The other day I was admiring a new website we’d helped to create – we’d written the copy and the agency had built the site round it.
And, as always, down in the bottom right-hand corner stood the designer’s name, taking credit for the work – on every page.
Not for the first time, I felt slightly frustrated that copywriters didn’t get the same kind of credit for their contribution to high quality websites – but it’s easy to see the reason why.
It’s the same reason why presidents and prime ministers don’t stand up after delivering a momentous speech and say, “Oh, by the way, the speech you just heard was written by my communications staff with additional input from about a dozen other people – and I’d like to thank them.”
We’re aware speech writers exist, but we like to think that the carefully crafted phrases and inspiring words are our leader’s own, that they represent his or her own intelligence.
And therein lies the rub.
There’s a tendency to assume that a person’s ability to express themselves in words is matched by their intelligence and ability to do their job.
But it’s not always the case.
For example, you want your plumber to be better at repairing pipes and drains than he is at writing sales copy.
But if you landed on a plumber’s website that was riddled with bad grammar and poor spelling, would you call them? Probably not. After all, everyone should be able to write well…right?
There’s no shame in saying you can’t design a website. But to give the impression you can’t write – well, that’s a different matter entirely.
And that’s why the designer gets a credit and the writer doesn’t.
Mind you, I’m always glad to help businesses express how good they are at what they do. There’s more satisfaction in that than in any credit.