Just so you know, it about pushed me over the edge to have a blog post title with no capitalization. Not even one letter. In other words, all minuscules, no majuscules. It doesn’t seem right — to me anyway, as a trademark type.

Just like the first letter in the first word of a sentence must be a capital letter, so must be the first letter of each substantive word in a title, so must be the first letter of a proper noun, and so must be at least the first letter of any brand name, or so I once thought.

Hello, adidas, at&t, intel, and citibank, among others:

   

As you may have inferred from a prior post of mine on the adidas brand (there, I did it), I’m having a hard time accepting the apparent trend toward lower case brand names and visual identities.

Make no mistake, this trend appears to be gaining steam, as evidenced by the numerous “before and after” re-brand comparisons found on UnderConsideration’s Brand New blog over the past year or so, including girl scouts, jcpenney, sears, arn, postnl, airtel, spilgames, coinstar, pur, virgin atlantic, travel channel, nickelodeon, pwc, meredith, hub, astraltcbytechnicolor, cometxfinity, belk, mapquest, and:

Although I’d like to invite and actually welcome the far more professional wisdom of our trusted visual identity brethren and other learned branding and marketing types, until then, I’m guessing this trend has at least something to do with wanting to position a brand as being friendlier, less stiff and formal, more accessible, kinder, and gentler, etc. Perhaps a visual identity more likely to create a stronger emotional bond and connection between the brand and its consumers?

   

Perhaps the trend is explained by the visual equivalent of what I previously wrote about in Exposing Two-Faced Brands, the trend toward brand name truncation, and what Susan and I wrote together about in a second article about Exposing Two Faced Brands. Basically, The Shack has more emotional potential than Radio Shack, and The Hut is more connecting than Pizza Hut, and Chuck is more personable than Charles Schwab

Having said that, it is worth noting that some visual identity changes and re-branding efforts appear to have accomplished a friendlier approach by moving from all cap type styles to leading cap styles, but they don’t go all the way to an all lower case style:

And, for what ever reason, a few appear to be heading back in the opposite direction from their lower case roots:

What if the following brands were to migrate from an all capital letter visual identity to an all lower case format?

    

Some might be concerned about having an all lower case visual identity encourage genericide. As you may recall, Kleenex has engaged in consumer education advertising to discourage genericide. And, I suspect this campaign was inspired by the famous Xerox campaign to avoid genericide: “When you use ‘xerox’ the way you use ‘aspirin,’ we get a headache.”

Indeed, all lower case news and media references are often relied upon by litigation adversaries hoping to prove the generic nature of their opponent’s federally-registered trademark.

To the extent this is a valid concern, was the Xerox brand’s movement to an all lower-case style a wise one?

What are your thoughts on this all-lower-case visual identity and branding trend?

UPDATE: