Five Simple Steps

The Craft of Words. Part one: Macrocopy

By The Standardistas

The first of two books examining the craft of words, looking at words in design and how writing shapes users’ experiences.

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About this book

Look carefully and you'll notice that many of the most successful designs are built around words. Apple tantalises us with the ability to hold "1,000 songs in your pocket". MailChimp has created a wonderfully engaging brand, heavily focused around language.

Words lie at the heart of what we create as designers and an understanding of how they might be used will make you better at your craft. Just like an understanding of grid systems, colour theory and typography are essential for the practicing designer, we must take responsibility for the words that make up the content we shape.

In this book The Standardistas demonstrate how a respect for the craft of words can lead to better and more engaging user experiences and add an often overlooked, but important element, to your design toolbox.

Who should read this book?

If you're a designer working with content, this book is for you. The principles we cover extend beyond the screen and can be applied in a wider design context to improve communication as a central part of the design process.

Topics include:

Part 1: Words as a design element

Words are an often overlooked design element that, when used effectively, can transform our perception of a brand. In this section, we'll explore how an awareness of words and language can make you a better designer, helping you to define and shape the messages you craft.

Part 2: Tone and voice

Establishing a tone and considering the importance of voice is critical when creating a brand persona. By understanding a brand's values we can give that brand a voice that's appropriate and fits it like a well-tailored suit.

Part 3: Words in action

In this section we consider a series of case studies – Hiut Denim, GitHub and GOV.UK – exploring how they use words as a design element to help clearly shape and define their brands.

Part 4: Language is a lubricant

Whatever your message, you need to ensure you communicate it correctly. In this section we suggest a few resources - both on and offline – to help you master the craft of words.

Part 5: Words enhance communication

Words are an essential part of the design process; use them effectively and you can enhance communication. In our final section we give you the secrets of successfully incorporating words as a design element into your practice, resulting in better outcomes all round.

About The Standardistas

Christopher Murphy and Nicklas Persson teach interactive design at the University of Ulster, Belfast, where they have been active in promoting a design-focused, web standards-based curriculum for over a decade. As tweed-clad duo The Standardistas they write and speak regularly on standards-based web design and the importance of improving web design education. Authors of the seminal beginner’s guide HTML and CSS Web Standards Solutions – A Web Standardistas’ Approach, they’ve written for a variety of publications, including The Manual, 24 ways, and .net magazine.

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