Re: Can style trump grammar rules?

Subject: Re: Can style trump grammar rules?
From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:09:13 -0700


"I find the all lowercase style rather pleasing"

When I was a young tech writer I really liked the look of the Avant Garde font. I set three entire books, 1500 pages worth, entirely in Avant Garde. My belief that Avant Garde was an awesome font did not make this a good idea.

Your link is to an article about companies rebranding their logos in lower case. You had earlier talked about other companies using lower case in their branding. There is a difference between branding, marketing communications, and technical communications. Marcomm-related content is usually more "designed," and there is much more flexibility in terms of unique ("hipster") design in marcomm. In technical writing our purpose is to solve our customer's problems. The customer is often already annoyed when they consult our work, so our goal is to present the information as clearly and unobtrusively as possible. The more the reader has to think about what you're trying to say, the less you are solving that reader's problems. Design-for-design's sake in tech writing is unwelcome. It is what a long-absent techwr-l list subscriber once called, derisively, "font fondling."

Yes, it is stodgy and boring. I think most tech writers have to go through a phase where we think our work is stodgy and boring, and some of us do dumb things like set 1500 page books in Avant Garde. Eventually we figure out that stodgy and boring is exactly the right thing, and if we still feel artistically unfilled we take up a hobby.

All that said your original question was about titles on chapter splash pages. Splash pages are a design element in books that are ignored by most readers, which is one of the reasons they went out of style 15+ years ago. Do whatever you want on your splash page; upper case, lower case, mixed case, drop shadows, emoji, whatever. Pick a style and use it consistently.

Laura


On Jul 31, 2014, at 8:36 AM, Shawn <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com> wrote:

> I suspect your decision was more about...
>> but she failed to properly spell and capitalize her OWN company's name.
>
> I am not offended by the lowercase style but I am equally annoyed by
> spelling and elementary grammer errors by people who should know better.
> However, I find the all lowercase style rather pleasing. In fact, there are
> many corporations re-branding in lowercase.Interesting article:
> http://www.adherecreative.com/blog/bid/181249/The-Case-for-Lower-Case-A-Rebranding-Conundrum
>
> English is a living language and is constantly evolving or transforming. I
> am reasonably certain that any written work of this decade would shock and
> disappoint the average writer of the 19th century.
>
> BTW, I purposely spelled grammar incorrectly. That was a test. Did you
> notice? Were you annoyed? I would be! :)
>
>> And I expect a translation vendor to recognize acronyms and to know that
> "iso9000" should be capitalized.
>
> Agreed! Especially proper nouns and names, initials and acronyms.
>
>
>
> On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 7:50 AM, Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>
>> I just want to share one example of how "marketing style" and being a
>> hipster can hurt your business.
>>
>> I was contacted earlier in the summer by a marketing intern for a
>> translation vendor. Her brochure about why I should hire them not only was
>> in all lowercase, but she failed to properly spell and capitalize her OWN
>> company's name. I fired back an e-mail to her, and CC-ed the company's
>> sales e-mail, with exactly why they had failed to impress me: I expect a
>> translation vendor to be concerned about my company's branding. If they
>> can't even brand their own company correctly, why should I trust them with
>> MY company's brand? And I expect a translation vendor to recognize
>> acronyms and to know that "iso9000" should be capitalized.
>>
>> Attention to details matter. In this case, it lost her company any chance
>> at my business.
>>
>>
>>
>
> --
> *Shawn Connelly*
> Technical writer
> <shawn -at- cohodata -dot- com>
>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Can style trump grammar rules?: From: Kyle Simmons
Re: Can style trump grammar rules?: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Can style trump grammar rules?: From: Janoff, Steven
Re: Can style trump grammar rules?: From: Julie Stickler
Re: Can style trump grammar rules?: From: Shawn

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