Clare McNally was invited to speak at Tekstlinjen, a specialised copywriting course for professionals in Copenhagen. Her talk, 'How to write like an Art Director' explored systematic ways of working with copy, more common in visual communication.
Clare was inspired to explore this direction after teaching Brand Creation and Art Direction courses at the Danish School of Media & Journalism. Just like Art Directors, Copywriters need contextual awareness. They must balance brand consistency with the element of surprise, knowing when to be consistent for brand recognition, differentiation and coherence, and when to deviate to attract attention.
Both Art Directors and Copywriters can actively zoom in and out. Zooming in on the immediate task at hand e.g. 'writing this paragraph' and then zooming out to view the work within the bigger context of a campaign, the brand vision, competitor activity, global culture, trends etc.
Clare spoke about specific structures, as well as broader editorial copy thinking. Effective copy strategies were highlighted for brands, campaigns and packaging and implemented via small and large copy exercises.
Structure and consistency are often seen as enemies of creativity. Clare showed, however, that they're the very basis of creative freedom and your brand's secret weapon. Clear systems give you the confidence to work faster and take advantage of opportunities. Without structure, you're left with luck and fragmented short-term strategies. You risk confusing and losing your community as they see no reason to engage and can't recognise your brand message or voice.
Clare sums up the biggest benefit of editorial thinking and clear copy systems – "The great thing is, you don't have to start from scratch every time you begin writing. You already have a plan in place. So, you can focus your energy on elevating your craft and creating really beautiful and powerful work".
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