The interrogative editor
Replace the word “space” with the word “text,” and you have a good attempt at an editor’s creed: make every effort to understand what the author is trying to convey to their readers, who those readers are, and what textual conditions will help them receive the author’s message. Just as Swarovski crystal glassware doesn’t belong in a daycare, a technical manual is no place for an elaborate metaphor, no matter how beautifully constructed; it doesn’t serve the user’s purpose and can actually detract from it.
The imaginative editor
As part of her imaginative process, Crawford uses materials (such as textiles, wood, metals, and floorings) and tools (such as the humble measuring tape) not as ends in themselves but as means of creating physical environments that are inviting, soothing, energizing, or otherwise engaging, according to the client’s needs. This principle is useful for editors to keep in mind, too – we’ve all been tempted to shoehorn a pretty turn of phrase into a paragraph that didn’t need it, but we should never be so enamoured with the words themselves that we lose sight of the author’s purpose and the reader’s requirements.
The empathetic editor
The living beings using the space are at the heart of every design decision Crawford and her team make, from the grandest lighting concept to the smallest tabletop bowl, and so it is with the empathetic editor. It’s why editors champion inclusive language that tells a diverse readership, “You are welcome here,” and why we strive for consistency within a text to create a harmonious reading experience.
A text is a space that the reader inhabits intellectually and emotionally. It has a function and an atmosphere; it affects the reader while they’re immersed in it and leaves an impression with them afterwards. As editors, we can use our powers of interrogation, imagination, and empathy to make each text we work on functional, accessible, and inviting environments for readers to step into.