Copywriting typos and why we don’t see them

Copywriting means typos and here's whyEven the most vigilant copywriting means making typos. And sometimes, those typos get published. Some are hilarious, some are just downright embarrassing. But all are due to the fact that we see what we expect to see.

Seeing copywriting that isn’t there

The reason we miss typos is that we look for what writing is — and not what writing isn’t. What writing is, in most cases, is a format that we use to communicate meaning. In fact, when you think about it, the written word (aka, copywriting), is actually an interface. So no wonder that articles about good user experience talk about copywriting. Copywriting is what we’ve got to communicate with.

While it’s fascinating to see what the brain misses, there’s a more interesting illusion that lets us see how much it catches. Take a paragraph and jumble up all the letters, except the first and last of each word. Amazingly, it’s fairly easy to read the paragraph and understand what it says.

Why does this work? Turns out, it’s about patterns. Researchers found that you could make the whole word jumble incomprehensible simply by moving letters too far from their rightful positions in a properly spelled word.

What’s more, English is especially easy to do this with due to the length of typical words. As long as you keep letters near where they should be, you can mix them up and they’re still understandable. German works well for this, too. Hebrew, however, becomes unreadable because it has no written vowels so you’re already filling in the blanks.

Seeing the copywriting that is there

Whether or not the writing’s on the wall, or on the desktop, mobile phone or kiosk, it’s the interface we have to work with in today’s world. And while typos matter, what matters most is making sure your company’s story inspires your customers to take action.

If you need a copywriter who can do that, I’m hear* for you.

* Typo intentional.

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