Why You Should ALWAYS Check the Details … Again!

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.


  • Matt Hill

    November 18, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Excellent! This is what you call adding value — imagine the trust you garner by finding things like this that the client has missed.

    That’s worth more than money and makes you a valuable provider. Keep it up 🙂

  • Tracey Grady

    November 18, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Thanks, Matt. If it gives the client another reason to be happy to work with you, then that’s a bonus.

  • Jen Marsik Friess

    November 18, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Great catch! I was on the other side: Six people, including the client and me, signed off on a brochure proof with a word repeated in the title. It’s crazy that things like that can slide through, but there you go. Take GREAT PAINS in checking everything. I can’t put that in large enough letters!

  • Rachel

    November 18, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I think this really adds value to the service you provide and your clients will always be grateful and return.

    I’ve heard some printers say they don’t point out mistakes because they can make more money out of the reprint.

  • DailyThomas

    November 20, 2009 at 4:23 am

    I once received 1000 businesscards from the printer with a wrong number on it. My mistake, and I didn’t ask the client for final permission. Although they had seen the design a couple a times they hadn’t seen the wrong number either.

    That’s why I always send a final version to the client for approval BEFORE I send anything to the printer. Only with their permission I send it to the printer.
    .-= DailyThomas Webdesign Blog´s last blog ..Day 1: Here we go! =-.

  • Tracey Grady

    November 20, 2009 at 6:36 am

    You summed it up – take great pains in checking everything. When I was studying design, one of my teachers suggested we read blocks of text out loud, including the punctuation, to check for errors. Sometimes our brains will see only what they want, or expect to.

    Printers like that make the honest ones look that much better: if a printer phoned me to point out what they believed was an error, I would put them on the top of my list for future work.

    You’re quite right: the final approval must come from the client as they are the one paying the printing bill. It’s also valuable to include a short note asking (or reminding) them to check the content over again for any errors; they may end up thanking you for doing so.

  • SiteOne

    November 27, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Thank god I dont work in print. At least with a website there’s no ink to dry!

  • Lucinda – Eightyone Design

    December 3, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Great example of why designers should double check details again and again. I can’t believe the client changed their website and email without telling you?!

    As I mentioned designers do need to double check every aspect of their work, equally the client needs to do the same. It’s a collaboration in the end of the day and the client need to do their part too.

    We create a final pdf and ensure this gets signed off by the client before it goes to print so any copy mistakes are down to them.

  • Rob Cubbon

    April 18, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Excellent. It’s always good to check your client’s text anyway. Although I can’t ever remember having to correct a client’s url and email address. But nothing surprises me!
    .-= Rob Cubbon´s last blog ..My first free e-book on self-marketing completed =-.


    October 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Same thing happened to us, we double checked a project (wedding invites) and the bride also checked ‘twice’ and didn’t even realize her phone numbers for the RSVP were the wrong ones till we were done all the printing and just getting the invites ensemble. Her mom is the one that saw the error. At that point we had to cleaned the numbers and rewrite it with actual art pens. That was a painful long night.

  • Vikash Kumar

    April 11, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Hey it was a nice post, re-check is very important to avoid any penalty.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *