Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Your Printer or Designer for Proofing Expertise
One of my past work experiences included working at a print shop. They had in-house graphic designers, and they worked on anything from basic black and white photo copies to full color, glossy posters and booklets.
On occasion, one of my tasks was to typeset a client’s text. Basically, I would type the words into QuarkXpress (a software program used by designers) and the graphic designer would take the text and combine it with the graphics (don’t ask me how they did that!).
I soon came to discover what our job as the print shop entailed. And it had nothing to do with proofreading our client’s work. Proofing expertise was not the print shop's responsibility.
Being a writer with a keen eye for language detail, I pointed out an error in the text the client had provided. My boss told me not to worry about it and that it was our job to use the material the client provided.
My natural instinct was to make the correction, or at least inform the client, but that wasn’t part of my job. Proofing the final document and catching mistakes was the client’s job.
Most people aren’t aware of this.
They also don’t realize that most print shops don’t specialize in language or proofreading. They can do an awesome job at creating designs and printing documents and materials, but they don’t necessarily possess the proofreading skills to catch embarrassing writing mistakes. It’s up to us, the customers, to catch the mistakes during the final proof.
Another piece of information I bet you aren’t aware of is that sometimes errors occur during the preprint phase. This is the phase where your text or logo is typically recreated inside the designer’s software programs. To get the best image quality, designers will recreate your logo or type your text using their design software. It’s great for the image quality, not always so great for your text.
That’s why it’s important that you proof the document before it goes to print. And proof it good!
This actually happened with a company I worked for. The business development director sent the company logo, which was correct, to the promotional products agency. The mistake (a missing "r" in the word "services") wasn’t caught until about a week after one thousand new hats arrived.
Fortunately, the agency sent new hats with the corrected logo.
So, the moral of the story is to proof your materials before they go to print. Don’t rely on your print shop or graphic designer for proofing expertise. You might find yourself forking over more dollars to correct mistakes you didn't even make.
Has this ever happened to you? I'd love to hear your comments!