The long and short of it

When there is no limit to the amount of space available - why not fill it?
I was reading Russell Davies column in Campaign magazine. Well, not in Campaign but on his blog. In it he discusses the differences between writing copy for a blog and for print. He raises many interesting points. It strikes me that the most significant difference is the lack of inhibition there is when writing a blog. When I write my column for Idealog it is constrained to 500 words. If there were fewer my editor would probably ask me for more. Or ask someone else. Without the copy the page would be empty. Too many words and there wouldn't be enough room. Interestingly, in part, these are design issues. The content affects the presentation of the magazine.
In a blog design is irrelevant. Content is the only thing that matters - even more true if you are reading an RSS feed. Blog sites like Blogger, WordPress and Vox offer free, simple templates that can be used in minutes. It doesn't seem to matter that my site's design is exactly the same as millions of others. In a curious way it is refreshing; you can filter out 'design' issues and concentrate entirely on content.

Russell also shows a photo of a sign he has encountered and offered a surgical improvement to it, referring us to his inspiration a blog entry about Saatchi & Saatchi creative director Simon Dicketts' technique of covering words in headlines with a finger to determine if they are absolutely necessary.

This seems to be a common thread in some of the blogs I routinely visit. Guy Kawasaki reprinted in full an article by George Orwell on matters of style when writing which created a storm of approval in his comments.

I guess with so much blog content available there comes a time when neurotic rambling isn't going to cut it anymore. We compete for attention with an infinite amount of content. The rules of good communication really should apply.

Which reminds me of an excellent little publication from Ogilvy & Mather called "How to Write Better". Must dig it out.


  1. I work for Guy Kawasaki. Thanks for your comment about Guy and the link to his posting on George Orwell!



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