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I realize this is subjective in nature and more opinion-based perhaps. I'm seeking "best practices" from experienced designers.


Hired to create a piece for a client using similar copy to what's on a web page.

While working through the piece, you find a number of copy errors. Mostly of the "spellcheck won't catch that" nature. Things like to rather than too, or a dollar figure is missing a digit, or the same name is spelled three different ways within the copy. You do correct all these in the copy you are using — even though you have made it abundantly clear to the client that you are not responsible for any typographical errors in any copy they provide.

Would you inform the client of these errors in their other materials and if so what's the best way?

Or, to avoid any negative impressions, should you simply ensure the copy you are working with is correct and not point out errors elsewhere?

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  • Reminds me of a fleet of vans that I used to see everywhere, Johnsons Builder's [name changed to protect the stupid] ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 29 at 8:07
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    I would say yes, always. But yeah, there's probably going to be an awkward moment for that "special" kind of client. You could tell them your proof reader noticed it (even if it's only an imaginary proof reader ;)
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 29 at 11:39

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I'm not a designer but have worked in both print production and client services in the graphic arts. My question to you - why would you not report it? If you see an error, even if it's not in the particular piece you're working on, you have an ethical responsibility to point it out to the client. It's then up to them to act on it. This is where you provide an added value to the client, build a trust, and give them reason to come back to you for additional work. It is not your responsibility to read through all of their pieces/projects - but by pointing it out, they can then refer back to their editorial/copy editing staff. They may take it as an opportunity to update other issues - which may end up providing you more projects. Show the client you're working with them - not just for them.

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  • This is my actual thoughts on it. But some (rare) clients can be a bit offended. Doesn't stop me from pointing things out. I was merely looking to see how others handle similar situations.
    – Scott
    Mar 29 at 2:03
  • @Scott we work the same way like JeffK pointed out. Always point out errors. If you would be the client I guess you would be happy to get such "additional" feedback. If some (rare) clients can't take a feedback as something positive and are offended by it I guess those are not really clients you want to work with in the first place anyway. May 29 at 17:23

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