10 Reminders for Proofing Documents and Promotional Materials
Are you about to print business cards, a report or send an advertisement to the newspaper? Before sending your document out, make sure to review it throughly, use a “spell check” tool if possible and get a second set of eyes to review it. I recommend working with a professional editor or copywriter. Here are some tips that can help you ensure your work is accurate:
- Check all the contact information. Try the web URL and call the phone number you’ve provided. Make sure all addresses are current. I once heard about someone who mistakenly used .ca instead of .com in an advertisement and had to buy the .ca website and make the URL forward in a hurry.
- Check all the dates. In January of a new year, it’s easy to have the previous year listed by accident or forget to update the day of the week or date from an old document. Make sure all dates listed, including expiry dates, are accurate.
- Do the Math. You don’t want to accidentally give someone 50% off when you meant 5% off, but I’ve seen similar things happen. Check all your special offers and any percentages you have listed.
- Read the Fine Print… And the Headline! Surprisingly, people are typically so focused on the body of the document that something as obvious as a headline can go un-reviewed. Also, make sure you review fine print and captions.
- Do an Inventory. Do you have all the document elements? It’s easy to miss one when you are multi-tasking. Compare your document to another one to make sure you have all the pieces, such as a call-to-action, company logo / branding, contact information, legal disclaimers / fine print (if required) and so on.
- Check the Size and Format: You and any others who put together the document must be aware of how it’s being produced – the size, page orientation (horizontal or vertical), imposition (single- or double-sided), printing method (colour or black and white) and the file format needed to take it to the next steps.
- Get Approval. Make sure you have permission from everyone who needs to approve the document, or give permission to finalize the document. If there is a disagreement, you risk having to revise and reprint your document.
- Consider Your Images: If you have original photographs in your publication, make sure that any people in the photos have consented to having their likeness published. Avoid pulling images from the internet without authorization from the owner or copyright holder, as it’s generally considered copyright infringement. If necessary, remove images you don’t know the source of, and replace with purchased original or stock photography.
- Do a Test Print at Actual Size: Whenever possible, review your document at actual size. If you are printing from Adobe Acrobat, turn off “page scaling” or set page scaling to “none”. Or if you are sending something to a printer, ask them to produce a hard copy proof you can review. This way, you can make sure your text is readable.
- Check the Spelling of People’s Names. Make sure you have people’s names spelled correctly and their current / preferred titles. This is a great way to keep friends…