As church creatives we produce a lot of work, often under very tight deadlines. As creative people we often look at “big picture” design and concepts, and don’t spend enough time looking at details – like spelling and grammar. I recently committed the worst typo of my church marketing career.
First, my blunder: I recently created a graphic for a sermon series called, “Moving Out of the Cul-De-Sac” a look through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and how we need to move out of the safety of the “residential neighborhood” and onto the highways and byways of our Christian journey. I designed the Sermon Series logo to look like a highway Interstate sign, and printed out a large poster inviting people to sign up for Growth Groups which follow along with this new sermon series. This all got done late on a Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning, a friend pointed out the oh-so-terrible typo. Here’s how that logo appeared on that sign.
If you look closer at the featured image, yes, I misspelled “sermon” on a sermon series graphic. A sermon series about the Sermon on the Mount. In the worst possible way.
Thankfully, the sharp eyes of the person working the sign-up table caught it fairly quickly and saved me before we started printing bulletins, banners and group curriculum. Ultimately it was only my pride that was hurt.
Here are some ways to avoid these kinds of mistakes:
- Know Your Blind Spots. Everybody has them, nobody is good at everything. But when you know where you struggle, then you know when to look for help. See also: (http://acuff.me/2014/06/watch-6-second-video-next-time-fear-lies/)
- Give it Time. If it wasn’t Friday night, if I wasn’t tired, if I had been able to step away and look at my design with fresh eyes I might have caught the error. Maybe not, but I would of had a much better chance of it. When possible, step away for a while.
- Spell Check. Sounds obvious, and it is, but I make the majority of my spelling typos when I’m working in Photoshop. I’ve learned to type even short words and phrases in other programs and then copy and paste if working in PS.
- Find a Proofreader. I had a very difficult relationship some time back with a member of the congregation. “Sam” was always hyper-critical. On Monday mornings a copy of the bulletin would be in my box marked up with the smallest missed commas or extra spaces. I thought of Sam as a sniper taking shots at my work, and I couldn’t figure out why the guy had it in for me. I would get so frustrated, I just couldn’t please the man. When we final sat down together, Sam explained that it wasn’t personal, the way he looked at it was as a very enjoyable game, like a puzzle, searching out the details. Sam is now an extremely valuable volunteer, and sees every bulletin before it goes to print.
Finally, when something does slip through the cracks, fix it if you can, own up to it, make SURE you delete any old versions of the file, and then most importantly, let it go because everybody else has already forgotten it.
So, what’s your worst typo story?