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The Death of Designing Without Content

Let’s get totally 101. What is content? As it pertains to websites, it’s the text and multimedia that fill up a webpage. As it pertains to us, it’s what we rely on during the design process so we don’t pull our hair out.

FINE. I’m a content strategist so technically I’m biased towards the need for quality content. But it’s undeniable that every website has content and I pray it’s undeniable that it should be quality. The battle I’m prepping to fight is how undeniably important it is to have content early-on before starting design.

Scenario: Your website is being redesigned. The agency you hired uses lorem ipsum and stock photos and you’re to plug in your own copy and photos after the hand-off.

The risk: You’re forced to fit a square peg in a round hole.

What if the copy doesn’t fit well and the font style or the font size (or both) should have been different? What if the treatments on the photos you use clash with the palette? Speaking of photos, what if the homepage header pic you wanted to use is far too busy because you didn’t account for the logo and tagline placement? The About page calls for several paragraphs of text but you only wanted to use your mission statement. The call-to-action on every page is a big Donate button but you intended to give equal weight to donate, volunteer, and fundraise.

Imagine how handy it would have been if the designer accommodated your content from the get-go. It’s why clothing designers use dress forms to make a dress instead of just winging it and hoping it hangs well on a human.

You get it?

Here at Fifty & Fifty, we’ve become downright unwilling to design without content. What was once a process of trying to design for whatever content comes across the table at the eleventh hour has now become a well-thought-out process of gathering photography, videos, and written words which all help shape exactly what the brand and design should look like. How did we get by for so long any other way? We aren’t sure either. Having content at the beginning of the design process is the only way to make a site design work.

For us, it all comes down to creating purposeful designs. When content is an integral part of the design process, each page will successfully bridge gaps from one page to the next and take the viewer on a literal journey through your company. It will be succinct and fluid and cohesive; not pieced together and forced to meet a fleeting need.

You get it.

Next steps:
1. Hire an agency that does content strategy. They’ll be in charge of plotting out each page and making sure that the site as a whole tells a consistent story. Plus, it keeps the process organized and collaborative.
2. When you embark on a redesign, make sure you have your ducks in a row. Where do you stand with your copy? Does it sound like you? Should it be rewritten? Sort through your photos. Are they high quality? Do you have a lot of choices? Do you need to hire a photographer?
3. Call us.