2: Poets & Writers Magazine – Design for Creative Writers

Poets & Writers is “the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers” (Poets & Writers). I chose to look at their website because I have subscribed to their bimonthly magazine for the past two years.

The magazine offers a wide variety of content such as articles on current literary trends, debut authors, and writing advice, as well as calls for submissions, writing contests, and literary events. The website is no different, offering much of the same content (with significant expansions in some areas) that is more easily accessible online.

Sections in the top menu include: Resources for writers under ‘Publish Your Writing,’ ‘Promote Your Writing,’ and ‘Find Your Community’; a section for Poets & Writers Magazine content; two sections on literary events titled ‘Poets & Writers Live’ and ‘Readings & Workshops’; and information about the nonprofit under ‘About Us.’

The landing page features a flat design, much like the WSU example in Writer/Designer, and at the very top, underneath the logo and a top section detailing social media and links to donate, subscribe, or login, there is a horizontal menu. This menu will take the user to different areas of the site with different information. This is the main navigational tool on the website, so the sections and pages linked to are considered particularly important.

If the user hover over each of these sections, they will find a drop down menu of subcategories related to that section.

Hovering over the ‘Poets & Writers Magazine’ section brings up a drop down menu that includes links to the most recent issue, an archive of past articles and issues, links to writing prompts and awards and links for prospective advertisers.

I think these drop-down menus are very useful because they offer greater ease of access when looking for something specific, and having them only visible when hovering over them keeps the landed page from becoming too cluttered with menus and lists.

Underneath the main menu is a brief section with links to the things that Poets & Writers wants to emphasize the most. These things are given a lot of space on the page and separated slightly from the content on the rest of the landing page. The most important things, according to this main page, are links to the current magazine issue and their e-newsletter, which encourages people to subscribe, and a link to an essay that is labeled online exclusive.

From this I can see that Poets & Writers greatly values gaining more subscribers, which makes sense as much of their money must come from the magazine, and wants to push its online-only content as well.

Underneath this section there is a special section for recent news articles, writing prompts, and tools for writers. The fact that this is a special section shows that Poets & Writers is aware that their primary audience is writers, people who wish to develop their writing skills and share their work with the world.

The ‘Tools For Writers’ section includes lists of literary magazines, grants and awards, literary agents, and MFA programs.

Overall, I think this landing page is well-designed and highlights what would be most important to its primary audience. The home page has a fairly simple, understated color scheme—blue with yellow as a consistent accent color, and otherwise a white or grey background that does not interfere with the content. I liked that the design aspects were fairly consistent (the yellow was used in little tags to indicate what sort of post the user was looking at, while blue was used for links and titles).

The one problem that I had with this website was that, the further down you go on this page, the more cluttered it looks. The lower half of this page is taken up by many links, all in blocks arranged in a grid format, to calendars, magazine articles, and other content.

The problem I had with this is that, because it goes on for so long and because of its format, there is too much for the eye to take in and no way to decide what to look at first. If I had to suggest a change for the Poets & Writers landing page, I would recommend finding some way to link to other content in a more organized manner.

Word Count: 599


Ball, Cheryl E. et al. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Mulimodal Projects. 2nd ed., New York, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2018.

Poets & Writers. Poets & Writers, 2018, https://www.pw.org/. Accessed 31 January 2018.