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How to Edit Your Own Flyers and Business Cards

Posted on: September 18th, 2012 by eliteflyers.com No Comments

We run a printing company, so every month we receive hundreds of business card and flyer designs that range from outrageous to extremely conservative. But whether your design includes a flaming skull holograph or a clean white background with a Times New Roman font, one element of all print projects is universally important: Correctness.

That means correct grammar, style, and spelling. We can’t tell you how many designs we get where the client has paid the utmost attention to detail on the graphic design of the card, but neglected to clean up the text. We don’t need to explain to you how much this carelessness diminishes credibility with potential customers. We even know a grammar snob “to whom” proper English is so important, she refuses to read on once she’s found more than a single error in any block of text.

So basically, if you send your project to us without editing it, you may well be wasting your money on error-ridden materials that people will not take seriously.

Even if your print project doesn’t contain much text, you should read through this checklist before sending it off to the printer. You may be surprised how many mistakes can fit onto even a three by five-inch business card!

  1. Check for redundancy

Redundancy is unnecessary repetition. Sometimes on an ad, you’re striving for repetition. Other times, it’s an obvious mistake. For example, if you make a flyer to advertise a party, don’t write: “Starts at 11 p.m. Friday night.” Why not? Because “p.m.” means nighttime, right? So to say both “p.m.” and “night” to describe the time of the party, you are being redundant – like saying “11 at night at night.” Some people will notice that. Others may not but will still feel that it sounds awkward.

Other examples of redundancy might be: “Your first drink is complimentary and completely free of charge.” Since “complimentary” means “free of charge,” you should not say both.

Or “If we all cooperate together, we can make a difference.” Since “cooperate” means “work together,” you are basically saying, “If we all work together together…” So just use cooperate instead.

  1. Use spell checkcheck your spelling

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not. Much design software doesn’t allow you to spell check the way you would in Microsoft Word. So a lot of people simply skip the step altogether when they’re creating flyers and business cards. This is a bad idea. Cut and paste all the text from your design into a word processor if that’s what it takes, or see if your design software offers a spell check option.

  1. Do another spell check – for homophone errors

Many mistakes might not show up in spell check because you’re using words that are spelled correctly, but that have a different meaning from what you’re going for. Words pairs that sound alike but that are spelled differently are called homophones. It’s common to confuse “your and you’re,” for example, or “there, they’re, and their.” Check for these, and if you’re not sure, do a Google search on when using each is appropriate. Other potential mix-ups include “whose” and “who’s,” “break” and “brake,” “fair” and “fare,” “bare” and “bear,” among about 450 others.

  1. Check for consistency

This one takes a little bit of attention span and attention to detail, so take a deep breath and pop an Adderall if necessary.

Professional marketing materials may play with capitalization or even punctuation, but if they do, they keep their play consistent. What we mean is that if a company decides to use lowercase letters in its name and slogans, it will do so universally. It will not sometimes capitalize its name, and then go back to lowercase, and on and on.

You should do the same in your marketing materials. Let’s say you’re making a flyer for a rock climbing gym, and you have a bulleted list on it, like this:

  • Please bring or wear socks to the gym.
  • Protein bars available at the front desk for low prices
  • Cubby holes locBusiness cardsated on-site if you want to stash your stuff.
  • First-timers, please show up early for instruction

This text is INCONSISTENT and looks amateur. The first line is capitalized and ends with a period. The second has no punctuation. The third starts lowercase. And the last lacks punctuation. To clean it up, you would choose one style and stick with it – for example, you would make all lines start uppercase and end with a period.

This same thing applies to business cards. Your card should not look like this:

Phone: (555) 555-5555

Fax – 666.666.6666

e-mail: John.Doe@gmail.com

Do you see the indecisive style there? Colons, dashes, parentheses in phone numbers, and then periods in phone numbers, uppercase and then lowercase to start each line… again, just choose one style, and your problems will be solved.

Whatever capitalization and punctuation style you choose to use on your card or flyer, keep it consistent throughout the entire piece, and for branding purposes, across all other marketing materials as well.

  1. Have a friend or co-worker edit your work

Offer to buy your friend lunch if he or she will proofread and edit your design project. You may be pretty good at editing, but oftentimes we don’t see mistakes in our own work as clearly as other people do.

Another good strategy is to put your project down, go do something else for a few hours, and then come back to look at your project again. You will now have a pair of eyes that is “fresher,” and may be more capable of finding mistakes in the work.

There’s much more to learn about editing, but these are a few tips to help if you’re not ready to hire a copy editor or writer for your flyers. Check back soon for even more tips on how to self-edit your print projects before sending them off to the printer.

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