Wood You Ate at This Resturant?
Would you be willing to reserve your vacation with an upscale cruise line that offers “luxry accomodations” or provide your contact information to an online business that asks for your “adress” in the contact form? Maybe not. Even if you don’t think your customers care about spelling errors, they may notice your lack of attention to detail.
Inconsistencies, poor grammar and sentence structure can be just as unprofessional as spelling errors. Most businesses appreciate quality writing, and when mistakes occur it is generally not due to apathy. Rather, business writing errors occur due to a combination of the lack of proofreading skills and an inadequate proofreading process.
Whether you are proofreading a brochure, magazine advertisement, banner, sign, or graphics in general, here are some tips to help you avoid embarrassing errors.
- Use your house style. Simply said, adopt a standard of consistency for your message so that everything appears to have been written by one voice. Be sure to use consistent graphics and colors. Changing the proportions of your corporate logo to “make it fit,” is a bad practice. Be consistent.
- Right in front of your nose. While information such as numbers, percentages, and money tend to be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb, don’t overlook headlines or forget to display your logo and contact info.
- Create the design, then proofread it. It’s important to distinguish the difference between design-editing and proofreading so that you don’t find yourself in an endless cycle of designing and re-designing. Whereas design-editing allows you to find and correct errors and clarify your message, the purpose of editing is to check for mistakes that may have occurred during the editing stage. A proofreader should correct errors that are missed during editing.
- Sign off to reduce cost. Any changes that are made late in production are likely to cost you money. Insist on a proof of your design before your project goes into production. Keep in mind that design revisions are not edits to correct errors – they are revisions that will typically cost you additional money and threaten the risk that you could miss your project deadline.
- The eyes have it. When we write, we tend to see what we intended to write, not what we actually wrote. Utilize spell checking tools when available, and make sure your proofreader is not the designer.