Public Editor

Why is shoe company’s name written in lower case?

Updated: 2013-06-07T14:54:20Z

A caller this morning asked a good question while reading the Sports Daily section in print:

“There’s an article here about KU signing a deal with Adidas, and through the whole thing, there’s no capital A on the company’s name. How could something like that happen? It’s just so weird. Obviously, there are capital letters everywhere else (in the story).”

In this case, the Sports department was following The Associated Press’ style book ruling on unconventional company names. It reads, in part:

Generally, follow the spelling and capitalization preferred by the company: eBay. But capitalize the first letter if it begins a sentence.

However, it also counsels:

Do not use all-capital-letter names unless the letters are individually pronounced: BMW. Others should be uppercase and lowercase. Ikea, not IKEA; USA Today, not USA TODAY.

It further says not to use symbols or “contrived spellings,” such as E*Trade.

I certainly don’t make the rules, and I agree The Star should decide on a style and stick to it. However, I personally think the AP rules are completely contradictory. I see no justification for allowing all-lowercase spellings but not all-uppercase.

The AP style says the guidelines are to keep things from confusing the reader. Printing company names in all lowercase does exactly the opposite, as my caller this morning proves. (The Web editors evidently agree, as the online version uses the name capitalized — as it should be.)

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