Design Process: Why Content Should Precede Design

Design Process: Why Content Should Precede Design

Many will argue what should come first: content or design? When creating a website, both go hand-in-hand and are the main influences to visitors. It’s easy to get excited about the design of a project and forget about the content, and you may intentionally want to wait to see how the content fits. The content however has such an impact on design, that designing around content will most likely be a more beneficial tactic.


Minimal Design of man with megaphone


It’s true that design without content won’t serve a purpose in the online world. Users are looking for a specific solution to a problem or searching for a topic on their mind, so design alone won’t get you search results. We understand you’re looking for high conversion rates and search engine rankings, so both design and content need to be considered in your process. For the initial stages of your site however, you may need to choose a focus for things to take off. Design may be a foundation for content creators to write on, but the design is arguably more influenced by the content than vice-versa.


Design Quote - Content, not design, is also what boosts your search results ranking,it should be at the forefront of your thought process.

Your website primarily exists to serve content to the user, and design serves to support the content. For design to be effective, it needs to have an understanding of the content so that they both excel. Visitors should be drawn in to your website by the design, but keep returning because of the quality content. Content, not design, is also what boosts your search results ranking, should it should be at the forefront of your thought process.



The content establishes the main message you’re trying convey, and once the designer understands this message they can create designs that fit the concept. Without content, designers will basically be going in blindly whereas content can easily be created with the absence of design. Therefore, creating content first is the efficient method. Having designers understand the big picture also leads to successful marketing objectives.


Minimal duotone design of typewriter keys


The effectiveness of content and design and how you prioritize them certainly depends on the outcome you’re trying to achieve. In most cases however, it can save you time to begin with creating content for more responsive design rather than going back to tweak the design after it was already created. Ultimately it’s important to understand how both design and content are mutually beneficial, and solid communication through both teams will deliver the best results.

Jaimie, an author on the DesignUps Nashville Design Blog

About the Author

Jaimie is a radio DJ for our beloved client, WXNA. She helps us with WordPress sites and content. Jaimie has a passion for music and playing drums. Her cat is named Stevie Nicks.