Copy preparation – Supplying copy to GS2’s Designers

Don’t use double spaces between sentences, they upset the proportional spacing
Don’t use capitals for headings – if they are part of the design they will be converted automatically during formatting
Use specific tabs for columns of text or figures (rather than jumping several default tabs or inserting multiple spaces), but don’t tab beginnings of paragraphs
Never put in returns at the end of lines, only at the end of paragraphs
Enclose any missing instructions in square brackets – this makes it easy to search and replace
In cross-referencing contents etc, when the page number is unknown type xx within a square bracket eg. [xx]
• Be consistent in style, use of punctuation, abbreviations and capitals etc.
(if necessary refer to your house style guidelines)

Before submitting to the designer
• Check back against original copy
• Spell check, read for grammar, sense, style and consistency
• Ensure that appropriate colleagues have read and approved text
You will also need to check proofs from ‘final print proof’. For publications printed in-house, this means a proof produced on the printing equipment that will be used in the final production. For externally printed publications, the printer will supply proofs. See: Checking and correcting proofs.

Supply final copy to the designer in a Word File, send on disk or as an email attachment along with a styled hard copy, eg. showing headings and italics.

Checking and correcting proofs

However confident you are about the original copy, proofs still need very thorough checking. The copy will have been translated from a PC to a Macintosh platform, it has certainly been translated to a different software package and typeface. Check in particular for incorrect character substitutions, missing copy, slipped tabs in tables, transposed figures in graphs. Has any of the information become out-of-date?

All styling will have been lost in translation to the layout package and so headings, subheadings, italics, bold, bullets etc. will have been re-inserted by the designer using the hard copy supplied as a guide. Mistakes may have crept in at this stage – check for accidental deletions, styling missed, copy incorrectly broken or run on.

Mark all corrections and instructions on proofs in red, very clearly. The main requirement is that the designer is given clear and precise instructions: use capital and lower case letters as appropriate, write legibly defining individual letters, write corrections in the margin in the order in which they fall on the line. Sometimes it may be clearer to spell out the correct form in full. Mark only clear instructions and corrections on the proof – discussion and comments between colleagues should be marked on post-it stickers and removed before passing on to the designer. Resolve any queries before returning the proof. The designer will make decisions about layout in accordance with the brief, but not necessarily about text content.

At second proof stage, check corrections have been made correctly and that making them has not resulted in new errors such as accidental deletions. Check through for anything you may have missed first time round.

The number of proofs will depend on the size and complexity of the job and the number of corrections being processed. When you can be sure that the page layout will not change, insert page numbers and check all cross-references.

If proofs are being signed-off with some minor amendments outstanding, agree who will be responsible for checking these before the publication goes to press.

If you are proof-reading a complex publication the following points are also worth bearing in mind.
Check the wording of the headings and sections are the same as those listed in the contents
Check brackets and quotes always open/close
Add up percentages – they should always total 100 per cent
Make sure any diagrammatic charts look like their percentages ie. that ten per cent doesn’t look smaller than eight per cent
Check names of departments and institutes in the contents with an authoritative source
Read to identify any inconsistencies between the sections.

A typical house style

Use full points in abbreviations such as Mr. Dr. eg. ie. etc.

Use initial capitals sparingly. They are used in the following instances:

For all proper nouns – place names, countries, languages/nationalities (English, French, European), names, etc.
For historical periods – Victorian, Tudor, Renaissance, Medieval
• For months and days of the week but not for seasons of the year: autumn, spring, summer, winter
For very specific job titles of individuals eg. Professor of International Relations, and for titles used in conjunction with the name eg. Professor Smith, but not for more general titles such as: a professor in the Economics Department, chairman, chief executive, partner, editor, governor, director (apart from [‘John Smith’ – your company director] who, when referred to just by his/her title without his/her name, is the Director). Titles commonly used in business, such as finance director, do not need initial capitals. If in doubt, use lower case.
• When referring to the Department ie. one particular department, but not when referring generally to departments, ie. if any department…
• For titles of programmes and courses
• North, South etc. are capitalised only if part of a commonly used title of an area – eg. South Africa, Western Australia – otherwise they are lower case – eg. southern England, the west of Scotland, etc
• For the main title of a book, but not for subheadings which are separated by a colon and then lower case eg. Environmental Economics: an elementary introduction.

Dates and time
Number, month, year eg. 25 December 2007
In 2006-07
From 2006 to 2007
1990s (with no apostrophe)
21st century, 20th-century ideas
Don’t use the 24-hour clock. Use 11am, 2:30pm (not 11.00am); use noon and midnight.

Foreign words or phrases should be italicised, unless they are so familiar that they have become anglicised eg. status quo.
Book titles, newspaper and journal names should be in italics.

In body copy, spell out numbers from one to ten, and numbers at the start of a sentence. Use figures for numbers from 11 upwards. However, in a paragraph listing several numbers relating to the same topic, eg comparing numbers of votes, use all figures.
Use a comma for numbers over 999 eg. 1,234.
Telephone numbers: where relevant, give the international code: +44 (0)1442 827727: do not use hyphens.

Publication titles
Books and journal titles are set in italics. Use initial capitals for the main title, but not for subheadings which are separated by a colon and then lower case eg. Environmental Economics: an elementary introduction.

Quotation marks
Use single quotation marks except for quotes within quotes, where double quotation marks are used.

Spelling and style preferences
Word endings: use ‘-ise’ in preference to ‘-ize’, except in the case of book or report titles which are spelled as published.
Use email without a hyphen, and lower case letters. Similarly web is lower case, and for web addresses which contain www. there is no need to mention http.
% is written out in full as two words: per cent.
& is only used within body copy for company names

Subheading styles
Subheadings take a capital as the first letter of the line, but lower case thereafter. They do not take a full stop.