Monday, January 10, 2022

Indicating Italics; Proofreader's Marks

 01.10.2022

Владислав Артюхов asked,

How italics were indicated for printing in manuscripts before computers have appeared?

Proofreader marks were and are used still to indicate the use of italic type in typesetting for printing.

Before computers a manuscript produced on a typewriter destined to be published, those pages were edited, proofed and marked-up using proofreaders marks.

Indicating italics is done by hand-writing in cursive in the margin the word ital on the same line level, and underlining the word or words to be typeset in italics. This is one application of one of many proofreader’s marks.

Proofreader marks are hand-written in the margin and on the typed page copy. The standard symbols (Proofreader’s Marks) are used to convey instructions to the person typesetting, along with other copy correction mark-up to instruct typesetting of the type-written copy. Mark-up instructions included; alignment, typeface family fonts or font selection, font size and leading, the word spacing and letter spacing and whether to hyphenate were typical instruction for typesetting that are hand written on a manuscript produced with a type-writer.

Although typed pages are not as common today graphic designers performed the process of proofreading, editing, marking up, and copyfitting pages based on typewritten manuscript pages destined for typesetting and print publishing. The designer using proofreading mark’s and indicating copy mark-up instruction is the industry process and functions often called specifying type. 

Specifying type on typewritten pages was a common occurrence in print publishing workflows from the 1880′s to the 1980's.

Below you can see explanation and list of Proofreader’s Marks:

proofreader marks examples of the marginal mark and the typewritten errors marked



Before desktop publishing computers; a carefully scrutinized, proofed and approved typewritten manuscript then required the work of many different specialized; layout artists, graphic artists, graphic designers, typesetters, process camera-darkroom operators, strippers, plate-makers, printers, bindery and converters to get from manuscript to printed and published book, magazine or other finished printed work.

Using proofreader’s marks, italics are still indicated the same way today on typed pages or modern word processed pages as they were a century ago.

Style manuals can give you instructive guidelines and modern best practices for writing your manuscript or paper with acceptable clarity, grammar, punctuation and mechanics. A link to topic and amazon books follows; A Pocket Style manual with Exercises With Edition, by Diana Hacker & Nancy Sommers. 

Best success indicating italics and learning about Proofreader’s Marks.


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