Creative Strategist – Jess Willemse


A collection of my wandering thoughts on design, brands, books, music and the like.​

Where are the words? The power of good copywriting in an age of transient visuals


Short, easy, visual. The mantra of modern day content. Unfortunately, this is often at the cost of great copy.


Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 9.59.30 PM.png

Most of you know I champion the use of compelling visual content. However, this shift in emphasis for brands often means a lack of attention to the finer details, namely, the words. As we see graphic design becoming increasingly commoditised in this age of infinite scrolling, I have to wonder if opportunity lies in creating more compelling and integrated stories, driven by great copywriting.

Good copy of course ties back to an overall brand strategy. Brand attributes, values and essence set the course for consistency in key messaging. Brand personality, stories and tone of voice define the language through which these messages are told. Having a clear understanding of these strategic components, and how they work together, sets a brand up to speak to its customers with a message that resonates. Brands built on a unique category positioning define the constraints for play in communications material. This is key to effective creative development, whether that be visuals or words.  

With this subject lingering in my mind over the past few days, I’ve pulled together some examples across a few categories that I think do words well. For a little inspiration, keep on perusing this post.


Apple Keynote in 107 Seconds

Good copywriting, storytelling and editing takes a keynote that is typically hours long and distils it down to 107 seconds. A great example of words written for pace working together with motion. An exercise in effectiveness if you ask me.

The Truth Is Hard – New York Times

One of my favourite adverts from last year that aired during the Oscars. The power of a good idea and simple execution.


For a place generally dominated by photography and video, here are a few of my favourite authors, poets and designers on Instagram. Using a combination of design, words and heart to tell stories, they make you hit the ‘save’ tab on repeat.  

Creative and insightful human, @adamjk.

Optimist and colour enthusiast, @dallasclayton.

Armed with a Sharpie and feelings, @timothygoodman.

New Yorker cartooner and general people observationist, @lianafinck.

Websites and Brands

Andora by Underline Studio

A prime example of constraint providing opportunity. Using the ‘And’ device from the name, headlines and copy are devised around a partnership concept, the joining of things.  



Lyricism can be beautiful, but the task to inform is the priority for alternative media company, Vice. The branding for their new channel, Viceland, hinges exactly on this purpose. Positioned as ‘premium generic,’ it’s not about chasing trends, but rather being blunt, speaking plainly and informing.  


Well, that’s it from me for this week! I hope you’ve found some of these thoughts valuable. Feel free to leave me a comment if you’d like to throw your thoughts into the discussion too.