As a consumer it’s easy to assume that high profile brands, knowing the importance of a clear marketing voice, have a meticulous process when it comes to producing anything wordy – product descriptions, posters, signs, you name it.
And then I saw this LinkedIn post.
Admittedly, this product description for Vegan (Fish?) Fingers is not technically wrong. There are no obvious grammar or spelling slip ups here. Those involved in the approval process might have assumed that the final hilarious sentence was 100% supposed to be there – and as a result, we might assume they’re lacking editorial hats.
Point being, human error is a pain – but that’s what editorial input is for (in the initial copywriting stage and beyond). Displaying a solid understanding of grammar and spelling is fundamental to any brand’s reputation, be it on a website, printed matter or point of sale materials. If you need convincing, just keep reading.
So, what are the most common editorial mistakes brands can make?
Maybe they were going for irony? Judging by the fact this T-shirt was pulled from the website, probably not. Who knows how many they printed before someone pointed out the glaring misquote… probably enough to lose money. Proofreading’s not only essential for a brand’s image: it’s good for business.
Why is editorial input important? Because it saves you the trouble of looking like you don’t check your copy, and also prevents the meaning of your message from being damaged.
Don’t make the mistake of relying on spell check. A computer can’t understand the content you’re trying to deliver.
And so follows cases of ‘it’s a real word, just not the right word’:
Don’t underestimate the power of readability, or let your brand (and customers!) down with shoddy copy.
Good editorial even goes beyond this: it’s not just about those details. Inconsistencies and incorrect references can go unchecked, especially by those not trained to spot them.
Here are some blunders we’ve personally spotted, thanks to our eagle-eyed editors, hover over the image to reveal the error: WHERE’S LOUIS?IMAGE ADJUSTMENTS CAN AFFECT COPY IN A NUMBER OF WAYS. HERE, A CROP HAS CUT LOUIS CHEVROLET FROM ‘THE BACKGROUND OF THIS PHOTO’. I’D SAY A GLIMPSE OF HIS WHITE SLEEVE PROBABLY ISN’T ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY THAT EXTRA SENTENCE… (SOURCE: AMERICAN CARS, PASA)LAST TRAIN TO…SPELLING AND GRAMMAR MISTAKES AREN’T THE ONLY THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN CAPTIONS. COPY AND IMAGERY SHOULD WORK TOGETHER. THE CAPTION REFERS TO LOCOMOTIVE NUMBER 69023, HOWEVER THE IMAGE IS CLEARLY LOCOMOTIVE 68682. (SOURCE: BRITISH STEAM RAILWAYS, DEAGOSTINI)VIOLIN AND GLASS, BY GRISTHIS IMAGE BY ARTIST JUAN GRIS WAS PUBLISHED IN AN ITALIAN BOOK WHICH WE ADAPTED FOR THE UK, THERE SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE GLASS THOUGH …SEE THE NEXT IMAGEWRONG-WAY UP!RESEARCH AND FACT-CHECKING ARE KEY – IT’S HOW WE DISCOVERED THAT THIS IMAGE OF GRIS’ ‘VIOLIN AND GLASS’ IS… UPSIDE DOWN. WHOOPS.
Finally – and as ridiculous as it sounds – without dedicated editorial checks, you can even misspell famous names as Diadora clothing company did for Crystal Palace FC.
A lot of these mistakes can make us laugh, probably because they seem so easily avoidable. But plenty of talented folks can overlook editorial mistakes based on the confidence that they’ve been checked already. Never assume that because something’s far along in production that the copy is foolproof.