Lately, I've been seeing a trend of using lower-case letters over capital letters.

Outlook

Hello, matthew

Smart Water

#1 Visual Aid

In the above picture, there are many examples of simple sentence structure being ignored and lower case letters being used in place of upper-case structure.

that's, but, it's.


Is this now a thing? Should my company follow the same strategy to appear more fun and creative? I'm running a company where you can win sweepstakes. I want the environment to be fun and stimulate them to enter the contests.

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    personally, I think it's a cultural thing driven by younger demographics not using capitals in the informal communications on the devices they use the most: cell phones and computer. So in my (untested and unproven) theory, it's just a lame attempt to look "trendy". About your particular photo, I doubt it may pass many tests, but well, as long as it is "hip" who cares :) – Devin Apr 11 '16 at 17:42
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    I don't mind caps in tables but 'per' should not have been capitalized. It all seems pretty random. – user207421 Apr 11 '16 at 20:02
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    y use words @ all when u can has much success with othr gr8 txt? It's sad that our society is catering to bad grammar and shit spelling. Gotta love Uhhmerica. – coblr Apr 11 '16 at 20:58
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    I think the "Per" is capitalized per the FDA guidelines for nutritional labels (although I can't find a specific regulation). I can't find a sample on the FDA site that does not capitalize "Per". – Randall Apr 11 '16 at 21:10
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    "You're" (you are) supposed to capitalize proper nouns. Pronouns like "he" are normal lower case. – JDługosz Apr 12 '16 at 7:51
up vote 39 down vote accepted

According to this article lowercase are friendly :

Words set in all lowercase letters are informal and tend to feel friendly. Variations in form, rounded shapes, and no initial capital letter give lowercase words a common, conversational feeling.

and uppercase are demanding :

Words set in all caps feel important, powerful, reliable, and enduring. The letters are big and demanding.

Additionally, according to this article lower case are much easier to read :

At body text sizes, cap­i­tal let­ters—or sim­ply caps—are harder to read than nor­mal low­er­case text. Why? We read more low­er­case text, so as a mat­ter of habit, low­er­case is more fa­mil­iar and thus more leg­i­ble. Fur­ther­more, cog­ni­tive re­search has sug­gested that the shapes of low­er­case let­ters—some tall (dhkl), some short (aens), some de­scend­ing (gypq)—cre­ate a var­ied vi­sual con­tour that helps our brain rec­og­nize words. Cap­i­tal­iza­tion ho­mog­e­nizes these shapes, leav­ing a rec­tan­gu­lar contour.

EDIT :

Just adding some extra reference from this article :

Friendly or Unfriendly?

Friendly visual features could be described as positive, while unfriendly visual features could be described as negative. Friendliness is not only determined by what is said, but also by how it is said (i.e. the tone of the conversation). Our tendency to assign and characterize personality based on conversation is easily recognizable in the example below. This example uses contrast, visual weight, , color value, size and typography to alter the meaning that is conveyed by the words. The content conveys the message, but the look and feel change how that message is interpreted, altering the meaning.

Which of the statements below would you rather hold a conversation with? Which one do you feel more compelled to approach or avoid? Which one naturally grabs more of your attention? When it comes to conversation, someone has to lead, and opposites attract.

enter image description here

  • I don't know if the cited articles are enough to provide authority, but nice answer nevertheless! – Devin Apr 11 '16 at 17:39
  • Thank you for doing research. I'm tried of answers that just post opinions on UX issues. The articles may not be the absolute authority, but it's something. @Andrew didn't site any research. – Cøde Play Apr 11 '16 at 17:40
  • @CodePlay , added an extra reference – DesignerAnalyst Apr 11 '16 at 18:11
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    The point of the article talking about uppercase being harder to read is to discourage writing in all uppercase. (The title of the document is "All caps"!) I would strongly contend that all lowercase text is harder to read than normal sentence-capitalized text because it makes it harder to scan for the start of sentences and for proper nouns. – jamesdlin Apr 12 '16 at 4:41
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    Words set in ALL CAPS actually feels like Nigerian spam. – JDługosz Apr 12 '16 at 7:55

Titling is generally done with one of the following cases:

  • ALL CAPS
  • Title Case
  • Sentence case

Some people use a fourth

  • no caps

The biggest disadvantage of using anything other than sentence case is that you may confuse meaning as it differs from the expected orthographic standard - you should never use anything other than sentence case for long pieces of text.

Other than that, caps are generally more aggressive than lower case.

I wouldn't use lower case for proper nouns as it seems a little disrespectful.

I think it's the German orthography that capitalises every noun.

In my own work I tend to use title case for titles and sentence case for everything else just because it makes everything clear, doesn't 'shout' too much and leaves an accessible, readable text.

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    Yes, German nouns are always capitalized, even when common and not at the beginning of a sentence. If you read older documents in English, such as the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution, you'll see a lot of nouns capitalized that would not be in 21st-century English. I have considered the no-caps thing an annoying affectation since I read my first "e. e. cummings" poem. – Monty Harder Apr 11 '16 at 21:16
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    @MontyHarder note that "e. e. cummings" is a special case, in that it's specifically the preferred capitalization of a proper noun, similar to "iPhone", "eHarmony", or "xkcd". – Dan Henderson Apr 11 '16 at 21:57
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    Title Case Is Terrible For Sentences, I Can't Stop Myself From Pausing At Each Word (Like Kirk, But Worse). ;) – Izkata Apr 12 '16 at 2:14
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    @Izkata: The comma splice doesn't help much either! – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 12 '16 at 10:28
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    It's funny what you had mentioned, "I think it's the German orthography that capitalises every noun". I work for thyssenkrupp, a german company, and we recently changed our name from ThyssenKrupp to just thyssenkrupp. The reason for the change was we didn't want to sound like a demanding company - but a friendly one. How political are we getting nowadays? – JonH Apr 12 '16 at 13:13

Yes, lower case is more informal and fun on a general basis but this is not only about lower Vs upper-case, it's about breaking conventions.

Unless your brand strategy sets you in the path of going against orthographic rules, just don't. Go deep into what it really means for your brand, run some quick test. Besides being not serious, you might find more meanings for this approach like: you don't care about conventions, formalities, rules or what people think at all.

Now, this not either good or bad, the important thing here is that you have drawn a strategy for your brand and that this approach falls along with its values and objetives. If it does, go ahead break the rules but don't go shy on it or it will look like a mistake rather than a statement.

Anything that is a 'thing' probably was a 'thing' before and for some reason has been resurrected.

In essence capitalization appears to help emphasize certain things because by default in the English language most characters are written in lower case. In languages that don't use the 'alphabet' capitalization has no meaning whatsoever (just think about Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, etc). In the contemporary lingo of mobile phone communication the lines are a little bit blurred.

You asked:

Should my company follow the same strategy to appear more fun and creative? I'm running a company where you can win sweepstakes. I want the environment to be fun and stimulate them to enter the contests.

But I think the answer is that capitalization might not have as much impact as you think it would, although it is something that you should take into account when dealing with the visual design aspects of any products/services that you are trying to design/develop. I would argue that the branding will have the biggest impact on making the company appear fun and creative, and whatever the branding guidelines dictate then you should follow that in your design to keep the consistency.

In terms of pure UX design, I would argue that both the visual design and interaction design go hand in hand to create the fun and creative (I would have thought excitement is a bigger element in sweepstakes), and certainly typography and the writing/content style relating to the voice and tone of your copy adds a lot of impact to this, but simply capitalizing where you think it might be effective... I don't know about that really.

I'm not a fan of using lower-case letters when there would normally be upper-case letters, like pronouns and the starts of sentences. Maybe I'm being cynical, but when a company makes the calculated decision to misuse lower-case text, it seems contrived. Whenever a person does it, I assume that person is pretentious.

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    Do you have any other reference than your own thoughts on this answer? – 4rchit3ct Apr 13 '16 at 12:04
  • "Whenever a person does it, I assume that person is pretentious." Really? I just feel that the person hasn't judged capitalisation to be required or worth the slight effort in the given context (e.g. talking informally on the internet). I frequently make that judgment myself. Why exactly is this indicative of pretentiousness? In fact... I'd say it's only when a brand does it, then it's pretentious, since they're probably trying to appeal to a certain demographic in a 'cool tumblr grandad' fashion. – underscore_d Apr 13 '16 at 13:57
  • @underscore_d To be clear, I'm talking about people who don't spell their names in sentence case. It's an effort to appear humble, but there's the self-assumption that they're too important in the first place – Tim Huynh Apr 27 '16 at 15:11
  • @BennySkogberg No, but this site is too enamored with formal research anyway; there's not enough value given to the opinions of individuals. Tracking eye movements and measuring milliseconds is great, but the most important thing about UX is, all that user cares about is how an experience makes him or her feel. Like, "UX StackExchange isn't really that great and that's why I don't visit often." – Tim Huynh Apr 27 '16 at 15:28
  • @TimHuynh As most devs presumably aspire to such success where it'd be extremely impractical to get individual feedback from each user - or don't yet have a product for feedback precisely because they've not yet chosen a UX design - they then kinda have to rely on averaging studies that hopefully represent a typical, existing user. (Promoting inertia and tyranny of the majority, maybe, but hey!) It also seems impractical that every such user would weigh in with their own opinion in an answer on this or any other SE site. Hence the tendency to avoid opinion-based questions or answers, I presume – underscore_d Apr 27 '16 at 15:42

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