When I was an apprentice compositor, we would set text from the handwritten or typed copy supplied by the client. (Unbelievably this wasn’t the late 1800s but 1979!).
Before this text was made up into artwork, it was proofed to check spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Fred was our reader and he had been at the printers for about 60 years. He had done most jobs in the place and, in his 75th year, he was our reader and no errors got past his eagle eyes.
To communicate the errors precisely and concisely to us compositors, Fred would use BS5261 Proofreading Marks. These delicate, sparing squiggles were the printers’ shorthand and there was a mark for every occasion; whether you wanted to ‘delete and close up’, ‘change to bold’ or ‘leave as printed’. There were marks for inserting in the text and others that sat alongside those in the margin.
Just some of the other readers’ marks: