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Don’t abuse of uppercase letters

Uppercase vs lowercase reading

Have you tried reading the above two lines? The one that contains only uppercase letters seems to be harder to read, doesn't it? Well, it is true. Uppercase words are harder to read. Throughout this post I will highlight some facts that back up this statement.

First of all, lets see when we should be using uppercase letters and words. Capitals are used for capitalization, emphasis, acronyms, names and alike. You see a trend don't you? Capitals shouldn't be used in body copy or just simple lines of text for that matter.

uppercase text

Uppercase letters do not contain ascenders or descenders, which are proved to help recognition. Keyword here: recognition. Some researchers state that people read easily lowercase text because the brain recognizes some words due to the ascenders and descenders found inside them. Your brain recognizes words just by taking a glance at them, before actually reading the entire word. Uppercase letters don't have ascenders and descenders so in order to grasp a word you have to read it in its entirety, because the brain won't recognize it as easily as it does in the case of lower case letters.

Lowercase text is easy to read

Moreover, in typesetting, when an acronym contains many letters, small-caps are used instead of full capitals to avoid overemphasizing the word. Furthermore, it is generally accepted that in digital media such as emails, websites, using allcaps is considered shouting. You wouldn't like your visitors to feel as if you were shouting at them, don't you?

Next on Typography

This was the first article in a series on typography. Next article will contain information about measure, leading, tracking and word spacing. If you enjoyed this article you can stay updated to new content via our RSS feed or by email.

Published on Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 at 1:00 pm in typography.

About Bogdan Pop

Bogdan Pop is a young Romanian entrepreneur who runs WebRaptor. He is a web developer with awesome design skills, who enjoys writing about everyday's work and usability. He relaxes by taking photos every once in a while and by mixing french electronic music. Connect with him via Twitter.

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