Most Web Designers are lackadasical when it comes to proofing and checking their work as it can be easily fixed at any point in the process, for no real cost. Print on the other hand, once a job has gone to the proof stage, fixing a simple spelling mistake on a proof can mean getting new print film made, not cheap, but if a job goes to print and something has been missed, it can mean fifty thousand copies (or more) get shredded and binned, followed by a full reprint at the cost of the designer.

Sometimes this could be sorted by a procedural checklist, where everything is ticked off as completed. This is relevant for both print and web, as I know of several websites and magazines that have simple spelling and grammatical errors. Things that just wouldn’t happen with a procedural checklist. If you look at something for long enough, you are bound to miss something.

We all suffer from laziness at times, thinking ‘it’s all fine, I don’t need to go through the checklist’. That’s when you miss something and you end up with egg on your face.

Things to always think about are:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Client sign off
  • Is it meeting client corporate branding?
  • Has someone else looked it over?
  • Is it the correct size and format?

These hold true for both web and print.

Print and web are really different mediums, but they also have a lot in common when you are looking at production, deadlines, checklists, client sign off, etc. The difference is down to what happens in the final stages.

Print, once it is cut to a cd and art is sent out, you wait on proofs, whilst digital, you look at tidying up the code, compressing the graphics that little bit more, droping in credit notes into the script. Even when it goes live, you can tweak the location of buttons, modify copy and even change how everything runs.

Print has a level of permanence that digital doesn’t seem to have. People and libraries keep archive printed materials. Whilst digital forms get trashed and replaced by newer and shinier formats.

I have built both print and digital checklists and briefing forms. Forcing yourself to sit down and build the basics of one really helps you pin down what might go wrong, and if something does go wrong, then add that as another step, as the checklists are invariably built upon mistakes that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Building a checklist makes you review your whole work process and makes you more aware of the production method, and you are not just focused on that beautiful end product.