We rarely talk about writing as a design skill. Wish someone told me this phenomenon two decades ago when I was striving to become a designer.
I accidently discovered writing as a skill during my MBA days.Typically my love for a subject is proportional to the passion my teachers bring for the subject they teach.
It was 2017. That was the first time I met someone who was extremely passionate about words. I was all the more excited to hear that she left her cozy corporate avatar to live the love of writing. It was none other than Swati Jena's session on personal branding in our industry connect sessions. That 90 mins changed how I thought about writing.
The change is permanent.
Writing and designing are similar. Here is how I see it.
- Writing is just like designing. Instead of pixels the play is with words.
- Design thinking is creative problem solving. Writing is also problem solving at its core.
- Design is all about showing our imagination of future. Writing is all about showing imagination using words.
- Design is all about showing the detailed thought process. Writing is all about showing the details and not telling.
- As designers we wireframe and give a structure to the user interface. As writers we wireframe and give a stucture to ideas.
There is so much similarity between writing and designing process.
Writing makes you a better designer and that is why you should write everyday. Look closely, as designers first we construct with words and then we add space around it.
The minute I understood writing makes me a better designer I started writing. I haven't stopped for 1000 days now. I have written more than 250,000 words on the internet so far. It forced me to formalise my thinking and share my thoughts.
As design thinkers we are excited about thinking and problem solving. Writing is one skill that makes our thinking 10x better than what it is today. These days, when i design interfaces, I first write the interface before I draw them. It truly makes my interfaces better.
It is just material difference (Pixels vs words). The play is the same. The joy is abundant.
🥂 to process!
Confession: I hated languages in school. Physics, chemistry, maths, biology saved me. English and Sanskrit were the last things I cared about.
I almost cried when I had to go through a semester of semiotics and linguistics in my grad school. I even had a imposter when I was asked to teach semiotics for MDes. After 2018 I taught the subject with all my heart to a point I fell in love with my own lectures 🙈 Writing is so powerful.