Why Every Writer Needs Graphic Designers
by Jake Poinier
Having started in the publishing business as a magazine editor, I’ve always valued the skills of talented graphic designers and web designers. As a professional freelance writer, it’s a relationship that’s even more critical – because as much as people value our words, the design and layout are every bit as important. (For the record, I am a terrible designer.) It’s the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup principle: As a writer or editor, our ability to join up with designers is as good a match as peanut butter and chocolate.
Sure, skilled designers make us look good by providing much better items for our portfolios or covers for our books. In a profession that can sometimes be a bit lonely, they also offer fresh perspectives and inject some much-needed teamwork. But under the surface, there are two key business reasons to cultivate these relationships, too:
1. They enable us to offer more than writing to our clients. When a business prospect asks me if I know any designers, I can send them portfolio links to people I know and trust to get the job done – with the side benefit that I get to work with someone I’ve already got rapport with.
2. Savvy designers understand that their websites, brochures, ads, and other creative materials will be much more impactful when a professional writer works on the text. Given the wide range of different designers within my network, new jobs are coming in to them all the time, and they’re selling my writing services on my behalf – none of my effort required!
How do you find graphic designers who need a writer partner? I’ve had my best success with tried-and-true marketing strategies such as cold-calling and emailing. Another good strategy is to connect with groups like local chapters of AIGA or Meetup groups. Keep in mind, if you know someone who works full-time as a designer for a business, they frequently do freelance work on the side – so just ask!
A freelance corporate copywriter and editor since 1999, Jake “Dr. Freelance” Poinier blogs regularly on freelancing topics at DearDrFreelance.com. He is the author of The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid and Help! My Freelancers Are Driving Me Crazy, available in print and ebook versions on Amazon.