Using the copy/paste function in design-how to avoid the pitfalls

I have been designing catalogs and flyers for years and years. And if you have, you may know the situation.

You’ve found the perfect formatting for a blurb under a product. Perfect font, leading, size of type, alignment-all of it just right. You need 7 more blurbs under the next seven products. So copy/paste. And you’ll fix them as you go, right? But the phone rings, or someone walks in with a question or whatever. So you miss one that you should have changed.

So, for example, now your lovely photo of a screwdriver says under it “3/8” drill with reverse and carrying case $XXX." This has happened to me wayyyyyyyyyyy too many times to count in 25 years. Even with addresses. Suck it up buttercup, you’ve done it again.

But I’m training my new designer, and damned if she didn’t do it and the wrong caption went out under the right photo. Obviously proofing and proofing and proofing again is the solution, but if you doing this kind of job, things don’t always get caught.

Does anyone else who does design have any method to keep copy/paste from biting them in the hind parts?

Yeah, you create your template first and copy/paste THAT, leaving the dynamic info out altogether.

If you absolutely need to have non-static text/graphics in the template, you use something the stands out, such as lorem ipsum or garish placeholder illustrations.

And also, sure, proof proof proof. Nothing replaces that step!

I am not a designer by trade, but I’ve done my share of design work.

I do some design work but not professionally so I don’t have as many chances as you to screw up. But, when I copy/paste, I fix the text immediately after pasting. I simply won’t leave it wrong because I’m almost guaranteed to forget about it. If I get distracted, I go back a step. If I’m copy/pasting 7 things and get distracted on #4, I go back and start checking at #1 and re-find where I left off instead of starting back at #4 or mistakenly at #5.

If I do want to wait to correct an aspect of the design for some reason, I’ll change the color of it to some really obvious and ugly color like bright brown so I won’t forget it. If possible, I also use a red/yellow/green color system. Red means it’s a rough draft, yellow means it still needs some kind of work, green means it’s done. If copy/pasting 7 things, I’d make them red when I pasted them, yellow after editing and aligning, then green after proofreading. Once it’s all green, I’d select it all and make it the final color.

Also, like you said, proofreading. Before I finish a page and move on or hit “print” or “send” or whatever, I look over everything, text, spelling, alignment, graphics… every element.

Hmm. It’s not a problem I’ve encountered much… probably because I don’t get many interuptions. If I’m worrid about it, I’ll paste the copied item on the pasteboard, change it and then move it into position for final tweaks.

While I don’t work in design, I do sometimes need to copy-paste multiple copies of programming code and correct all the identifiers.

Not applicable to you -> Since I’m a programmer, I have the advantage that I can do some fancy stuff like writing down the names of all the identifiers in a list then using a regex search and replace to expand each item in the list with a copy of the code I want, replacing the target with the identifier.

But if that’s more convoluted than I need to do (and more applicable to your situation), I’ll take whatever it is that I want to copy, and drop it into a temporary location and replace the part I want to kill with something like “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”. This is nice because it’s noticeably not text so there’s no way I’ll miss it and, since there are no spaces, I can just double-click anywhere and it will select the whole thing, rather than having to drag my mouse from the start to the finish. But it will still have any formating or (in my case) static content that’s not meant to change within it. So I can just copy my version with all the XXXX’s into all the destination locations, rather than the original, and know that I’m not going to miss updating anything.