Have you seen this image doing the rounds on social media lately? It’s any advertising agency’s nightmare!

image-4

Did you spot the last line? This Waitrose sign advertising fish fingers does an excellent job of highlighting its vegan credentials, but a lack of proofreading has allowed a copywriter’s notes to sneak through to print. Such a mistake will have been a complete accident but it demonstrates just how important it is to double check all copy before sending off the final artwork. Once printed, there’s no going back!

Spelling and grammar mistakes online can be more easily rectified, but you should still ensure that you’re presenting your brand in the best light possible.

 

Our Top Proofreading Tips

At Ultimate, we work with highly skilled people to create high quality materials, it’s a group effort to ensure that what we send to clients is the best that it possibly can be, not just visually, but grammatically. Here are some top tips to make sure you are a proofreading master!

 

Don’t Rely On Technology

Spell checkers on word processing programmes are great, but you could still miss an error when writing emails. Online tools such as Grammarly can really help you spot such errors. 

However, don’t just rely on these online tools as they don’t always get it 100% right. For example, whilst they can check for grammar or spelling mistakes, such tools cannot determine whether or not the sentence actually makes sense. A key part of editing and proofreading involves making sure your work isn’t full of ‘waffle’. Take time to review what you are writing and see if sentences could be more concise and to the point. The ‘waffle’ could be holding the work back and putting off readers. 

Keep in mind this illuminating quote from French philosopher Blaise Pascal, dating back to the 17th century and discussing a letter to a peer: ‘I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.’ 

If you’re still not confident, ask for another pair of eyes to check. Taking some time away from your work can really help you to see any errors more clearly the second time aroun

 

Proofread A Hard Copy

Check your work on a screen, then print it off and check it again on paper (whilst being mindful of the environment!). Seeing your work on another format can help you spot more mistakes. As you read, use a pencil to point to every single word, you can even get another piece of paper to view your work one line at a time. This helps to see your work in parts and not as a whole document. Another quirky tip is to read the work backwards. We can get so automated with reading, we miss the the simple errors (did you spot it?). Names and numbers are common to easily mess up, so quadruple check such important information as you don’t want to get a client’s name incorrect.

20190711_111201

It Pays To Double Check

Allow me to finish this blog with a story. I recently received a very fancy surprise from a recruitment agency. It was wrapped very professionally and inside was a box of homemade brownies made in a farmhouse in South Wales. This was a very special gift that was clearly intended to send a strong message about how much they are willing to spend to grab my attention. With the brownies came a note from the recruitment agency which read: ‘Would you like to have an better way of recruitment, please contact me.

Doh! All that effort, time and money spent on a gift to get your foot in the door, potentially wasted all because of one missing character.

To summarise, check your work thoroughly before you send it out to clients as a tiny mistake could spell catastrofe (one last test for you!). Also, Gower Cottage Brownies are the best brownies I have ever had! Mmmhmmm, chocolate!

 

Written by Josh Ellis July of 2019