Copy-wise: Capitalisation in headlines

Copy-wise: Capitalisation in headlines





Copy-wise: Capitalisation in headlines


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

Or, in the US, that might be written Capitalization In Headlines.

And there’s the rub. In different countries there are different conventions around using capital letters.

We have written previously about what we call random acts of capitalisation. In that piece we link to this blog post from consultancy Erbut (A capital offense) which says it all, we feel.

Newspaper front pagesBut that was mainly about caps in the body of any piece of writing. How about in headlines or titles?

The simple rule, for us, is to use lower case as default. This in part comes from a UK tradition in headlines, at least in the press. The exception being all-caps headlines in tabloids.

But since the web came along this trend has become dominant.

Some prominent US publications take their print conventions online. Perhaps the Wall Street Journal or New York Times simply wouldn’t be the WSJ and NYT without that style. We get that.

But all those capitalised words look pretty busy on web pages, especially pages with lots of different items vying for attention.

Regardless of other important considerations such as font and context, our advice is to keep capitals for the first word of a sentence or proper nouns. Try it, if in doubt. You’ll see that approach looks cleaner.

*photo credit: TheeErin via photopin cc

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