Reorganizing the Way Websites are Made

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Published: January 11, 2020

Does design or content come first?


I’ve been a professional designer for (almost) 10 years. And one question, above all other questions, has annoyed me most. Does design or content come first?

This is such a ridiculous questions that I’m actually debating writing this blog about it. However, it is nice to see that professionals are starting to realize the thing that’s been so obvious to me for so lone. The content, must come before the design, otherwise there is nothing to design.

However, I think there is a deeper debate that’s going on here. This question is not really a question that needs asked to begin with, because neither come first. You cannot have content until you have a strategy and you cannot have a strategy until you have a goal. Basically the order is this:

Goal Strategy Content Design

To help clarify my meaning, think all the way back to the web’s predecessor: print publishing. A book publishing team didn’t even consider the design until there was a story. Before that story can be written there must be an idea. Both websites and books have a similar goal, to convey information. (Of course, web and mobile apps can also be built as tools, but that’s a different story… heh, pun intended). So, it should go without saying, and without this blog post, that design comes last.