While my current title is web developer, I have a degree in writing with a concentration in poetry. This often is a bit of surprise to people, because the two are not typically compatible, or at the very least, the path from one to the other is not apparently logical.

However I found my way from poetry to web development, being able to write, communicate, and articulate ideas, has been really beneficially to my growth.

Eric Karjaluoto‘s recent post, Designers must write, talks about the role writing and communication plays in the growth of designers.

Our ability to articulate ideas in both a verbal and written fashion allows us to earn the buy-in of clients, on projects that may be out of their realm of expectations. And really, how often does a client receive exactly what they would have expected prior to entering the design process?

He also states that the better he is able to communicate ideas, the more he is able to explore ideas, and the better his resulting work becomes. I think this is a really good point.

Being able to articulate my ideas, and to consider ideas from different angles, has really helped me explore different solutions to the same problem. I don’t know if this comes strictly from my background in writing, but I do believe that being able to write effectively has set me apart as a developer, and has helped me contribute in other aspects of web design, such as information architecture, project management, and design. It makes sense that a designer with strong writing and verbal communication skills will fair better than those who do not.

Design is not solely visual. Those who believe it is, make an unconscious decision to confine themselves solely to craft. This limits these individuals from growing and taking on more complex and broad challenges.

I agree with the above statement completely, especially for web design, given that people do not just engage with the design visually. A look around at some of the top designers on the web will show that the best designers are not limited to visual design. They can write, and well. And most can code their own pages.

Design is about conveying a message or idea. Writing is the same. My writing skills have helped me in the message and idea department, and it’s why I can talk about design without having formal design training.

Lucky me, I’ll be getting some design training this summer, courtesy of CMU.