My expertise is graphic design. I am not a writer. But, I know when a sentence is not a sentence.
Case in point: A CEO rewrote the text in his brochure. This CEO is not my direct client; my contact is a project manager who handles the creative jobs for the CEO’s company. [Let’s call her “Lisa.”]
I made the edits to the file and sent Lisa a revised PDF with suggestions and this message. “Please read my comments. Do not send this to the client yet; this copy needs help.”
The CEO’s rewrite did not make sense. Here’s an example: “High staffing ratios, an emphasis on engagement and activities.” [Huh? Where’s the verb? This is not a sentence without a verb.]
“Nature comes inside our atrium with a custom aviary, home to finches and button quail.” [His writing is not clear—rewrite as one sentence?]
“Physical design principles have also evolved.” [In addition to what? Have principles been mentioned prior to this?]
Lisa agreed with my comments but texted, “The CEO has strong feelings about what he wants. I do not get in his way; he does all his own copy and editing. He will do what he wants to do. I’ve learned this.”
Choose your battles. If this is one you can’t win, accept it and move on. But, in my opinion, it reflects badly on a brand when the copy is badly written or edited.
My other clients are grateful when I ask them to rewrite. Our mutual goal is good communication—making sure the audience understands the message.
I appreciate these editors who have taught me so much throughout my career! They can turn the most convoluted sentences into clear, succinct language.
(And anyone else who I left out!)
Together, good writing and innovative graphic design make for great partnerships. Part of a designer’s job is to educate our clients about the whole picture—the clarity of the message, the appropriateness of the design, and how they reinforce each other.