Designers can be a finicky bunch. We can spend hours poring over Pantone colour books or font catalogues to get the right look for our work. A lot of us still put in the time to make sure a website looks the way it was intended even in legacy versions of Internet Explorer.
All that striving for perfection can drive a person nuts. For the last couple of years I’ve had a scrap of paper pinned up at my work station, with the following quote from John Updike: “Perfectionism is the enemy of creation.” I need to be regularly reminded of this point.
All the same, I’m going to share an experience which illustrates why it really pays to be thorough, especially when you’re dealing with a project that someone else (your client) will be spending a lot of money on.
Recently I was putting the finishing touches on a brochure design. The clients had spent a lot of time and resources on the brochure’s wording and photographs. I was at the point of preparing the final PDF file to send to the printer, when I loaded the client’s website to look up something. Amazingly, what appeared was the message “This website has moved. The new address is http://…”.
My clients had changed their web address, sometime in the previous week (in fact their parent organisation had done this as part of moving to a new web platform). When I visited the new site address, I found that their main email address had also changed. These were important contact details which were included in the new brochure I had just finished designing. If I hadn’t gone to the website by chance, the wrong information would have been sent to the printer.
My clients had gone through several stages of proofreading their content, and yet the change in web address still got past them, possibly because it had taken place so recently. It demonstrates that overlooking a detail like this is very, very easy to do. It’s something that clients and designers alike have to face all the time in design projects.
On any design project, make doubly sure that you have all your ducks lined up in a row (yes, that explains the photo I’ve chosen for this post) even when you’re confident all of the details are solid. I had no reason to think my clients’ web address would change. And while an oversight like this may not be the designer’s fault, imagine how much better you’re going to look and feel if you do pinpoint an error before it goes to the printer.