The use of language in Graphic Design



Working as a Graphic Designer do you tend to consider the language that you use to communicate your message or do you rely purely on what has been supplied and not see this as your responsibility?

I believe that the use of language defines a true Graphic Designer from a Design/Artworker and is a great skill to master.

How do you tend to approach language when you're producing a Brand Identity or do you leave that on the back burner until the visuals are sorted?

I'm intrigued to learn of peoples attitudes towards this.
Where the job you're involved in is about projecting a professional image on the client's behalf, you should of course flag anything that you feel undermines that objective.
I agree - language in design is very important. It is how your client will get his message across - with your brilliant visuals and graphics! I vary my approach depending on the job. I always correct spelling and grammar (their/there etc) and will offer to re-write or help write if client needs/wants. I already offer copywriting and am thinking of pushing this more.

That said I once corrected all the apostrophes in a client's leaflet and they told me I had it all wrong (which I didn't!!) and made me change it all back to how they had supplied it. Some you can't win....
Checking spelling and grammar goes without saying.

But when it comes to language, do people generally consider the psychological behavior of consumers and what words can be used to influence decision making.

I've got a really interesting book that i'd recommend that helps with all the tricks of the trade.

It's written by Mark Shaw and is called:
Copywriting; Successful writing for design, advertising and marketing.
If the question is: is it the job of a graphic designer to be a copywriter?, then I'd say no: that's a copywriter's job. Some designers offer it but it isn't really a part of the design role.
I had to reply

I totally agree , If you can use language in a way which promotes the clients purpose is superb. The way we place words , the form words take , the images and symbolic iconic ism that words can take is quite magical. Single words or short phrases , centered , small and powerful can give as much and even more impact as a whole boring shite filled essay ( apologies for profanities )

Also , I think that when thinking about using prose as the defining element , you have to actually look at the word i.e. You wouldn't see " My oranges are rubbish , there pink... please buy them " as an advert on a billboard or whatever... it'd be more like " Orangezzzzzz , there like eating a day dream , " something to that effect

It plays a pivatol role... and I don't think Design can be put into an objective without it.
I also feel that the use of language is pivotal in producing a Brand Identity. Words can be a defining factor of how a Brand is recognized, just as equally as Colour and Iconology.

For example, in all of Disney literature they promote their staff as "Cast Memebers" to add that little bit more value to the Brand.

Apple name their mechanical staff in their Apple stores as "Geniuses".

Obviously Brands come with Straplines, but having a subtle use of language can really help push the emphasis towards the company that's being promoted.
Language and design are all part of a brand - in the true sense of a brand. A brand is not just a logo and a strapline... it's the whole ethos of the company - how you deal with clients/staff, how you answer the phone, etc etc.

Big companies will (probably) have in their Corporate ID guidelines a section on 'Tone of Voice' which will give the sort of words to use. There may also be a section on the type of pictures that can be used - (especially in the NHS in my experience).

I noticed last night that Sainsbury's have 'colleagues' not 'staff' - I'd rather be a 'genius'!