In Dog We Trust: A Lesson in Proofing Your Marketing Visuals

When you spend time choosing exactly the right visuals to welcome customers to your business, or visitors to your event booth, you definitely want to get noticed. But there is such thing as getting noticed for the wrong reasons! A recent news story caught our attention for just this reason. You probably saw it – but if not, here’s a quick run down.

typo carpet

A county sheriff’s office in Florida ordered custom carpets for their space, prominently displaying the logo of the office. Not a bad idea, really – custom carpets are a great way to welcome people and identify yourself at the same time. But you do have to make sure that you’re welcoming them in the right way. The carpets that ended up at this Sheriff’s Office had a major issue: the text within the crest, which should have said “In God We Trust,” instead said “In Dog We Trust.” Typos are bad in any situation, but it doesn’t get much worse than that!

The Blame Game

The Sheriff’s Office, unsurprisingly, blamed the rug manufacturer for the error. In reality there’s probably a bit of blame to spread around: anyone ordering custom printed carpets or other marketing visuals should see a proof of their print long before it goes into production.

Stamp of approvalMost companies that provide customized carpets or printed mats will do this automatically – they want to avoid errors just as much as you do! But it’s definitely something to enquire about in the early stages of ordering. Be sure that you’re given a chance to see and approve a preview, and if you’re picky about colors and materials, ask about prototypes, swatches and samples.

Proofing Practices

It’s very possible that the Sheriff’s Office did see a proof of their carpets pre-production, and simply didn’t look close enough to notice the typo. We’re all busy people and it can be easy to give it a glance and move on. But obviously that’s not the best idea when you’re investing time and money into something you hope to get a lot of use out of.

typo signSo what should you look for when you do get to see a proof of your custom visual, whatever it is? Just about everything. My personal preference is to proof any text first, very carefully and methodically – you should literally be checking every word, date, URL, and punctuation mark. Then you can move on to larger elements: check if the colors match what you intended, and ensure that your graphics transferred to this new medium correctly (e.g. no distortion, ragged logo edges, fuzziness, etc.).

Last but not least, the most important step: get a second opinion! Pass the proof onto someone else in the office to look at with fresh eyes.

The Happily Ever After

The good news is that the Sheriff’s Office did get a happy ending for their story – the logo mats will be replaced, and they sold “the doggone rug” for nearly $10,000 to raise money for a dog shelter! If the happily ever after you’d like is custom printed visuals that come out right the first time, ask for a preview and proof carefully!

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