. We also discuss what people DON’T like because that often gets us closer to their true voice. It’s that instinctive ‘ew’ that really defines a brand voice.
And people are usually much more conversational than they come across in their writing. They tend to sound more excited about what they’re doing in spoken word than in writing, so they have a hard time honing in on their brand voice. They also feel like they need a rebrand or a totally new voice because of this.
But this interview, discussing what they like and what they don’t like, is kind of like using bumpers at a bowling alley, helping us get closer to hitting that middle pin.”
“Every step of the way. Designers are incredibly useful for copywriters and content writers because they’re able to extend the words we write into social posts, amazing sales pages, websites that pop, etc.
When I bring on a new client, one of our first questions is “Do you have a designer on your team?” That’s because we know that the copy is only going to go so far if it doesn’t have complementary visuals and someone else to hold the brand standards.
And on the flip side, the copy guides the design, so if a brand is maybe a little more witty or sarcastic, then the visuals are going to reflect that and be more punchy than a brand with a softer voice.”
“[Designers and writers] SHOULD be collaborating. So many small business owners treat copy and design separately when really, they can work together.
Your writer can ask questions about design for things like your website — including comments like ‘Can we add animation here?’ or ‘Is there a way to format this so it stands out?’ Having the two work together really fills in any of the gaps that may happen along the way.
It’s a huge help when you’re outsourcing for something specific too, like sales page copy, so there are opportunities for tweaks as suggested by the designer, or copywriter, that ultimately make the brand visuals and voice work together.
I also think that designers and content writers should collaborate on social media — things like graphic copy and typo editing are super important!”
“[The writing process] is flexible. I think, especially with web copy, designers might not realize they can go back to the writer and say ‘Hey this isn’t going to fit for the section I have in mind. Is it possible to tweak this?’
I see that more in designers who may be a bit newer, and I don’t have an eye for design (I can barely match on most days!), but I’ve had to study up a bit to maybe fill in some of the blanks. But when I’m working with a seasoned designer, they’re able to take the copy and run with it or ask for revisions where needed.
I think the biggest thing is, don’t forget to collaborate with your copywriters. It’s a team effort to make the final product successful. You find new ways to make the client’s ideas come to life.”
“[I ask for designers’ input] any time we’re doing sales promotions, creating social content, writing a sales page, or redoing a website. Pretty much always. I trust designers’ input because, just because something makes sense in words, doesn’t mean it translates well to visuals or the brand’s standards!
And considering other people on the team, even if they’re contractors or they aren’t people you talk to often, means less work for your clients, so it’s important to think about the other role.
A lot of times it’s not that the client is a hot mess, it’s just that they’re busy and it’s our job as a service provider to bridge the gap where we can.”
“[I’ve reworked a good chunk of copy based on a designer’s input.] Especially on important site pages or sales pages, I am always open to reorganizing copy because I want the visual element to support the copy and vice versa.
Creating content is an iterative process. You start with skeletons/outlines, add text, adjust the layout, find room to play, nail down the final copy, nail down the final design — and design and copy have to work together to make that happen.
This is really where I think more people need to find copywriters and designers who work well together — the result is so much more magical.”
This was such a fun discussion with Latasha — and we can’t wait to bring you two more interviews with Amber Housley, a marketing expert, and Kate Hutcheson, an operations expert.
If you want to find more about Latasha or Uncanny Content, visit uncannycontent.co or follow them on Instagram @uncannycontent.
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