The role of a designer is to weave together subtle elements and small details that ultimately create a succinct, knock-you-off-your-socks overall impression of your brand.
Generally speaking, each of these details is strategically and aesthetically considered for its impact, readability, and end-to-end user experience. And one of the most impactful elements of a brand’s tone, aesthetic, and messaging … is the font.
Choosing the right case can completely change the tone and mood of your brand, enhance the visual hierarchy of text, contribute to brand behavior, make it easier to scan and read, and even convey brand positioning.
What is Letter Case?
Letter case is an important aspect of typography – the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing. In addition to uppercase and lowercase letters, there are also variations of letterforms such as italics, bold, and underlining that can be used to create emphasis and hierarchy within the text. The intentional selection and use of letter cases and other typographic elements can significantly impact the overall design and readability of a piece of text.
Uppercase letters are typically used for proper nouns, the first letter of a sentence, and acronyms, while lowercase letters are used for, well, everything else. While this might seem like a small detail, how a letter case is applied and carried across a design has a significant impact on the overall look, feel, and readability of your brand’s verbal identity.
Whether it’s uppercase, lowercase, or a mix of both, the impact of letter case can help designers create more clear, more effective, and more engaging designs – every time.
Why is Letter Case Important During Design?
Letter Case selection is pretty critical to the design process for a few key reasons:
- Readability: Studies show that all uppercase or lowercase letters are more difficult to read than text with mixed letter cases. To optimize readability, designers should try to use varying shapes and sizes of different letters to help to differentiate between words and enhance the flow of reading.
- Create Emphasis: Letter case can be used to create emphasis and hierarchy within the text with a few subtle shifts. By incorporating uppercase letters for headings or important words, designers can draw attention to those elements and help readers quickly scan the text for highlights.
- SEO: Letter casing can also be used to drive SEO by designing H1, H2, and H3 headings/subheadings to fall in the right place with the right keywords. Capitalizing keywords helps crawlers to decipher the subject matter of the content and key points.
- Set the Tone: Letter case can be used to create a specific tone or mood within a piece of content/text design. For example, all-uppercase text can be used to convey a sense of urgency or importance, while all-lowercase text can be used to create a more casual, informal, friendly tone.
- Brand Identity: An is an important aspect of brand identity and brand authenticity; consistent use of font and letter casing can help brands stay consistent. Brands can use fonts and unique letter casing to set them apart from command and can help to differentiate one brand from another.
Five Key Types of Letter Case
There are five design-specific uses for letter casing, each with its own unique characteristics and specific applications. Understanding the where and the why can help designers carry out consistent, succinct designs that can help build a strong brand identity, brand visibility, and brand voice.
1. Title Case (TC): “The Title of Something Important”
In the title case, the first letter of each word is capitalized, with the exception of articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. Title Case is common for book titles, headlines, and other types of headings. It’s often an H1 heading in design.
2. Sentence Case (SC): “Standard to the most body copy.”
In sentence cases, only the first letter of the first word in a sentence and proper nouns are capitalized. This is common for body copy across most forms of design and text.
3. Uppercase (UC): “ALL CAPITALS”
All letters are capitalized in an Uppercase letter case. This is commonly used for headings and titles but is notoriously difficult to read when used for large blocks of text. Designers often avoid uppercase, outside-of-emphasis, or CTAs.
4. Lowercase (LC): “all lowercase letters.”
In lowercase, all letters are in their lowercase form. Commonly used for informal or creative text, all lowercase can also be difficult to read when used for big chunks of text.
5. camelCase (CC): “camelCase style”
In the camel case, the first letter of each word is capitalized, but there are no spaces between words. This is almost exclusively used in programming and coding to create a distinction between variable names and function names.
How to Use Letter Case to Improve User Experience
Applying letter cases to designs can have a significant impact on the user experience, brand recognition, and brand design. Using clear and consistent letter casing across all branding and marketing collateral can make it easier for users to quickly and accurately read and interpret the information offered. This can help reduce confusion and frustration in the user experience and save readers time in capturing your messaging.
The intentional use and design of letter cases can also help to create a cohesive and visually appealing brand design. By choosing letter casing that complements other design elements, such as color and typography, designers can create a harmonious and engaging visual identity that holds its place. Harmonious designs can feel inviting for users and effectively move them through a journey.
By using unique letter casing in a brand’s logo and other design elements, designers can create a visual cue that helps users quickly recognize and remember the brand. This can also help to create a sense of brand loyalty and trust.
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