What’s in a Quotation Mark?

Preserve describes itself as offering “the finest artisan-made products and handiwork from our talented group of artisans and craftspeople.” (Gee, the “artisan-made” products were made by “artisans”—who’d have thunk it?)  

The finest doesn’t come cheap. We’re talking $140 bras, $97 yoga mats, $56 flashlights. At those price points, you expect the products to be made with a persnickety attention to detail. You also expect the persnicketiness to apply to the copy and art from the brand itself. You do not expect—or at least I didn’t—to find the main graphic of a Preserve email to include a sloppy, inconsistent type treatment:

Never mind (for now, anyway) that some of the black text is nearly impossible to read against the darker parts of the photo. Instead look at those quote marks.

The double quotes are so-called curly quotes—true quotation marks. But the single quote marks around “Nevermore” are straight quote marks; the second is technically a foot mark, and I don’t know the true name of the first mark. 

The two styles of quotation marks clash, rendering the entire copy block ugly. Even more disturbing, the inconsistency speaks of a lack of attention to detail. Apparently nobody noticed the difference—or worse, someone did and didn’t think it worth fixing. And that’s not a mindset I want from a purveyor of pricy luxury goods. If Preserve is lax about the typography in its emails, which are its primary marketing tool, how can I trust that its standards regarding its merchandise, delivery, and payment security are any better?

Retail is detail, as the saying goes. Which means you really do have to sweat the small stuff. In practical terms, that means having a fresh eye, be it a copyeditor/proofreader or someone from a department other than art/creative, read over everything before it’s released into the wild.

And while I have Preserve in my sights, why doesn’t the website let me click directly onto a product page? The category pages (“Ladies,” “Gents,” “Home”) present a grid of product images. Hover over an image, and the product name and price appear. Click the image, and a pop-up presents you with several more images, as well as an “add to cart” button and a link to “see more details.” 

At this point, there’s not one word of copy telling us what the product is made of, how large it is, its features or benefits. All we know about the $56 flashlight, for instance, is that it’s “leather clad.” (And because the phrase comes before a noun, “leather-clad” should have been hyphenated in the product name, but I know a losing battle when I’m fighting one.) Apparently I’m not Preserve’s target audience, because I would never hit “add to cart” without knowing how large the flashlight is and what batteries it requires—facts I don’t consider “details” so much as information vital to my purchasing decision.

So what’s the point of making me click through once more before providing me with that info? Perhaps when it comes to online shopping, as in almost everything else, the rich are different from you and me.

I doubt they’re that different, though…

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