Both new and seasoned copywriters face this question at some point in their careers: should you be combining copywriting and graphic design services to be a one-stop creative shop for your clients?
The answer isn’t black and white, as this is YOUR business, so the decision will always come down to what you want for your career. However, for most copywriters tacking on graphic design services does not make sense.
Here are four things to consider before deciding to offer multiple creative services.
1. Graphic Design and Copywriting Are Different Specialities
As our Comprehensive Copywriting Academy students know, copywriting takes training. Just like someone shouldn’t hop into a pilot seat with 0 flight training, copywriters shouldn’t offer copywriting services until they’ve received proper training.
The same is true for graphic design. Graphic designers know how to work within a client’s brand guidelines, knowing what colors and fonts to apply to a design and what to stay away from.
They also know how to create balance within designs (how the text, images, and other design elements work together in a layout); align design elements in a way that makes sense for the medium; establish hierarchy so a user knows what to read first, second, third and so on; use white space; create movement; and more.
These terms are barely scratching the surface and each takes practice and skill to use in a way that creates an effective design.
2. Ask Yourself: Is This Resistance Rearing Its Head?
Resistance can come in many forms. Hopping into Canva and designing a logo, business card, or any other fun, but unnecessary, project for your business is one of the most common forms of resistance.
Often this comes up when copywriters are creating spec ads. It takes time and energy to find a designer to work with, so why not just create the ads yourself?
It’s fun to flex a different part of our brain. But that doesn’t mean we should go all-in on becoming a designer, too. Your lack of design training will show.
If you are just digging into copywriting, learning the ins and outs of graphic design while simultaneously building your copywriting skills is a good way to spread yourself too thin and burn out. Keeping your focus on one speciality will get you to landing consistent work a lot faster than if you split your time and energy into learning two skills.
3. Plenty of Clients Will Hire You for Copywriting
Some copywriters think that by being a one-stop-shop they can attract more clients. This isn’t necessarily true.
There are plenty of clients who will hire you to write copy and will not expect you to design, too.
In fact, some clients may see it as a red flag that you do it all, especially if they’re savvy enough to know that these are two different areas of expertise.
And, many clients may already have a designer. Seeing that you position yourself as a design and copy shop, they may pass on your services since they don’t need both.
If you do come across a client who needs a designer, what’s when having a network of designers is handy. You can refer clients to those experts when and if they need them.
As someone who has hit six figures year-over-year just writing copy, I can assure you that adding design services isn’t necessary to hitting a financial goal.
4. If You Offer Copywriting AND Design, Master Both (and Charge Accordingly)
If you do decide to combine copywriting and graphic design services, you need to master both skills. Clients can tell when something is designed by an amateur (just like they can tell when copy is written by someone who doesn’t understand features versus benefits).
If you’ve been copywriting for a while, you may already know that you can make a great living as a copywriter, without adding design services. However, you may be exploring ways to grow your business. If that’s the case, you still need to master graphic design.
You may find you can offer clients a high level of copywriting, but a more basic level of design services. This may cause more of a split focus in your client base than you want as you develop the design skills needed to match your copy expertise.
Remember: as copywriters, we are charging for writing copy only. If you’re offering design and copy services, you’re going to need to make sure your rates reflect the work for both services.
The truth is, very few people are great at graphic design and great at writing copy.
And that’s OK! That’s why graphic designers design and copywriters write.
Your Turn! Have you decided to stick with copywriting or have you merged copy and design services? Tell us why in the comments.
Last Updated on January 18, 2023
Agreed! That being said, I did exactly the opposite for various reasons. I market myself as a graphic designer and copywriter, but I am thinking about labeling myself as a communication specialist, at least until I have more experience in both roles. I graduated in May and I am currently working as a media coordinator, but that is more of a catch-all term so I have a job title. On a day-to-day basis, I work on projects that combine graphic design, copywriting and admin tasks. As an employee at a small company, being able to wear different hats has been an asset. In the long-term I want to work as a creative director or brand director, so having a hybrid-set of skills will (hopefully) be beneficial. While I can handle my job responsibilities, I know I still need to hone both areas. However, I’ve always liked writing and art/visual communication, so I am willing to put in the extra time.
Toni Kallungal says
Hi everyone! I’m new here! I’m actually more interested in Instructional Design but copy writing has come up in my job search a few times. I’m intrigued and trying to learn more. From this blog post, it seems like there isn’t much overlap between copy writing and graphic design, but I’m wondering if copy writing skills would come in handy with Instructional Design?
The Filthy Rich Writer Team says
Copywriting skills absolutely are useful with instructional design. As you know, with instructional design, a lot of the work you’re doing is trying to make it easier for people to interact with and grasp material, but also to find ways to encourage them to keep learning and taking action. Copywriting is, yes, marketing and advertising writing, but it’s large than that: It’s often about connecting with people in an insightful way to encourage them to (and support them in) taking action.
Bohra Hosting says
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The Filthy Rich Writer Team says
We are so glad to hear this was helpful!