Attention, Writers and Editors! Beware the Dangers Lurking in Large Type…
If you’ve ever had to look through an article or other piece of writing that was presented in a large font, you may have missed some rather obvious errors. Whether the writing was your own or someone else’s, large type lends itself to grammatical and spelling errors being left on the page instead of corrected.
Despite the wording in the title of this post, the issue isn’t really with the size of the type, but with the person editing it.
Easier to Scan
Large type or print is much easier to scan while still getting the idea behind the writing, so that is what many of us tend to do. Of course, if you’re actually proofreading or editing a piece of writing, or even an ad, scanning is the last thing you want to do.
Simple Mistakes Lost in the Flow
It’s natural to think that because the type is bigger, any mistakes will jump right off the page and reveal themselves to you as you scan through it. It seems logical to believe that bigger type equals bigger mistakes, even though that is seldom the case.
What really happens is that simple mistakes get lost in that sea of letters despite that you are getting the message of the writing. Basic mix-ups like switching i’s and e’s, leaving out an apostrophe or using a comma instead of a period may remain after you’re finished.
A Matter of Focus
It all comes down to a matter of focus. With smaller type, you have to read each word, get a little closer to the screen or document, and maybe even squint a little to have it register in your mind. This focus enables you to notice those little typos and punctuation lapses, so you can produce a cleaner version of your work.
If you are creating a business document or report, an academic article or a sales letter, leaving mistakes behind is the biggest mistake all. If you’re lucky, there won’t be any repercussions, but if you aren’t, you’ll be considered unprofessional, untalented or worse.
What to Do?
Demanding everything that comes your way for editing be presented in small, squint-worthy type doesn’t really seem practical. You can write your own projects in a smaller font for self-editing purposes, but overall the responsibility is yours.
Slow down when you are editing or proofreading, no matter how big the type is. Narrow your focus and make a point of reading each and every word. If that doesn’t work, get some professional help from people who do this every day. We’re always here!