I've been thinking a lot about proofing lately. It's something that comes up often. As a graphic designer, and as a blogger, my work is always under the scrutiny of others. Whether it's design critics, superiors, or my own proofreaders, everyone seems to look over my work. Never the less, things get missed. Are you a designer, writer, or blogger? Here are a few ideas that have come up over the years to help keep my work free of errors. Proofreading
- Always have others proof your work. It's hard to proofread your own work.
- Never put all your trust into the proofreading ability of others. In the end, responsibility falls on you.
- Always proofread from a printed copy. I don't know why, but it works better.
- Set it aside and come back later. Looking too close blinds you to your own errors.
- Check the design in black and white. If it doesn't work in black and white it doesn't work in color.
- Look at the design in it's final context. if it's going to be 4" x 6", proof it at that size. Large monitors can cloud your judgment about the size of your work
- Set the printed piece on a table and step back until it's unreadable. Does the design still work? It should.
- Turn it upside down. A good layout will still be interesting upside down, and a bad layout will look horrible.
- Start at the bottom, and work up. Have a coding problem you can't find? Putting the code out of context like this lets you see it with fresh eyes.
Grammar Girl's have some good suggestions for proofing your writing. You'll notice a few are familiar. Here are the key points, but you need to go read the whole thing
1) Read your work backwards**, starting with the last sentence and working your way in reverse order to the beginning.
Despite checking my HTML code backwards, reading the design copy backwards had never occurred to me, I'll be trying this one.
2) Read your work out loud.
I'd never heard the read out loud suggestion before, but I'll be trying this one too.
3) Always proofread a printed version of your work.
I never miss this one.
4) Give yourself some time.
Difficult to do sometimes, but always a good idea. The important thing to take away here, is to proof, and then do it again. Find out what works for you and stick to it. Careful proofing will improve the quality of your work, and you won't be the only one who notices.