A Matter of Opinion: To Reprint or to Not Reprint

track and kern's picture

Recently graduating, I absolutely had to have business cards to hand out, and I noticed this unfortunate mistake. I double-checked my digital file, and it is not reflected there, nor did I encounter it in my proofs. I have no idea what happened, and this really is one of the first times I have had this type of issue in all my printing experience. Being affiliated with commercial print shops and presses for the past three years, employed in two different pre-press departments. this is one of the worst shifts or mistakes I have ever seen.

Notice how far away the "@" is away from the email address. How BAD is this REALLY. Some argue that its like a natural stop before the server info, I say its a typographical nightmare. I have 1000 of these puppies, and I just can't seem to to get over this. Maybe the sagely advice of some other typophiles will calm my nerves.

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Ken Messenger's picture

When you say it wasn't reflected in the proofs I'm guessing you had matchprints or were they lowly pdf "proofs" from some digital print vendor?

I wouldn't accept these prints and if they don't look like the proof then you have a leg to stand on. Most printers will reprint without question.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I'd second Ken's remarks. Any printer who would not reprint is not worth using. However, you should find the proof the printer sent to you and print it out just to make sure the problem doesn't show up in the print.

track and kern's picture

you know, it was a good friend who printed this for me. i looked at it only quickly, so i think that this is partially my fault for not noticing. I simply NEEDED the cards, and I just trusted there wouldn't be anything wrong with them.

Aside from all that, I was more so interested in how you all felt about the error, and whether or not it's as bad as I think it is.

Paul Cutler's picture

I don't think it's a good way for a designer to represent themselves. Sorry…

I'm from Phoenix, btw…


track and kern's picture

Thanks Paul. I am not from here, I just live here, and hopefully not much longer, been 13 years now. Originally from Cleveland, and also lived in Greensboro for some 10 years.

andi emery's picture

I agree with everyone else, Matthew. Your card is your best foot foward, your showpiece - no matter how simple. It should reflect who you are and what you do. I would reprint and hopefully your buddy will do it for free - or halve the cost with you.

If you do reprint, how about losing the dash between the bracketed area code and the first three numbers in your telephone number? (602) 738-

Just a suggestion. : )

jselig's picture

I agree with Andi over the phone number use and I will throw my vote behind reprinting as well.

We just sent back a 5,000 print run of cards for a client because the UV coating smudged the color on the back side of 1/5 of the cards. It's your right to be picky when your work/card represents you and your quality.

noftus's picture

With respect to your original design intentions, in all honesty I think it looks great with the space before the @.

Think about the psychology of a user reading your card:

user thinks: "right, what is the first user part of the e-mail address?"
---card facilitates legibility of this, by appropriately and easily indentifying and emphasising mdg2184 (which is a mouthful)--

user thinks: "right got it, what is the end part after the @ symbol?"
--card facilitates legibiligy of @, with the extra preceeding space--

The e-mail address still looks like the same chunk of information, thanks to the bracket of your area code.

Again with respect, I think all designers are guilty of getting caught up in TOO much detail, at times unnecessarily. You sound pretty tense, and I think it's best to accept it and look at the bright side this time.

noftus's picture

If you're worried that a potential client may turn you down, because of a perceived detail of sloppyness (with the space), again look at it on the bright side: you learn alot about this potential client.

How petty must they be to turn you away on this space. Were they worth working for anyway? If they were worth it, and had an eye for detail, they would openly discuss the space with you, and you would have a proper chance to explain. 'worth-it client' = good communications. Think of it as a hidden 'test'.

timd's picture

Recycle them, unfortunately having accepted them I tend to think that not noticing means the fault is yours, it is a harsh lesson though.

>How petty must they be to turn you away on this space. Were they worth working for anyway? If they were worth it, and had an eye for detail, they would openly discuss the space with you, and you would have a proper chance to explain. ‘worth-it client’ = good communications. Think of it as a hidden ‘test’.

Depends on your view of a worth-it client, if one had the eye to spot it, would they accept the explanation or would they expect their suppliers to have quality stationery?

pattyfab's picture

While we're at it, shouldn't there be some punctuation (a comma methinks) between Dr. and Scottsdale?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Never fun when you do business with family or friends and a problem arises. I am sorry for your situation.

Looking again and after Noftus' suggestion, maybe you can use the "space before the @" as a conversation starter. Finding a way to make a positive out of something that to most is a negative might work for you.

andi emery's picture

Building on Tiffany's comment, you could add proofreader marks to your cards: a "remove space" mark, "remove dash" mark and an "add comma" mark on all your cards.

Now that would be a clever conversation starter.

bojev's picture

Andi has a great idea - use a blue or red fine point pen to make them stand out - if text is black.

kitekey's picture

The space is visible.

You got the proof for a reason. If you accepted the proof, then you should pay at least half the cost of the reprinting, if not all of it.

Double-punctuating the area bothers me more, though. Use either a hyphen or parentheses, not both. Punctuating the address may be a good idea also, but a less serious error.

Discerning clients assume your business card represents your best work. Why hand them reasons to not to hire you?

Good luck, and chalk this up as a learning experience.

track and kern's picture

You know, i should mention that I proofed them myself, so after reviewing those, I have no idea what happened.

Andi, I like your idea a lot. How clever. I just wonder if everyone (potential employers) would appreciate that as much as we (typophiles) would.

timd's picture

I think that worth-it clients would appreciate it, the sense of humour combined with a clear attention to detail would make for a memorable card. Good thinking, Andi.

andi emery's picture

You know Matthew, in my experience, a little bit of shared knowledge goes a long way. You do something clever and you teach someone something in the process. Most people appreciate that and, more importantly, remember you by it.

At this stage of the game, what do you have to lose? Give it a try and if it doesn't work, then you have to reprint anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You could even come up with a clever quip or name for you/your company that you could stamp in the empty space above the info.

track and kern's picture

hehe. you sure are clever Andi, I will have to always remember that, since you may have just saved all my b-cards. I think I am going to try out that idea, as I really do like it. Thanks again.

andi emery's picture

*Sometimes* I actually am clever, but not always! Collaboration makes it easier to be clever, eh? I'm just happy I could help. Good luck with the cards and let us know how it works out!

bieler's picture

Not sure I understand this. Your files were correct, the proof was correct, and the final product was wrong. Have the printer reprint them (they made the mistake, or did they?).

But what I really do not understand is why, with your "experience," you are asking the list for suggestions in this regard.

track and kern's picture

To answer that, I have to say that:

A) I received way more prints than I was supposed to. I ordered 500, paid for 500, but actually got 1000+. This isn't a reason to not have them reprinted, but, I really do hate wasting. Recycling is great, but in the end, if you do a little research, the amount of resources it actually takes to run the recycling plants barely breaks even with the recycled product that is produced.

B) It was a friend that printed them, and even though are relationship is good, people don't always take criticism well, and often times may not offer to do favors and such for you in the future. This job was small, and certainly was not a "favor", but, in the end I still appreciate it more.

C) Sometimes, we all get caught up in our own designs, and nitpick them beyond belief. I asked many people before coming here about what they thought of this dilemma. This thread proves that "good things do come from bad things" as Andi had a great idea. That is exactly why I posted this thread.

Furthermore, if you doubt or have questions about my credentials in terms of my "experience", i would be happy to provide you a copy of my résumé.

pattyfab's picture

Building on Andi's suggestion (which I fear may overwhelm a small business card) I once got a beautiful resume from a design student who had printed in non-repro blue the grid lines and some explanatory text for the various elements on his resume (A-heads, flush left rag right, x-height, etc). The whole thing was done in a very elegant understated manner - it looked good, was informative and showed off his knowledge.

oldnick's picture


Your ecomomic justification for not recycling is a cop-out: recycling, at least in part, reduces the number of trees that are logged to produce paper. Since trees are the largest consumers of the carbon dioxide that industrualized societies are producing in ever-larger quantities, anything that we can do to reduce demand makes the world a better place.

Recycle the cards: the lack of separation between the street address and city and the use of parentheses and a hyphen in the telephone number are mistakes which you made. As they say, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

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