They have a saying: “That’s why they play the game”.
Over the weekend there was a good example of: “that’s why we proof the name”. The Colorado Rockies printed 15,000 promo t-shirt jerseys with their All-Star Troy Tulowitzki’s name misspelled. The team somehow went into production with the name missing a “T”. To make matters worse, they even had a picture of the misprinted jersey on an event calendar and no one caught it. Since they promised 15,000 fans that they would be receiving the jersey they offered a correctly spelled re-print to anyone who wanted one in the future along with a free ticket to a game. One could argue that the misspelling has led to more publicity than they could ever pay for, but honestly the promotion itself became a rather embarrassing and expensive ordeal.
So how did the team & their vendor totally miss this during the proofing phase?
The only explanation is: a perfect storm with many tornadoes circulating a lack of attention to detail.
More than likely for a promotional run of this dollar amount a pre-production sample was created of this jersey. In other words, a physical sample was delivered for the team to approve. Given the planning time tables in MLB, there had to be enough time for this. If in-fact a physical sample was delivered to the team then there is no excuse: the Rockies dropped the ball and approved what was made.
What if this was a last minute idea and there was no time for a physical sample? Then a PDF Proof would have at least been shown to the team. In this scenario, the Rockies still would have had to sign off on the spelling, placement, color and sizing of the print.
Certainly, when you work with promotional vendors like Blezoo (no, we didn’t make these jerseys, to clarify) we will cross-reference spelling ourselves. But, as the client, you are the only person that can sign off on the project. That’s why we proof the name.
Here are a few Proofing tips you should keep in your bullpen that could save the day:
1) Keep a ruler handy. You should be able to physically see how big something looks against your shirt, for example, before you decide if this size is right. It also gives you a visual reference for smaller imprinted items as well.
2) Own a Pantone book. Your computer screen may be the most deceptive tool you work with every day when it comes to imprint colors. Why? Because everyone’s screen looks different based on make, contrast, brightness, etc. When you are imprinting individual colors the only common reference is a pantone guide’s PMS color # otherwise you are setting moving targets for any vendor.
3) Show it to someone else. A fresh set of eyes can help you avoid the most simple mistakes. Show the proof to a teammate with no instructions, just ask how they think it looks. You’ll be surprised at the results.
4) Ask the vendors opinion. We often give our opinions at Blezoo, but it’s understandable why many vendors would prefer not to. What if the masses do not like the end result? Then they can lay the blame on the vendor. Fortunately, we don’t work with partners who operate like this – so we have no problem giving you our 2 cents!
5) Check the spelling. You knew this one was going to weave into the list somehow! Print the proof out & compare it to correct spellings of the name (google, official documents, other online sources). Remember, you are the last person to sign off on this. If you miss it hopefully it’s for 500 pens with no firm deadline and not tens of thousands of dollars worth of jerseys!