Tips & Benefits of Writing About Design
Some tricks of the trade from someone who pretends to know what he’s talking about
Before I start this article, let me tell you that I am a charlatan. I am in no way a literary genius, I in no way, expect people to think I know what I am talking about. These are merely my musings following some articles I have recently written on Medium about my design processes.
Since giving myself the challenge to write more on Medium, I’ve noticed some really strong benefits of writing that will help you grow in your day to day work life. So here are some of the side effects of design writing:
It gives you confidence to articulate in the real world…
This is probably the biggest benefit I’ve found since my recent nosedive into writing. I have found, since I’ve started writing that I am so much more confident when trying to articulate my thoughts in the real world. It’s brought a calmness to my thought process when trying to explain myself. Obviously, writing is a very different approach to actually speaking, but I have found myself to be a lot clearer thinking when it comes to explaining myself in the real world since I started writing. I seem to be able to articulate my thoughts a lot clearer without the usual panic I have when people are staring at me awaiting my words of wisdom. If anything, it’s always good to be proactive, it keeps the mind stimulated.
It makes it look like you know what you’re on about…
From an external business perspective: it’s always good to show people that you know what you’re talking about, or at least pretend to know what you’re talking about. It gives an air of 'oh, he used some weird designer buzzwords there, he knows his shit’.
From an internal perspective: it’s always good to show your boss that you are capable of doing your job, it installs some trust in your abilities. Just be careful you don’t make a total mess of it. That could have a negative effect.
Add another string to your portfolio bow…
Having a collection of musings alongside your design work allows you to use your writing skills as another portfolio piece. It allows you to push another skillset to potential employers or clients that helps reinforce the fact that you know what you’re talking about. People love that kinda thing.
Again, I am not saying I know the secret sauce to writing, but here are some tips that I have noticed with some rational as to help people enjoy your article.
1. Choose a subject that is helpful
This is obviously a very important thing to get right. Medium is inundated with regurgitated articles about 'Should designers code?’ or 'UX: Why we are so important’. Codswallop. I’m sick of reading the same thing over and over. People want to read articles that are useful, that will help you get a step ahead of the rest. When choosing an topic, try to make it about something people can learn from.
2. Make it lightweight
Don’t pretend you’re something that you’re not by trying to be too clever. Try to keep it light, fun and educational. Don’t write an article that takes 20 mins to read. It will turn people off straight away. If possible, crack a joke in the opening paragraph, or at least set up the general tone. People come to Medium to get some relief from their work day for a few minutes. They don’t want to feel like they’re reading Ulysses.
3. Include pretty imagery
I’m lucky enough to generally write about my work, which tends to include a lot of visual design so I overload my articles with illustrations. Saying that, I’ve pretty much blanked this tip in this article, which is probably why no one is looking at it…
Talking from experience though, I find a lot of people skim articles and only really focus on looking at the pretty pictures, I know I do anyway. Although always the pessimist, I could be wrong. Maybe I’m unique in that I struggle to concentrate for anything past 15 seconds.
4. Choose a punchy title
The title is the first thing people will see, it has to be catchy, it has to draw the eye amongst all the other regurgitated design articles on Medium. Make sure that it explains that if they read your article, they will come away with some nuggets of information that they can use to feel superior to their peers. Everyone loves feelingsuperior. Also, if possible, put some work into the title banner image. First impressions are key.
So that’s all really. Not sure if it makes any sense, or if it’s in anyway useful. I just felt I’d pass on the wisdom that has been niggling in my simple mind as I write these articles.
I know writing your thoughts can be daunting, it lets people see our innermost thoughts, but I feel the benefits from writing greatly outweigh the anxiety caused by your imposter syndrome. What’s there to lose, unless you’re really awful, then maybe you could lose your job.
Way to end the article on a negative there Al 👏…
Feel free to pick my brain (or whats left of it) over at: