It drives me nuts when someone says to me "a picture paints a thousand words". It is even worse when that person follows through with a reason, or a process, or a formula like <a href="http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/6709.asp">this</a>.
Sure, good copywriting can be strengthened by bold design. But where does the design start? It starts by someone needing to communicate a message to someone else – they have a story to tell.
From there, everything falls into place.