Proofreading: Tools for Working Efficiently with Your Graphic Designer

October 13, 2009 | Design Basics

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proofreadEditing and correcting text is part of nearly every job that we do here at Visible Logic. Even on a web site design project that includes a Content Management System there is still text that is set by us, and then reviewed and edited by our clients. With print projects such as interior book layouts, print advertisements or brochures typographic edits can be extensive.

The purpose of this post is to help make this process go as smoothly and quickly as possible, whether you’re working with Visible Logic, or with any designer.

The process

The general working process we follow is to: receive content from the client; typeset the words into the layout; send the proof to the client for review; receive edits; make the corrections. The more clearly we receive the edits back from the client, the more smoothly and quickly the project completes.

Here are some tips to help with the proofreading / correction process.

  • Use traditional proofreading marks. There are a lot of ways you could mark something that has to be changed, but using the standard proofreading marks means we are all speaking the same language. There is a better chance the correction will be done properly the first time. Here is a link to a good resource for these marks.
  • Provide a hard copy. Hard copy, if you don’t know, means a printed and marked up piece of paper. This means don’t describe the changes in an email, or try to handle edits over the phone. While those methods work for small changes, it is not not an efficient system for large amounts of corrections. Plan to either ship the marked up copies or fax them.
  • Make proofreading marks noticeable. If possible, mark your corrections with red or blue ink so they are quickly viewed. If you are faxing the hard copies this is not necessary (as the color will not come through), so make sure you’ve indicated any edits in the margins so they can be easily found.
  • Keep a copy for yourself. Never send your only marked up copy back to the designer. First of all, if it gets lost in transit you’ll have to redo all your work. But a more frequent problem is that we may need to contact you to get clarification on a correction. If you can reference the same page and correction we’re looking at we can quickly resolve any questions.
  • Search and replace when necessary. If you’re making a universal change, notify the designer so that we may do a search and replace for the word or phrase. Sometimes, as I’m making corrections, it’s obvious that the client has made a decision on how to spell, format or punctuate something. Often it’s a word or phrase that has been treated inconsistently within the document. To ensure that you catch every instance, ask us to search for all the current formats of the text in question.

Following these guidelines will help your design projects complete smoothly. And keep in mind that the cleaner the files are when they come to us (ie the text is finalized, edited and already proofread) the easier it will be to do final proofreading and corrections.

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