Design vs Content: A Tragically Misunderstood Love Affair

Greg Gregory McGregor
3 min readMay 6, 2017


Content and design. What’s more important? Why does it matter to your business?

It’s definitely an interesting question. It’s also a little controversial. As a digital copywriter, I’ve had this debate with designers and visual creatives time and time again. Without stepping on too many toes, I’m going to be blunt:

A picture doesn’t say 1000 words, words do.

Content is absolutely vital to communicating your business’s value to your prospective clients. Time and time again, I come across clients who see the actual ‘words’ on their websites as an irritating after-thought.

In fact, sometimes I’d almost expect them to say ‘….can we just leave that as Lorem Ipsum? It looks good as it is.’

Needless to say, these are also the businesses who experience low traffic content and low conversion rates from their websites. And I genuinely feel bad for them (because as a copywriter, I don’t touch clients like that with a 10ft barge pole).

Content leads — always. Because content forms your brand’s very voice.

In fact, some of the most effective, popular websites are the most minimally designed:

Smith Designers & Developers

What a website, right? If you truly think about it, the ‘design’ isn’t extremely complex. In fact, it’s so effective and aesthetic because unnecessarily visual elements have been stripped away. The end result? The tasteful design supports what Smith want to communicate — their brand message. Another one:

Thrive Solo Freelance Assistant

It’s simple. It’s intuitive. It’s filled with white space that’s not only pleasing to the eye, but puts serious emphasis on the most important thing on the site — what the brand wants to say.

And you don’t see these brands saying “we are web designers creating good websites and we like what we do” or some other such dull, dreary drivel. No, they say…

“Freelancing’s tough. Luckily you’ve just found your wingman.”


“Intentionally generic because your brand is more important than ours.”

Solid, provocative, personality-filled content that speaks directly to the reader’s needs and pain points. That stops the reader in their tracks and makes them go “interesting… I want to learn more!”.

The Content & Design Relationship

(it’s symbiotic… like bees and flowers)

Although I’ve driven this idea that content is more important than design (and I still believe it), the two are mutually inseparable and symbiotic in their functions.

Content and design are simply forms of communication. Two sides of the same, vital coin.

Combined effectively, your website will both appeal to the right people and speak to them, too. With poor content or poor design, you’re removing an essential piece of your brand’s puzzle, disabling the very effectiveness of your business.

So, next time you’re launching a new product or service, creating a new website, or creating an email campaign, consider this:

Speak with your brand’s strongest voice. Let design come later. Because what you have to say to your audience is more important than what you look like.

Need help speaking with your strongest voice?

I’m a digital copywriter, and I write high-conversion landing pages for passionate, creative people. Visit my website if you’re interested in working with me!


Tobias Pettigrew.

Digital Copywriter.