Skip to main content

Misprint Monday – Dead Man’s Curve

Jan & Dean: Dead Man’s Curve

Dead Man’s Curve by Jan and Dean recorded in 1963

It only has a little bit to do with today’s post. Its a brain trick I use to remember to check any type that is written on a curve. There is something about type in an arch that makes it harder to see errors, so I conjure up Dead Man’s Curve’s melody to remind me and I check it extra carefully.


This lesson was learned the hard way when we once printed 6,000 shirts with a breast patch with arched type reading RJJR when it was supposed to read RJR. It wasn’t the shirt above, but something like it. Besides our 6,000 shirts there were another 80K shirts printed that way. We got paid because the art was supplied to us that way, and the art was approved like that, and the printed sample was approved. Apparently over twenty sets of eyes or more had set sight on this that should have known it was wrong and nobody caught the mistake.

I later told a friend who had been in the business longer than I and he said, “Oh yeah, you always have to check arched type an extra time.” So when have some arched type, take my friend’s advice, take a deep breath and check out that arched type one more time.

As a bonus I included one more trick of the trade. Management is spelled wrong on this shirt. It is obvious. The problem is that often when we find one mistake we miss others. If you find a mistake, take a deep breath, ignore the first error and see if there are any more.

I lucked out on that curved type, don’t crash and burn yourself. Always double check arched type. And a final tip is to get somebody else to check your work, don’t just check it yourself.  There are studies which prove that it is harder to find your own mistakes and neurological reasons for that as this Wired article lays out, What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos.”


Leave a comment