Throughout my years of sitting through design presentations, I've come to a major conclusion: designers need to proofread. I've witnessed firsthand how incredibly painful it is to see so many spelling and grammar mistakes in what are supposed to be professional presentations.
I’m not sure if my annoyance stems from being a spelling Nazi in grade school (S/O to Bishop Leibold) or from working for a magazine for two years. These errors stick out like sore thumbs, and to be honest, it’s just unacceptable.
How old are we? What is our education level? How are people still incorrectly using “its” and “it’s”? Why am I the only one who seems to care?! It’s time all designers accept the facts and learn to proofread.
Just imagine sending a project with errors in the copy. Think about your clients seeing typos in your pitch. I shudder at the thought. It’s unprofessional, and it needs to stop.
Here are some simple tips to ensure your copy is proofread correctly:
1. Use a word processor with spellcheck.
As designers, we don’t have the luxury of automatic spellcheck in any of the Adobe Suite programs. Instead, write your copy (or double-check a file sent to you) in a word processor with spellcheck to fix any obvious spelling or grammar mistakes before pasting into the design.
2. Print out your work to proofread.
So you’ve designed this beautiful thing, and you do a test print to check color, spacing, and the like. While you’re at it, go through and check for mistakes in the copy.
3. Find a friend in copywriting.
Maybe you have a copywriting department, maybe your cousin’s girlfriend’s sister majored in English. Either way, find someone who’ll be that invaluable second pair of eyes. Thankfully, the magazine I art direct has its own copyediting department. But for my other design endeavors, I turn to my roommate/best friend — a magazine journalism major — to look over my work for any mistakes even a spelling Nazi like me could miss.
4. Brush up on your grammar skills.
There are great resources online and in libraries to give quick lessons on proper grammar. For instance, “towards,” “backwards,” and “downwards” are not real words. They don’t exist. Remove the “s” from the end, and you’re golden. Finally, the world will correctly use “they’re,” “their,” and “there.” Oxford commas optional.
5. Google it.
If you aren’t sure of spelling, meaning or usage, hit up everyone’s BFF, Google. In .65 seconds, you’ll save yourself future embarrassment.
Have fun spelling, everyone.