Details, Details: Proper Typography and Punctuation Create a Professional Appearance

April 8, 2011 | Branding, Design Basics

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I was walking home, through Portland, Maine, the other day when I saw a truck parked on the street with this slogan painted on the side.

Slogan printed on the side of a truck with incorrect punctuation.

When I think of the word integrity I think about: honesty, adhering to ethical principles, being whole, etc. It’s not too far fetched to say that the entire slogan suggests the person in the truck cares and is going to take the time and effort to do the job right. He or she (or the company) is going to pay attention to details that matter.

Unfortunately they don’t know proper punctuation. Seeing that incorrect closing quotation mark (it’s an opening rather than closing mark) just made me squirm and smirk. Read this post if you want more information on how to properly typeset dashes and quotation marks.

It’s easy to write something off like this by saying, “you’re a designer and no one else cares.” But that is not true. This is an extremely visible representation of this company’s brand and it shows that they either don’t know or don’t care about looking their best. Whether they did the typesetting and detailing themselves or hired someone to do it, it looks amateur.

This is comparable to other details that can be easy to overlook, but should demand your attention:

  • Typos and spelling errors on your web site
  • Grammar mistakes in your printed marketing materials
  • Poorly fitted clothing or spinach in your teeth at a networking event

Not everyone will catch every small oversight like these. But many people do and it ruins your first impression.

3 comments

  1. Mike Maddaloni - @thehotiron | April 9, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Hi Emily – What would have been interesting is if you had just posted the picture and asked people what was wrong with it. My guess is people would have said nothing.

    mp/m

  2. Emily Brackett | April 12, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hmmm. That seems a bit like telling people it doesn’t matter. Just because several people don’t notice a typo on your resume, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. It may be the one key person you’re trying to impress that notices it, and writes you off. While typographic detail is not as well-know as spelling, I think a lot of people would recognize there seemed to be something wrong with that closed quote mark.

  3. Michael Anderson | September 27, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Awfully insightful thank you, I do think your trusty visitors would possibly want considerably more blog posts similar to this carry on the great content.

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