Proof reading is absolutely vital when designing your literature. Not only does your organisation’s advertising and marketing campaign depend on it but it's your reputation as well. A small spelling mistake may be all that sets you apart from your competition when a potential customer is making an important buying decision.
Imagine this - you’ve spent weeks producing your new corporate brochure and finally had it printed just in time for a big exhibition you are attending. At the event you spend two hours networking and doing your best to impress a particular prospective customer, even though there are other competitors circling like hyenas. You get back to the office later to see an email from them, requesting a further meeting to discuss plans for a big project and you are invited to tender. You make the appointment and go and see the customer the very next day. The meeting goes well and you leave behind the company brochure which you are very proud of and you are sure will help you clinch the contract. You go back to the office and sit and wait for that all-important call from the client. You wait and you wait until the end of the week, when you decide to make contact with them. You can’t get through. You try again and again without any success. This is baffling as you were sure the deal was all sewn up. Another week goes past and then it hits you - your exceptionally well-designed and printed brochure has a spelling mistake on the front cover and it couldn’t have been in a worse place if you'd done it intentionally. The strap line reads ‘Highest Qualitiy Standards’. Gutted? You could say that – this was one of the worst moments of my working life, a moment when your heart sinks like a lead weight and then it slowly registered how stupid I looked in front of the client.
The brochure had been through two designers, seen by a photographer, a whole repro department and print minder, a finisher, a packing department, a delivery driver and then to me – the marketing manager – and nobody had spotted it. Needless to say this has never happened since.
Don’t be too immersed in the design.
It's very easy to become blind to spelling mistakes when you are so immersed in the production of any design and especially when you know exactly how something should be written. Proof reading is a skill, requiring not only a massive amount of concentration, but a detached viewpoint. Often handing a job to someone who has had no involvement in its creation highlights the simplest of mistakes. Professional proof readers often read documents backwards in order to not be taken in by the prose they are reading, which is usually how grammatical errors can be overlooked as the brain corrects the error as you are reading it, rather than drawing your attention to it.
Check it and double check it, and then check it again!