My question is extremely weird, so please don't down vote before read it all.

I'm a programmer enthusiastic and a graphic/web designer. 6 months ago, I came across an extremely annoying huge wall in my job: I make simple corrections to mistakes that seem to be a waste of my work experience (even if inDesign applies that curved red line - that silly red line that also shows if is there a word that is needed there):

  1. I can simple make a book in 4hours with money formula: 3hours +/- to design it and 1 hour to read it all searching for language mistakes --> the problem is just 1 hour is not enough to read it all, I deeply fear that all of text that I've simple read has a tinny mistake, and let's do it again --> the time passes and I start to think in all of my other works that are delaying a lot.

Should I be expected as a graphic designer to proof read an entire book?

I dunno if this site can be used for a discussion purposes (truly sorry if not), but I need to know what is your experiences and what do you all do in this situation?

  • I don't see a question at all. There would never be enough time in my life to read absolutely everything I produce. If proofreading is part of a project, it's added to any quotes. However, most clients do their own proofreading. Why would you not charge clients for the proofreading service? Stack Exchange sites are not for discussion. They are Question -> Answer sites.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 14:43
  • @scott And there is my question: in a proofreading service I feel like a fool when I lost my focus and read it all again, sometimes provided for fear of fail. what I am looking for is a way to fight this, something to improve my unconcern of fear to fail a word. Read it 26568 times and still look as the same as 1st time. Really looks like kind of an alcoholic's question :)
    – fiskolin
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 14:55
  • That's what editors are for. I rarely if ever proofread anything longer than a couple pages. You can't find errors if you are concerned about things like line length, type size, color, position, etc. You need someone who is focused on the words and text itself, not the design.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 15:07
  • 4
    You could edit your question to something along the lines of 'should graphic designers also take proof-reading responsibilities?' Though I think @Scott has essentially answered that. - unless you are going to add a fee to pay for the time it takes to proof read accurately then no. There are alternatives such as ensuring that the client knows that they are responsible for proof reading or you could add a fee and subcontract somebody to proofread for you. I support the idea that you should enable yourself to be more focused on resolving design issues than worrying about proof reading.
    – Jenna
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 17:00
  • 1
    This is just a question of good-sense @Jenna. Perhaps I need to provide this information before start the work --> I am not responsible for proof reading, as also any change in 1st document will add a fee. Works like a charm for anybody...
    – fiskolin
    Commented Feb 1, 2014 at 17:45

3 Answers 3


I am a designer and a proofreader. I've encountered this situation more than once.

No, you are not expected to proof what you are laying out unless you explicitly state so in your contract. And if you do agree to proofreading, then you dang well charge for it.

Your time is not free. Your expertise is not free. If you are being paid to design, then it's the client's responsibility to find and fix any mistakes. Conversely, if you are being paid to proofread, it's the client's job to find someone to design the piece and make the typography work. The proofreader doesn't mark widows; the designer doesn't mark typos.


Should I be expected as a graphic designer to proof read an entire book?

As long as your job is specifically as designer: most certainly not! Stay clear.

There is a large field devoted specifically for that. Proofreading is a highly skilled task, and as is the case with graphic design, not everyone can do it and do it well.

You should not do it. Or if you do, and are actually good at it, you must charge for it. The going rates might be higher or lower what you earn as a designer, so make it perfectly clear that these are two extremely specialised tasks.

As we prefer people to understand that graphic designers are people that have skills, that we are not time wasters that just likes to fiddle in illustrator: also respect other peoples fields.

Not everyone can be a good designer, not everyone can be a good proofreader.

  • I accept the @LaurenIpsun 's answer cause 90% of what I do I am also the editor/proofreader, like she/he does and I appreciate what she/he said: my time is not free. I really appreciated your answer too, specially You should not do it, cause I found myself in a mess seeing more design issues than properly typos... Thanks
    – fiskolin
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 1:12
  • Perferctly fair :)
    – benteh
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 10:59
  • 1
    I am a she, for the record. :) And yes, it's very hard to turn off one part of the brain or the other, and just be a proofreader when you see all the horrible layouts and widows, but... Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 13:20

Ideally, there should be at least three steps done by different people -- editing, design, proofreading (or super-ideally, editing, proofreading, design, proofreading). These roles were a lot more fixed before computers. Now, technology makes it physically possible to fudge them without immediate negative consequences; not everyone is educated to the importance (and specialized skills) of each role; a lot of us are at least partially cross-trained; and even more of us think we are cross-trained. So scope creep can be a big issue. A good editor or proofreader is usually happy if a designer happens to notice a mistake that got through, but in a healthy and professional business arrangement, it shouldn't be your responsibility. That said, it's kind of an anything-goes world out there, and while it's good to protect ourselves and the quality of the process, sometimes you have to do stuff that's not ideal. Your best protection is spelling out expectations before a job starts, and then remembering to keep a smile on when you say "no" to inappropriate requests, and in a worst-case scenario, just getting through it and continuing to look for better clients.

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