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What comes first, the concept or the copy?

Imagine a world where a reader picks up a brochure or visits a website and remarks how beautifully the ideas, design and words complement each other… Okay, I’m dreaming. But this opinion-forming process does actually take place in the reader’s subconscious. All the best communications have something about their look and their headlines that just... Read more

Does A-Level English teach you how to write?

I saw a good article recently about the tendency of primary school teachers to insist their pupils use flowery language and long words rather than straightforward ones. However, having just seen my son go through A-Level English Language, I can report that it’s happening at the other end of the school journey. Too often my... Read more

Is the thesaurus your friend?

The thesaurus gets a bad rap. School teachers forbid it and Stephen King is a famous opponent. In his first novel Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer wrote the bad English of Ukrainian character Alex by using a thesaurus to change small, ordinary words into big, ill-fitting ones. The compounded effect is horrifying and hilarious.... Read more

How not to sound like everyone else…

Tone of voice. Verbal identity. Brand language. Whatever you call it, each has the same aim: to bring character, coherence and consistency to the way an organisation expresses itself in words. Why? Because adding character helps distinguish you from everyone else. Being coherent provides a richer, more meaningful experience. And being consistent helps build trust... Read more