The Illicit Process - Content Before Design

So here’s how it usually goes: design the page layouts, fill with temporary content, send to the client, then gather text and images to populate the spaces you just created. Simple! This is a fairly textbook process for a lot of web development companies.

Doing things this way can work if your budget is tight, or you’re having to conform to an off-the-shelf theme with inflexible parameters. But shouldn’t the design process work for your content, rather than the other way round?

With the Illicit Process, we believe that creating and consolidating the content from the start is the best way to design something that is truly putting the client and their product first. The copy, the images and the brand message should play a massive part in getting the design process fired up. In addition, following a well-considered content brief will help dictate structuring for elements such as SEO and calls to action.

Conceptual, image-led websites sometimes have the luxury of not needing to court Google, as their audience is coming to them through other means. We can ditch heavy word counts for these guys, and focus solely on beautiful, mouth-watering design. Where page 1 Google ranking is a must though, optimised pages will need to carry a heavier word count. In these cases, a good design should follow a healthy punch-up between the designer and the SEO team. The result should be a strategy for a perfectly structured page, as copy for SEO should NEVER be allowed to encumber good design and seamless user experience.

A good designer will be brutally honest with a client, and not afraid to flag up bad content. A good designer will treat the website as their own, and fight for the best outcome for the site and the client. The best designs are a result of strong client-designer collaboration, and both sides being equally happy with the outcome.

So whether we’re setting up a professional photo shoot or using our writers to create some killer copy – or the client is delivering absolutely everything – we always try and make sure that the content is nailed first, so our designs can showcase it to its full potential!