Even Technical Communicators Need Design


While browsing through Technical Communication Blogs I saw an article called “Discourse by Design”, which immediately caught my attention. Ok yes, I already knew technical communicators used design but I wanted to know why someone in this industry sector was writing about design, and if it would relate at all to what I think when I hear “design”.

According to Michael Opsteegh, a new blogger on STC, “Discourse by Design is a balance between the academic and the artistic. Design is as much about theory and research as it is aesthetic and taste.” Opsteegh goes on to say that whenever you view something you instantly judge it based on the first impression, and of course appearance. He lists the below items as things that viewers, clients, and consumers judge your work by…

  • Credibility
  • Accuracy
  • Worthiness
  • Difficulty

However technical communicators often leave design aspects at the bottom of their priorities, and focus on content. He makes excuses for fellow technical communicators by saying they often face “looming deadlines, rigid templates, and single-sourcing.” So to the bloggers and viewers reading this post, please remember that design IS important, do not lock yourself into templates that keep you from exploring your artsy side, and expressing your creative personally through both content and design.

As a Media Arts & Technology student at RIT, we also need to learn this rule but we need to focus more on making our content as accurate and correct as possible, instead of spending hours making sure the design is absolutely perfect Just remember two things… design and content, if you give an equal amount of attention to both than your work will be impressive and appealing.



4 thoughts on “Even Technical Communicators Need Design

  1. I think your right we need to focus more on content and not always the design. It’s as if we are ment to work hand in hand with this people while they give us content and we give them design. No matter what side if your try to do both your usually focusing on one more than the other.

  2. I agree with this article, I think many people who value content over the design/presentation of their work are selling themselves short. Just as the article says, we judge everything based on first impressions. Without a readable or at least somewhat appealing design, nobody will want to view your content, no matter how great it is.

  3. Exactly, which is why when you go to companies and agencies you see that the teams work amongst one another. The design team works with the creative team, who all work with the idea team etc. because if you try to do everything yourself you’ll end up lacking in the areas you may think you know well enough to do alone, but really it’s the area that would have been done better by someone who focuses in that area. The team structure is the most effective way to get the best end result that everyone desires, hence why the team structure is used in almost everyone company, corporation, and businesses everywhere.

  4. Design is very important in many aspects. For example, even if the content is really good it may never be seen if the design is bad. Design can be used to attract and make people interested, it will bring them in and then they will see the content. These articles are interesting and I agree with what they are saying of how to get across what you’re trying to say. I agree with you that our major is more of design and it could hep to work with a technical communicator to combine the design and content.

Comments are closed.