Sometimes there’s nothing between you and your client, which means proofing’s on you, baby! And if you’re files aren’t up to snuff, you could blow it big time. Proofing, however, involves so much more than just dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s – it’s all about streamlining your process and covering your butt:
Organize it. Now.
As creatives, a lot of us are big believers in organized chaos – that whole it-may-look-like-a-mess-to-you-but-I-know-where-everything-is philosophy. While this might work for your sock drawer, it doesn’t translate so well to your job. So figure out a legitimate system for organizing your work to help you – and anyone else you work with – find the files you need quickly. And while you’re at it, consider the way you name your files too. Think about including dates in your file names – so clients can easily tell if they’ve got the latest version – and try avoiding industry abbreviations that others might not understand.
Read it. Again.
You’ve read it through, and you can do it again. And then maybe once more after that, just for good measure! The hard truth is that if you’re a one-man shop, or work for a smaller company, you may not have the luxury of an on-site grammar Nazi to help you proof your punctuation. This leaves the task to you, and if that means breaking out your copy of “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynn Truss, then so be it. Remember: your stellar designs mean very little if there’s a big grammarical error (see what we did there?) staring you in the face.
Send it. All.
A main event, followed by a series of aftershock additions, is a good way for things to get lost. So try to limit fragmentation when sending your design work. If you’ve got linked files with your main design, remember to always imbed them or package them all up for client convenience. It’s also good practice to convert your texts to outlines, or send the fonts files themselves, if necessary. These are all simple steps, but they can make all the difference.
“Webitize” it. Always.
Speaking of sending things to clients, you’ll want to make sure that they can actually get the stuff you send them. You don’t want to break the Internet with massive files, so be sure to save everything for web when you’re all done. Sometimes, however, big files are necessary. And in those rare cases where Dropbox drops the ball, try to work some magic and trim the fat. Often, you’ll find that you can reduce file size considerably, without affecting naked-eye quality.
Proofing your self and your practices can be a lot of work, but it definitely helps things run a lot smoother! What types of things do you do before clicking “send” ?