Banish proofing

horrors!

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We’ve all been there. You’ve carefully checked and signed off some artwork, then days later find yourself grimacing with disbelief at the major blooper we’ve missed! When it comes to digital communications, errors can be fixed fairly quickly and without incurring a major cost, but if it’s printed material, then it’s a different story.

Big brands don’t always get it right!

But don’t be too hard on yourself, mistakes happen, and it doesn’t matter what size your business is, please reassure yourself that even some big brands get it wrong occasionally. We once received a Christmas gift brochure from Hotel Chocolat where they managed to spell Christmas wrong! And even Waitrose is not above reproach with their “Gift’s for Teacher’s” messaging. Several years ago, Tesco made an error when they produced two baby suits. One carried the slogan “I was born awsome” – missing out the first e in ‘awesome’ and the other missing a possessive apostrophe as it read “Daddys little man”.

Sometimes it’s not just spelling, there are a plethora of grammatical errors and even colour, font, unnecessary capitalisation and image issues to contend with too. We often find that in the excitement of the design process, the all-important process of proofing can be rushed, or worse still skipped altogether when time is of the essence or budgets are tight. We even remember a client who ‘approved’ a leaflet after only checking one side. In their haste, they hadn’t even turned it over!

We often find that in the excitement of the design process, the all-important process of proofing can be rushed, or worse still skipped altogether when time is of the essence or budgets are tight.

What is a proof?

A proof is a digital or printed representation of what your final product or communication will look like. It is a vitally important stage, because it helps prevent unforeseen problems with text, images, colours, spacing and other design elements. Essentially, they are created so that you, as the client, can ensure there are no errors before your design is finalised or goes to press.

Assume it’s wrong

Many years ago, we were told by an ex-boss that the secret to proofing was to “assume it’s wrong”! That way you will take the necessary time to check and proof your communications.

Of course, it’s also human nature that if you write something, it can be difficult to see your own mistakes as your brain glosses over things and fills in the correct words automatically. What we would suggest is that you pass the proof around to a few team members, or to someone who wasn’t involved in the original project to review it. Statistics show that a second, third or fourth set of eyes are more likely to spot any errors. Take a look at our other proofing tips.

Why mistakes matter!

Bad grammar and inaccurate spelling affect business. Research conducted by LinkedIn concluded that many customers would hesitate in making a purchase from a website that has obvious grammar and spelling errors. Because let’s face it, if you make mistakes, which are picked up by your customers or worse still your competitors, it can lead to negative perceptions about your brand, which could impact on sales and your reputation over time.

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