There is nothing that frustrates me more than a beautiful piece of design work or well written copy with a spelling mistake or grammatical error staring right out at you. Once you’ve noticed it nothing else seems to matter. The worst part of all it is so easy to avoid yet can tarnish your work immensely.
I was reading through a beautifully designed and well produced product catalogue for one of the world’s leading beverage brands just the other day. I was admiring the clever design techniques and well designed layout when blaring out from the page was a spelling mistake. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. The mistake in question was the word Blackcurrant. Instead it had been spelt ‘Blackcurrent’. At first I thought surely one of the largest companies in the world couldn’t have made such an error. Maybe it was a play on words – perhaps this was the most current black flavoured juice, but after reading further I realised it was just that, a mistake.
Another large company I dealt with in Canada required every participant using their mountain bike park to sign a waiver of liability before they were allowed in the park. They had gone to the expense of hiring a law firm to help script the copy to avoid legal implications in the future but unfortunately it seems, they didn’t go to the trouble of getting someone to proof read it before getting tens of thousands of copies printed. Whilst scanning over this waiver quickly before signing, I noticed that it asked participants to make sure their ‘breaks’ were in working order. Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn’t that be ‘brakes’? Although a minor mistake it got me thinking that if they had skimped on getting someone to proof read such an important document maybe they had skimped in other areas of their organisation, had someone missed a minor detail when fixing a lift for instance?
It isn’t just the large companies that make these errors. I have recently seen ‘aples’ for sale on the way to Bunbury and halfway to Walpole you can get yourself a ‘pumkin’. These mistakes are unnecessary and they do reflect badly on your business.
Websites in particular seem to be forgotten most when it comes to spelling. For some reason if it’s ‘just going on the web’ it doesn’t seem to warrant a second look. I have encountered numerous websites with careless errors and poorly written copy and they stick out in your mind for all the wrong reasons.
At Jack in the box we always get someone else to proof read our work before it is sent out of the building. We encourage our clients to thoroughly read through all written material before it goes on the press or gets uploaded to the web. We realise it can be easy to overlook a simple mistake when you are absorbed in your work so we let someone with fresh eyes take a look. Most desktop publishing programs have built in spell checks, so even if there is no one else around to proof read your work there really is no excuse. Whenever you are writing something for the public eye please take a second look so you don’t get remembered for the wrong reasons.