In celebration of National Proofreading Day, we’d like to share some tips to help you proof your designs as best possible before they become ink on paper!
Proofreading is an integral step in the printing process. Proper spelling and grammar gives your business credibility. Imagery that is visually captivating and makes sense helps to tell your story and draw attention. Accurate content informs your customers and allows them to easily connect with your business.
In the graphic design department we set up small runs like business cards with only a few key words to content-rich booklets and brochures. Whether there’s one word or 3000, we always ask our customers to proof and proofread before we hit “PRINT.”
What is PROOFING?
Proofing is reviewing the entire design, including content, graphics, overall layout and verifying that the job is accurate before it goes to print. Proofing can be done electronically when we email a PDF (soft proof), or physically (hard proof). If requested, we can provide you with a pre-press proof of your printed material which will allow you to check the quality and colours of your design when printed.
What is PROOFREADING (and how is it different from proofing?)
Proofreading is when you focus on reviewing your content to detect and correct errors before it goes to print.
Why is proofing important?
Catching errors before they go to print will keep your project on track and save you from costly re-prints. You don’t want to notice an incorrect phone number on your flyer while you’re picking them up, or worse after mailed them out to thousands of potential customers. As soon as someone has a printed copy in their hands they spot obvious errors or omissions that weren’t noticed on-screen. I highly recommend printing off the proof we emailed to you, and taking a good look at it. Don’t be afraid to mark it up with a pen to make sure you don’t forget any of the necessary revisions when you send them over to us.
There are three major things to look at when proofing:
Reviewing your content should happen many times before you begin the design process and many times along the way. It’s helpful to have finalized content before we start designing in order to avoid major layout adjustments and save you money in design fees.
Here’s a few things to look for when reviewing your content:
A) Check for spelling errors: Check before you send the content to our design team and check it again when we send you a proof.
A few ways to spell check: (For a thorough review do each of these steps every time you proofread.)
- Print it off – You’ll catch mistakes easier on a printed copy than on-screen. The solidity of the paper helps keep your eyes and brain on track.
- Read it backwards – This will help you focus on the words and their spelling rather than reading the sentence as a whole.
- Spell check on your computer – Keep in mind that your computer won’t catch all grammar errors or typos, and is likely set to American spelling rather than Canadian spelling (i.e. Color vs Colour)
- Have someone else read it – even better, have as many people as possible read it! You’re an expert on your content, so you may not notice if a key piece of the story is missing. Have someone who isn’t familiar with the content read it. They’re more likely to stumble if information is missing.
- Read it out loud – it’s easier to tell if the sentences sound unnatural when you hear them out loud.
B) Does the content make sense? Does the content flow in a logical manner? Is there too much content or too little? Is there anything that is repetitive or unnecessary?
C) Is the contact information correct? Check that names are properly spelt. Have someone who doesn’t know your contact information by heart test your phone numbers, web addresses and social media handles to make sure they work.
D) Is the information accurate? Are your prices correct? Do your charts add up?
A) Are the logos current, good quality and a good representation of your company’s identity?
B) Photos and imagery: Do the photos and graphics makes sense? Are they good quality? Are they repetitive, uninteresting or inconsistent? For example – if your brochure uses all black and white images but suddenly there is an image that is full colour this may seem out of place.
3. Overall Layout and Design:
A) Does the content flow in the logical manner? When we start to design we often make a mock-up of your printed material to determine where the information would make the most sense.
B) Are you happy with the “feel” of it? Do you like the way that the colours, text and images work together? Is there anything that doesn’t sit right with you? Is the design consistent with the rest of your company’s print collateral? Is it what you expected?
C) Are the specifications correct? (i.e. Have we sent you a design for a single-sided business card, but you had imagined a double-sided business card?)
D) Are there any inconsistencies? (i.e. all of the titles are in blue text, but one is green)
Once you’re CERTAIN that everything is perfect, check it again!
When everything has been thoroughly proofed, compiling your notes into one email is the most efficient way to have changes made.
If you’ve found these tips helpful and want a checklist for proofing, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org