Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marked Up

Every so often I’ll be reading a book and I’ll notice something wrong with the text, whether a misspelling, incorrect punctuation, or using the wrong word (e.g. “I” instead of “It”). I’m sure any book goes through multiple proofing stages, but with so many words it’s inevitable that not every error is caught. While the overlooked mistake may take me out of the story for a brief second, I then quickly move on without a second thought.

However, some people can’t let it go. It always makes me laugh when I’m reading a book from the library and someone has marked it up with proofreader marks. I can’t help but wonder, was someone reading the book and noticed an error and had to get up and find a pen to correct that mistake, or does that person always read with a pen in hand, ready to catch any and all mistakes? Either way, that person had to care quite a bit to actually do something about it.

I suppose everyone is irked by something and feels the need to fix that something (if possible). I can’t help but notice the design choices that are everywhere (e.g. book covers, food packaging, signage, stationary, ads, menus, etc.). I admit that I’m irked at times with poor typeface choices, a lack of readability, awkward kerning, terrible color palettes or bad photography, and while some of it might be personal preference, much of it is just bad design. If I could, perhaps I would whip out a red pen and mark up the problems I see…but that would be defacing property. [Pause.] I can’t really do that. So all I can really do is just sigh in disapproval and move on (and hopefully get distracted by the shiny pretty delicious design out there instead).

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