hollyI’ve always enjoyed writing but it has only been in the last few years that I recognized how large a role it plays in my personal and professional life. As a child, I competed in writing contests with the local newspaper. Later, I helped write and edit my school newspaper. But in college, I shifted my focus to design, a field I’ve worked in for twenty years now.

Then, over the last several years, the emphasis of my own professional journey has shifted. Creating websites is a task that is split along a fault line of back-end technical expertise and front-end content and user experience creation. I focus on the front-end side of the craft, with the result that I am asked more and more to invent content and help shape marketing strategy. While I still oversee the technical side of website development, my primary offering to clients is that I can think and perform like a content marketer.

Because of this shift, I find myself manipulating words just as often as I push pixels. In fact, the user experiences I shape are equally built on language and visuals that work together to make the best use of each rhetorical situation. And yet, I felt that without a formal education in writing, I was missing out on a great deal that could make me more effective. Design relies on foundational understanding of space, color, and typography as well as human behavior. Designers share a language that makes us able to share ideas. I knew writing choices were shaped by a similar foundation and language that I lacked. This is one reason I chose to go back to college and major in Writing and Rhetoric.