Marketing Myths: Part 5—Design Is More Important Than Copy (Or The Other Way Around!)

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The “Marketing Myths” series is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an ongoing series where I tackle some of the biggest myths I come across in my work as a copywriter/marketer. I do this to help others steer clear of bad marketing advice that can harm their brand.

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this series, check them out below:


Marketing Myths: Part 1—Every Customer Should Love Your Brand

Marketing Myths: Part 2—The Customer Is Always Right

Marketing Myths: Part 3—There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to do Social Media

Marketing Myths: Part 4—If Everyone Else Is Doing It, It Must Be Right


Today, I want to tackle a myth that every designer and copywriter should be able to relate with. It’s the myth that one of the two is more important than the other.

I’ve witnessed countless debates between designers and copywriters over which element is more important in a marketing piece, whether it’s a website, print ad, email, or brochure.

Copywriters will typically say something like this:

“No illustration can sell a product by itself, but words alone can sell a product without any flashy design elements. A poorly-designed website with good copy can still have a good conversion rate, but a nice-looking website with terrible copy will never convert.”

Designers will often respond in kind by saying something along these lines:

“You need a great design to grab someone’s attention. People aren’t going to stop and look at an ad that’s just a bunch of words. Nobody likes reading, anyway.”

There is some truth to both arguments. The reality is that copy and design are equally important. If one is lacking, the other will suffer. If the two aren’t working together correctly, the message won’t get across clearly.

And remember, design isn’t just about images. Design is also about how the copy is presented. Great design lays out the copy in a way that is inviting and easy to read.

Yes, you can point to examples of ugly websites with good copy that convert well. You can also point to products that sell strictly because of their logo, packaging, or some other design element. Things are sold every day by words alone. Things also sell every day because of great designs.

The two are equal in importance, and in order to get the most impact from your marketing, you need to find a way to make them complement each other.

What do you think—is one more important than the other? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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