That’s a Capital Idea! A Look at Capitalization

Beware solicitors plaque

Abandon all hope of proper grammar as well

Pop quiz: Most books, blog posts, and articles start with what?

If you guessed “a capital letter”, you are very literal and correct for the purposes of this blog post.

Capitalization is one of the most obvious mistakes that you can make on a sign. It’s not as bad online because it’s a quick fix, but on a sign, it’s permanent. Here’s a quick reminder (or primer) on how to use capitalization.

  • The first person pronoun “I” is always capitalized. Always. There are no exceptions.
  • Capitalize the first letter of a sentence.
  • Names and places are capitalized (e.g. Hunter and Lake Mills). However, directions are not capitalized unless they are a part of the name (e.g. South Beach versus northern Wisconsin).
  • Proper nouns are capitalized. A proper noun refers to a specific person, place, or thing.
  • In the titles of works, capitalize all important words. (e.g. Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus)
  • Capitalize a person’s title if it comes before the name (e.g. Senator Silly Sally). However, if the title comes after the name, don’t capitalize it (e.g. Would Silly Sally, the senator, please rise?).

Our advice? Get a second opinion and always remember that you can ignore these rules for style purposes. Many poets do, including e. e. cummings. But be careful with ignoring them if you’re trying to make a formal sign. On the other hand, if you choose the right font, you won’t have to worry about any of this. Some of our fonts only have one case and other fonts have the same size letters, meaning the only difference is the letter design. Check out our old blog posts A Rainbow of Fonts and Do Fonts Talk? for more information.

Remember, capitalization keeps your sign professional. Be careful and double-check what you want.

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