It is not a secret that some articles speak better than others. But what makes them better? Writing is a skill you can try to master your whole life, it is an ongoing process. A good way to learn is to learn by example. In this article I’ll try to explain the basics of a good article and share a few tips to you. You’ll also see some great successful articles from last year and be able to see what a good and efficient design article should look like.
Don’t underestimate the importance of headlines, sometimes just few lines of text can be more important than the whole article!
There’s a reason the saying goes ‘Content is King.’ You can promote your post using dozens of social networks and use the most advanced SEO tricks, but at the end of the day, the content will be the most important factor that will make people read your article and share it with their friends.
Every article starts with an idea. Great ideas are already halfway to the success. Choose something relevant, something interesting, something you’d like to read yourself.
“A great idea is already halfway to the success.”
You can find many splendid ideas with great presentations on Wired.
However a great idea won’t be enough for a good article. You’ll have to do a lot of research on your chosen topic. You can’t write a proficient article about a subject you have no basic knowledge of. Look for similar articles, search information, acquire knowledge and develop your own opinion.
“Though a great idea won’t be enough. You won’t get by without hard work and deep research.”
Six Revisions is writing about negative space in web design which is a topic not just anyone could write about. The author has done their research and included some case studies.
This article by Noupe is a nifty example of research done and then used effectively in the article.
Web Designer Depot wrote about Helvetica and you can see all the research done. The article covers almost everything from the history to a comparison with Arial.
Be distinct. Don’t write about things other authors have already discussed (unless you have a new angle, or can write a better article). Find something no one has written about. Inspect your subject from all sides, play with it until you find what’s right for you. Deliver unique and well-grounded content with facts and arguments.
“Find something unique to write about and play with the topic until you find the best way to approach it.”
Andy Rutledge holds that there is only one design lesson any graphic designer needs to learn. He’s fortified his opinion and I find this article original and really interesting to read.
Your point of view
It’s not always bad to be subjective. Sometimes an authors’ opinion will make an article livelier. Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts. Choose a subject you’ve got your own opinion on; it will be much easier for you to write and more interesting for readers to read. A little subjective post will stir people for a little discussion in comments as each of them will have their own point of view.
“Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts. The article won’t be just a plain yes/no, good/bad.”
In this article on Mule Design Blog the author presents us with his position on the subject and shares some defended arguments with us.
When it comes to logo design, Graham Smith is one of the best in the game. It’s not only engaging to read an expert’s opinion, as a matter of fact it’s advisable to do that. I included this article as an example, because articles by true experts in the field mostly are immensely useful and well-written.
Lets face it, plain text is boring. People want to see pictures, a lot of them. They don’t want numbers, they want graphs and illustrations. Photos and illustrations help in visualization. For people with visual memory, photos and illustrations help to memorize the idea expressed in text.
Photos and visual content attract readers. Especially those like me who tend to quickly scroll through the text looking for a big colorful picture which entertains my eyes. Supplement your articles with interesting photos and demonstrative graphs – your readers will be grateful.
“Readers are lazy readers. They want to see images, a lot of them. Give them something to feast their eyes with.”
Smashing Magazine wrote about a complex subject so they’ve added conspicuous illustrations under each paragraph. They really help to fully understand the text.
Theory is important and necessary but we all love examples and demonstrations. Similar to photos, they also help us to understand points. One good example will let readers understand better what you are trying to explain in 5 paragraphs. A few examples are enough, don’t make the whole post examples and just some transitional text.
“One outstanding example can replace 1000 lines of explanations.”
Psd.tutsplus published a guide about Twitter backgrounds and they’ve included some gorgeous examples with comments.
Make your sentences easy, perceivable, and short. Readers are busy and are not willing to read 2-page long articles. Use paragraphs, don’t get into long speeches, and be concise. Stress the fundamentals and make your idea flow easy to understand.
“People are not willing to read 2-page long articles. Be comprehensive, don’t underestimate paragraphs and headings.”
In this article by Fuel Your Blogging you can see distinguishable headlines and short, precise text. It’s well styled and easy to understand.
Freelance Switch articles have very noticeable headings and the texts are finely divided.
There’s much more to add, but I hope you’ve acquired some basic knowledge of how to write a good design article. To sum things up:
- Everything starts with an idea. Think about something significant because a great idea is halfway to the success.
- Do your research. You won’t be able to write a proficient article about a subject you have no basic knowledge of.
- Be unique. Try to examine the topic the way nobody has done before.
- Include your opinion. It will be much easier for you to write and for readers to be more interesting to read.
- Use photos and illustrations. They will attract readers and help them understand the content.
- Theory is important and necessary but we all love examples. Find great examples for your article.
- Make your content easy, understandable, and short.
Use these points as guidelines. And the main thing – the article is efficient if you like it yourself. Below you’ll find some excellent articles from 2010 as well as some articles for further reading.
Smashing Magazine has done it all perfectly. Plan points, paragraphs, photos, screenshots, short conclusion and related resources. This is how a good efficient design article should look like.
Another outstanding article from Smashing Magazine. A clever idea, proficient content and suitable styling. What’s more they’ve interviewed close to 600 designers to make the article better.
This article by I Am Paddy is a good example of blog post styling. This post has a custom design and the use of typography makes it so pleasant to read.
Writing a helpful guide is not an easy task. Onextrapixel has done pretty well. Various paragraphs with short comprehensive guides and illustrations. Besides they’ve added related resources to each paragraph which is really handy.
Excellent article by. It has a custom design and great styling. Plus it shows us that article doesn’t have to be very long to be successful. This article isn’t really long though the idea with catching text and styling is what makes me to like it so much.
Noupe has done very well on researching about people’s expectations in the design field. What’s more is that they have included designer/developers’ opinion in the article.
Webdesign.tutsplus has an article about Z-layout in web design which is another spectacular example of how a great article should look like. Perfect styling plus highlighted ideas. Demonstrative mockup and appropriate examples complement the article efficiently.
Below are other neat articles from 2010 worth reading and checking out.
- How To Write Well The Ernest Hemingway Style
- Should You Write Short or Long Blog Posts?
- 17 Easy Steps to Brilliant Blog Posts
- 10 New Ideas for Getting Inspired to Write
- 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing
- 5 Kinds of Blog Posts That Attract Clients
- How to Write an Amazing Article
- A Complete Guide to Effective Writing