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They Didn’t Spellcheck! Should they have? 🤔

The photos or illustrations have been approved, text is written, and you are ready to send to the files to the printer or publish the post.

You hit send and move on to the next project on the list when someone on your team taps you on the shoulder.

Via Giphy

A spelling error?! ARGH!

How did this get missed? What do you do? Who was responsible?

First, let me say that this happens to everyone, at some point, and often more than once. No matter what, it sucks. But priority is key here.

What To Do If You Find a Spelling Error

  1. First, breathe. Panicking isn’t going to do any good but addressing it asap will.
  2. Can you change it or is it too late?
    • If it is a printed piece call the printer right away and see if it’s too late or if anything can be done. Then work out how to get them new files right away. Keep in mind, that starting over will more-than-likely change the completed date.
    • If it’s a digitally written piece like an article/blog post simply go in and fix the text. Don’t make a thing of it if you don’t need to. If it’s vital info address it accordingly.
    • If it’s a graphic (as an image) that you used as a post on social media, your options may vary. Check the social platform to see if it’s possible to swap out the image. At the time of writing this, with most social media, you would have to delete the post and start over.
  3. Is there a multi-check-proof system in place? No? Best to make one. Always have more than one pair of eyes to proof, especially if you have to start over to fix it.

Who’s responsible?

“I gave the file to my designer/printer, why didn’t they spell-check it?”

If you are providing a press-ready PDF to a printer, they aren’t looking at the text within a file…they’re just printing it. Unless they happen to glance at it. But printers are often printing multiple projects at a time on huge machines (or presses). What they look for is color, registration, or obvious image issues. Generally speaking.

That being said, there are big and small printers all over the world with different equipment, teams, abilities and timelines. Just talk with your printer and ask! Better to ask than assume.

As a designer I make it clear when a proof is sent that they are responsible to proof it in its entirety, text included. They give final approval. It’s never been an issue. As long as it’s clear upfront.

I will even go as far as to give mini-instructions on how to proof a project. (i.e. never rush, read more than once, have someone else on your team review it as well, never rush, look at it again the next day with fresh eyes, never rush…) You get my point.

How to Avoid Spelling Errors

Here are my top three ways to avoid spelling errors.

  1. Never rush proofing anything. Ever. Slow down and give it your full attention. Review, make notes, then put it down for the day and put fresh eyes on it first thing in the morning. You will be amazed at what you didn’t catch the day before.
  2. Text should have already been proofed before it is sent to a designer. Doing this will save a lot of headaches. Any errors found once it’s in the layout stage might be small and not cause a huge change in design. Don’t do big text proofing once it’s in layout. It will cost you more in the long run too.
  3. Have a check system in place with more than one pair of eyes proofing text. Don’t move the project forward until specific parties have given their stamp of approval.

Now you can run like a well-oiled machine. Do you feel more prepared when it comes to proofing?

There are a couple of sites I highly recommend to check your text for copy editing before you send it to your designer. They are Grammarly and Hemingway App. I recommend using them together since they complement one another (and both have free levels!).

Grammarly is great for checking grammar, spelling, and even plagiarism while Hemingway shines when it comes to your writing (tenses, adverbs, passive/active voice etc) and can even advise you to rewrite wordy sentences. Both are very helpful tools.

I hope this helps. Proofing for your business might vary. But having a system in place (even if it’s just you) will seriously cut down on issues.

I’d love to hear what points stood out to you most or if you are interested in more information on this topic. I could go all day! Let me know.