Monday, November 13, 2006

In Praise of PDFs

Years ago, I returned from vacation hoping to see a brochure that I'd slaved over back from the printer. I was running marketing for a small software company and we were spending big time (by our standards) for this piece. We'd hired a designer, we had a great concept and copy (mine), and I was really psyched.

When I got to my office, a copy was on my desk, with a big fat typo on page 1 circled. Ouch. Actually, it wasn't a typo, it was a homonym-o, or whatever the word is for that condition in which you think one word and type another. (I.e., a condition in witch u think won word and type another. U no the write word, u really due, but something else comes out of your fingertips.) Anyway, their, errrrr, there it was. (I can't remember exactly what the problem was: your/you're, there/their, hour/our - but it was on page 1.)

I actually considered dumping the run and reprinting it, but, as my boss pointed out, we didn't have the $5K (and no one would notice, anyway).

I knew, of course, that it could have been worse. One place I'd worked did a very expensive brochure for a product called "Data Window". Too bad it came out "Data Widow."

Still, what should have been a portfolio piece made me shudder everytime I looked at it.

This all came to mind just now as I was proofing some data sheets for a client.

A lot of it was nits, some not so nits: "it" should be "IT", "faulty" should be "faculty". And I was reading carefully. But it sure takes the pressure off knowing that these pieces will live only as pdf's. No, we do not want prospects to download sloppily proofed collateral that will reflect poorly on the company, and we'll all do our best to see that this doesn't happen. But, phew, knowing that they're not going to be spending thousands of dollars on a big print one makes this task a whole lot less nerve-wracking. (Or should that be a "hole lot less nerve-racking"?)

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