1 June 2022

_creative insights

Does your packaging have an embarrassing copy error?

While the design is one element of product packaging, the copy is another equally vital element. Missing a word, or a misspelled word could be construed as misleading or just be plain embarrassing.

By Candice De Beer

But what happens if the designer accidentally leaves off a key ingredient, one which could potentially have life-threatening consequences. Who is at fault? The designer or the high-level manager who signed the designs off? 

A comedy of errors

On a lighter side, a missing letter can be quite comical. Forget an m in slimming and all of a sudden your product is sliming. Hit an incorrect key and Surprise quickly becomes Surrrise. And believe it or not, spelling errors are more common than you think. While many people might not notice a spelling mistake, there are those who will, and who will happily post your error on social media, for all the world to comment on.  

But what do you do?

So you have two choices. Either you live with the error until you’re up for a reprint, or you pull your stock and print new packaging which is an expensive exercise. If the mistake doesn’t have terrible consequences, you might want to live with it. But in the case of pharmaceutical medicine, a spelling mistake is a no-no.

Avoid errors altogether

The easiest way to avoid spelling and product errors is to have a gatekeeper, someone who checks and double checks that every ingredient is on your label and every word and numeral value is 100% correct. You’ll need someone who is both a copywriter and editor.  

1. Get your copywriter to edit and proof all copy for the label before supplying it to the designer. 

2. Once the layout is complete, they will proof and edit the text to ensure that no funnies have crept in, and no copy has been left off. 

3. Once they sign it off, it needs to go to an account and production manager to check. 

4. If they are happy with the entire label, then it can be signed off to go to print.

5. A printer will then send through a printer's proof which all individuals involved in the creative process should thoroughly check and sign off.

6. Only then can it go for print. If you’ve still missed errors, you’re just unlucky.

Good luck!