Why are 99.5% of all proofing errors are spotted AFTER printing …

Campaigning for any election is a bloody hard job.

Late nights, early mornings, and all day out on the stump.

Harangued by unfriendly voters and snappy dogs, and there’s always a dribbling baby or two for an unenviable photo op.

Yup, it’s hard graft all right but with the tantalising prospect of winning a seat and delivering on your promises to the voters.

Imagine if you’d endured all the trials and tribulations the election trail could throw at you only to find that your name had got missed off the ballot paper.

You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t a tad angry.

And that’s exactly what happened to Michelle Brown last Thursday following her campaign to become a Member of the Senedd in Wales.

How the omission occurred is still unclear, but the blame certificates have been flying around like confetti in a Force 9 gale.

Only there’s nothing amusing in this little tale.

But there is a lesson to be learned which is that …

More proofing errors are spotted AFTER printing than before.

Just for the record, proofing errors shouldn’t happen.

But they do and some are more catastrophic than others.

The one which affected Michelle Brown has got to have double Olympic gold stamped all over it.

Let’s be clear, it wasn’t the candidate who was responsible for checking the ballot paper proof, that would have been taken care of further down the food chain.

The big takeaway for us in all this is?


If you’re ever put in the proofing hot seat here are a few golden rules:

  1. Always double-check things like phone numbers, email addresses, website URLs and postcodes. Twice. And read them out aloud as you check them.
  2. Even better, call the number, send an email and see if you get an answer.
  3. Check names, titles, and prices if there are any.
  4. Never check your own work. It’s best if done with a fresh pair of eyes.
  5. Avoid checking proofs on screen if you can.
  6. Never, ever check anything if you are in a rush.


Forensic proof checking is a skill so if you have an eagle-eyed colleague who can spot an aberrant apostrophe at 100 paces then grab them with both hands and don’t let go until the job is done.

Food for thought, perhaps, this week?

But for now, …

If you want a sounding board or just want to bend my ear, I’m on hand for a chat about anything to do with Print or Web Design.

Stay safe.