While most authors are familiar with writer’s block, some may be less aware of other stalemates faced by those who present their words to a world of readers, listeners, and/or viewers.
There is, however, one category of wordsmith that regularly addresses the dilemma of matching their words to the mechanism delivering their message: Authors of commercial text.
Depending on the vehicle of delivery, the degree to which a writer of commercial material is involved in the technical process for producing an advertising message can vary considerably. If, for example, someone else is charged with the actual layout of print or electronic publishing, the author’s only challenge may be in editing to meet a need for longer or shorter words. But when the writer’s responsibility for the appearance of the material is greater, the degree of their involvement in production is similarly increased.
My own work has presented me with project challenges spanning the full range of production, despite my not being a graphic artist. In working as a promotional consultant for one non-profit organization, I faced a board of directors determined to launch a branding program without a logo to represent them visually. Knowing they’d quickly realize the folly of this choice—and blame me for the decision—I pulled out a pencil and sketched a rising sun with slanting rays to represent nature and growth. I knew my simple doodle would not meet their needs, but I did obtain permission to have a graphic design company produce a logo prototype and sample postcard for which I had composed text.
Unfortunately, the island of O`ahu experienced a power outage during the week in which this took place. Not knowing what else might occur, I quickly rescheduled my meeting with the directors for Friday. When I checked in with the design firm mid-week, I was assured their timetable had not been compromised. With confidence, I arrived at their office on Thursday afternoon. Whoops, I was told: The artist was off that day and the work had not been completed.
Since it was too late to find another artist, I was left to my own devices. At the time, I worked with a simple word processing program and calligraphic pen. With some copy-paste magic, I cobbled together a rather good sample and made a humorous presentation that netted smiles and authorization to proceed with my work. A few days later, I found an independent graphic artist who grasped the spirit of the organization and completed each task she was assigned in a timely fashion.
Today I possess a computer that is fully loaded with graphic art software programs. However, I know my limitations in design integration and continue to rely on professional artists for high resolution images. Nonetheless, working with creative software during the early phases of a project allows me to rough out ideas that facilitate communication with both clients and artists thereby smoothing the editorial process. The result is that I’m able provide artists with conceptual springboards that allow them to surpass my humble starting points, as well as the initial expectations of clients.
Wishing you the best in your writing endeavors,
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, wordsmith and design consultant
To learn more about Prospect for Murder and other writing projects, please visit my author’s website at https://www.JeanneBurrows-Johnson.com. And for more ideas to strengthen your Wordpower© and branding, please visit my website: https://www.ImaginingsWordpower.com