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The Metawork of Writing


The directors of the undergraduate writing program at Columbia compiled a pithy and quite comprehensive list of the moves that successful essays make. I filed it away as a tool for when my writing seems to be missing some motivating point. A while back, I designed a quick layout to give these valuable instructions a bit of graphic force. Set in Frutiger.

  • Cause & effect
  • Set & subset
  • Argument & counterargument
  • Argument & qualifier
  • Expectation & reality
  • Theory & practice (or vice versa)
  • Concept & application
  • Rule & exception
  • Strength & weakness
  • Argument & exigence (urgency/motive)
  • Idea & implications/significance
  • Pattern & break
  • Idea & complication
  • Problem & resolution/solution/proposal

Someday I’ll have this printed and framed in my office.

Published in Design Writing