(last edited on September 20, 2014 at 3:51 pm)
SUMMARY: I think I just discovered what design discipline I’m in! Someone pinch me! However, do I have to choose between that and being a creator?
I was looking up the etymology of the word “copy” as in “copyright” and “copywriter” and of course “body copy” and “display copy”. This took me down a convoluted path of Wikipedia-enabled edification. I finally found out what copy editing really is: Copy editors are “responsible for improving the formatting, style, and accuracy of the text”. And this led to a review of just what an editor does, which is “editing”. I hadn’t given it that much thought before, assuming I knew what it meant, but I liked how Wikipedia expressed it (emphasis mine):
Editing is the process of selecting and preparing language, images, sound, video, or film through processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications in various media. A person who edits is called an editor. In a sense, the editing process originates with the idea for the work itself and continues in the relationship between the author and the editor. Editing is, therefore, also a practice that includes creative skills, human relations, and a precise set of methods
Now, I like editing, because it bothers me when things aren’t clear. Perhaps this is a vestige of my old “I’m going to be an English major” life, before my brain got hijacked by the computer revolution and I decided to study engineering. And perhaps “like” is too strong a word; it’s more of a compulsion to correct and clarify. I feel better when things have been clarified. I feel like crap when thing are NOT clear.
Anyway, copy editing seemed to reflect the organization part of me, so what is copy writing?:
Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion or idea. Although the word copy may be applied to any content intended for printing (as in the body of a newspaper article or book), the term copywriter is generally limited to such promotional situations, regardless of media (as advertisements for print, television, radio or other media). The author of newspaper or magazine copy, for example, is generally called a reporter or writer or a copywriter.
That’s not quite me, because I’m not so much of a promoter at heart as I’m someone who likes to find the truth of things. In fact, that very insight made me think I’m not quite in the right line of work. So I quickly looked up the other stuff that I seem to be doing. Take graphic design, for example (again, emphasis mine):
Graphic Design is a collaborative process between a client and a designer — in conjunction with producers of form (i.e., printers, programmers, signmakers, etc.)— to convey a specific message to a targeted audience. The term graphic design can refer to a number of artistic and professional disciplines that focus on visual communication and presentation. The field is also often referred to as Visual Communication or Communication Design.
Visual Communication is the art of using only visuals to communicate, but Communication Design was a new term to me:
Communication design is a mixed discipline between design and information-development which is concerned with how media intermission such as printed, crafted, electronic media or presentations communicate with people. A communication design approach is not only concerned with developing the message aside from the aesthetics in media, but also with creating new media channels to ensure the message reaches the target audience.
Wow! Did I actually discover what it is that I’m doing? Reading further:
Communication design seeks to attract, inspire, create desires and motivate the people to respond to messages, with a view to making a favorable impact to the bottom line of the commissioning body, which can be either to build a brand, move sales, or for humanitarian purposes. Its process involves strategic business thinking, utilizing market research, creativity, and problem-solving. The term communication design is often used interchangeably with visual communication, but has an alternate broader meaning that includes auditory, vocal, touch and smell. Examples of Communication Design include information architecture, editing, typography, illustration, web design, animation, advertising, ambient media, visual identity design, performing arts, copywriting and professional writing skills applied in the creative industries.
I think I hit the jackpot! This encompasses so much of what I think about, and it’s exciting that there apparently is a field that I can say I’m a part of. Which means it’s time to look for other communication designers and see what they’re up to, and from that perhaps find rich veins of opportunity to mine for new insights. What on EARTH did we do before Wikipedia?
That said, there is one very important distinction I noted in the description of the copy editing process: that there are authors and editors. I would much rather be an author; that is, a creator of new things. I perhaps have mistaken the tools I need to create as an indicator of “where I should be working”, instead of properly looking at them as the means to do what I want to do. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time I’ve made that mistake. And given that I want to find the TRUTH of things, that suggests that I need to be looking for clients that deal in truth as a product to sustain me in the meantime.
Hm. I think it is time to adjust my niche yet again.