The relationship between copywriters and graphic designers/web developers is a tense one. I can't say that I blame designers. If the copy doesn't fit the space, it degrades the design. In the defense of writers, there are many situations that keep writers and designers from properly communicating. Companies that are in the process of hiring and creating new websites should take this into consideration. If your writer and designer are allowed to communicate, you can avoid many blunders, including:
Orphan words – One word on the last line of a paragraph
Blank Spaces – The area allocated for copy is not filled
Stretching – Too much copy for the area allotted
Mismatched – The copy next to a photo has nothing to do with the photo
I've had the benefit of working closely with designers and I wish all of my jobs could be this way. The website looks professional, organized and polished. Clients and designers love it when copywriters take the initiative to make their copy look good. Sadly no one thinks about it until the job is over and the copy looks ugly. As a writer, it is your responsibility.
Tips for creating and fostering this relationship are:
1. Ask your client if you can be in the meetings with the graphic designer.
2. Ask the designer or your client to send you the home page lay-out when approved.
3. Request the character count for each of the sections of the home page.
4. If the design is being worked on at the same time as the copy don't write the home page first.
5. If the design is complete, submit your copy and then check on it when it goes live. If you see problems, contact the designer and/or client depending on the way you've been working.
Let's make web copy look good people!