Reputation and brand can be seriously affected then your campaign suffer as a result, if a proof is signed off with errors. You’ve spent hours planning and designing copy and layout for its effect to then be reduced through a missed typo! Probably the most important stage of the approval process is when you are sent a proof from your printer to check and sign off.
Our top 7 tips to follow when checking a proof:
1.Check the spelling AGAIN.
Of course you should use a computerised spell check, but you should also make sure that all names, spelling and punctuation are correct without totally relying on technology. Check these yourself then ask someone else to double check it. Don’t give the other person your copy with your notes on it. Leave it overnight (if the deadline allows) fresh eyes!
2. Read the copy backwards from right to left – sounds weird right?
It may do but try it – if you wrote a lot of the copy yourself, then your mind will ‘fill in’ the text for you. Reading the sentences and words backwards as you proof slows the process down and errors do spring out!
3. Check the contact details.
Are all telephone numbers, emails and websites correct? Have you called them, emailed them and clicked on the links? Never assume they are correct! Auto correction or predictive text tools should be switched off or avoided to prevent potential embarrassing ‘switched’ words.
4. Print the proof out and think about
Proofing on screen is the first step but a final print out on paper allows a different perspective. Don’t assume that the colours you see on screen are 100% accurate because they won’t be – screen settings differ. Software settings should be checked too. For complete confidence, request a proof on the material on which the item will be printed so you can visualise perfectly the final version.
5. It’s not just the layout and spelling.
You need to know if the message is understood so check it with someone in your target market or an independent not in your line of business – do they understand its message? Ideally, you should have done this at the concept stage, but it’s never too late, run it by them now. The cost of amending copy is minimal when compared with poor market impact and reduced ROI.
6. Change management and version
Verbal requests or verbal approval are to be avoided at all costs. “Just change that word and go straight to print” may be words that you regret. Trust in your print supplier should be reflected in their professionalism to ensure that the risk of error is removed. Any printer worth their salt would politely refuse a verbal approval. Have any changes, however minor, re-proofed and approved and ideally through an online, version controlled, approval pipeline that records and date stamps change for complete transparency for all concerned.
7. Never rush your approval
Without doubt time will always be your enemy, as deadlines creep up and the pressure mounts. There are many proverbs that could be quoted here to describe how to go about checking a proof, but the key is to be focussed and not open to distraction. Find a quiet spot grab a coffee and take your time.
Oh, and one last thing, don’t forget run it passed your boss too….