I was working on a billboard at a past job. Real basic stuff. The copy had been provided to me, same with the graphic, and the client knew pretty much exactly how they wanted it set up. I was more putting together a very simple puzzle than creating the picture. It went back and forth between myself, another designer, and the client until we finally hit the print button.
And it was after that, when it was printed and in the process of being installed, that someone pointed out there was a typo. At which point our office manager asked, "How did we not catch that?"
Well, it's because there is a point when designing — when colors are picked, images placed, and text plugged in — where we're looking at the piece as a whole and no longer the individual assets. It's at this stage of the process where words often just become shapes to our design eyes. We're no longer looking at the individual letters that make up a single word, we're just looking at the large block of text that word lives in.
A headline might become a long skinny rectangle. Two or three columns of text are just that; tall rectangular columns.
It's hard to describe but it is (ironically) kind of similar to when you stare at a word so long that your brain thinks it now looks misspelled. It’s a flip switching in your brain — allowing you to view things in a different way.
When we’re looking at our pieces as shapes, we are checking to see how our rectangle aligns with the other rectangle on the page, or how does it look next to this round graphic? Or, if I want the viewer's attention to go here first, maybe I should move my rectangle over here…
We do our best to catch the typos that sneak into a piece, but we're human and make mistakes, and when we start seeing text as shapes it is hard to go back to looking at the individual words and letters.
That’s why at Redhead we rely on our teammates — writers, account service, developers — to double-check us; because when multiple people review a piece from multiple perspectives, the piece is better for it. Knowing I have them gives me the confidence I need to focus on my rectangles. Thanks, team. ♥️