how to keep proofreading legit


In honor of National Grammar Day on March 4 and National Proofreading Day on March 8, we're offering up some proofreading tips. So, break out the red pen, and let's go wild!


oops in, oops out

All packaging elements, from text to images, are only as accurate as their sources. Not having correct, up-to-date, and consistent source information to proof against is a recipe for disaster. (Unless, of course, you have a savvy proofreader who is as familiar with a client’s product as the client itself.)


start with a good base

Client style sheets, especially boilerplate information that rarely changes, is great proofreading fuel. I recommend keeping the style sheet fluid to allow for updates and new information as the product and brand grows, changes, and SKUs expand.


don't skip the last-minute minutia Last-minute additions that skip the proofreading process can turn a no-no into an oh-no. Famous last words: “Oh, I only added the UPC code." Well, did someone check that the UPC number is correct? There are a million places that this can go wrong – from the client's email to the designer's layout.


use your tools It doesn't hurt to do a double-check yourself. Run your packaging through a spell check in InDesign or Illustrator. Or if you have a QR code, test it with your phone. A quick check can save you a headache later.


it’s not my job, man Be clear on who should be checking what. Are designers, illustrators, and retouchers given the opportunity to check images for accuracy and quality? Does the client have a legal or regulatory department to check for government requirements, or do they expect the design firm to do it? Does the proofreader have the liberty to suggest a copy rewrite of the client romance copy to correct for grammar and flow? Sometimes, it takes a village.

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