Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Article Writing

Design Process vs. Writing Process

Though they are two very different ideas, the design process and the writing process are very similar. Both processes go through the same development of planning, coming up with a first draft or model, making changes, and finishing with a final product. Both incorporate fine detail, craft, and an overall sense of unity. As we have learned in our courses so far this semester, commodity, firmness, and delight are all concepts that, together, make a design successful. In his book, Writing Places, William Zinsser suggests that writing should be able “to make complex subjects clear and enjoyable -- and useful --to ordinary readers,” thus proposing that the design concept of commodity, firmness, and delight is also used throughout the writing process. (Zinsser, William. Writing Places. Harper Collins, May 2009). The same tactics are used in both the writing and design processes in order to create a successful product.
Not only is the design process similar to the writing process, but it also has many parallels to stories and storytelling. Zinsser comments on the fact that “the great writers of the Yale faculty weren’t the theory-obsessed English professors.” Rather, “they were the history professors… who understood that their knowledge could only be handed down if they imposed on the past an act of storytelling, one that had a strong narrative pull and a robust cast of characters” (Zinsser, William. Writing Places. Harper Collins, May 2009). The reason why the professors who used the act of storytelling were thought of as better writers than the ones who didn’t conveys the idea that engagement, interaction, and exaggeration make a piece of writing stand out. These same concepts of engagement, interaction, and exaggeration are what make a design stand out to its audience.
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Every design has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Though they are composed of different media, the same process is used to develop one idea into the next. Both stories and designs have a common goal of encouraging their audience to interact with their work. In writing, the author’s intent is to create a piece that engages the reader and persuades them to continue further into the story. In a design, the designer’s objective is to allow their audience to physically and mentally interact with their work. In both instances, the audience is meant to form some kind of a connection with the final product.

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