Capitalisation rules – the basics

capitalisation basics

If you have ever read an old newspaper (early nineteenth century) and you look carefully at the old broadsheets. You will notice that words are capitalised here and there and that the rules of capitalisation, some of which you will learn shortly, seem nonexistent.

A screenshot of the Sydney Gazette, 1815
A screenshot of the Sydney Gazette, 1815. Capitalisation is not consistent and seems to be random

And so they were. In those days, one capitalised words according to their tastes. We have come a long way since then. Now, there are rules (for better or worse) which we must all follow.

Capital letters eliminate a lot of confusion when we write. Although the rules are not too complicated if we use common sense, capitalisation seems to give people more problems than other kinds of written English usage.

Capitals are used on words that name a particular or special person, place or thing, or what we call “proper nouns”.   Words such as river or association are capitalised only if a particular one is named. The rules are quite clear-cut, except for some reason, days of the week rate capitals and season of the year do not. I intend to provide you with only some of the essential rules; the rest you will find in a good grammar book. Here they are

1. Capitalise everyone’s name and the names of special places.

People – Harvey Weinstein (Even if he is a despicable person, you would still have to capitalise his name.
Continents – Europe (as well as Europeans)
Countries – Australia (as well as Australians)
States – Victoria (as well as Victorians)
Cities – Sydney and Melbourne
Rivers – Parramatta River
Lakes – Lake George
Parks – Centennial Park
Streets – Bailey Street

2. Capitalise particular things

Days of the week – Monday, Tuesday, etc
Months of the year – January, February
Organisations – Australian Government Department of Human Services
Documents – The Australian Constitution
Buildings – Town Hall

3. Capitalise particular titles

Books – “The Holy Bible”
Movies – “Star Wars”
Songs – “Teenage Dream”
Professions – Dr Peter Blainey, Reverend Peter O’Toole
Rank – Captain John Paul Jones
Relatives – Uncle John
Office – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

If you enjoyed this post you may also like to read

Exploring fractals and design – Encyclopedia of Design

Fractals are intricate geometric structures created when patterns (or pieces of patterns) are altered and duplicated at ever-diminishing scales. Besides having a tremendously important effect across a range of sciences, fractals make a stunning picture on your tablet. Even simple shapes can quickly grow complicated when they are altered again and again.

Advertisements

Graphic Design – Amazon

* This website may contain affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission when you click on links at no additional cost.  As an Amazon and Sovrn affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

More on Graphic Design

  • Ikko Tanaka (1930 -2002)  ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Graphic Design blend of East and West

    Ikko Tanaka (1930 -2002) ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Graphic Design blend of East and West

    Ikko Tanaka was a Leading Graphic Designer in Japan. He had an enormous impact on the post-war visual culture in Japan.Read More →

  • How Paul Rand influenced Steve Jobs to accept the the visual identity for NeXT.

    How Paul Rand influenced Steve Jobs to accept the the visual identity for NeXT.

    During Steve Job’s time at NeXT he commissioned graphic designer Paul Rand to create the visual identity for NeXT. Rand had the reputation for exerting great influence on his clients, he created a 100-page branding book to help Steve Jobs understand the entire design process hidden behind the NeXT identity.ย Read More →

  • AIGA – American Institute of Graphic Arts – What is it?

    AIGA – American Institute of Graphic Arts – What is it?

    The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) is a professional design organisation. Members practice all forms of communication design, including graphic design, typography, interaction design, user experience, branding and identity. The objective of the organisation is to be the standard bearer of professional ethics and practice in the design profession. TRead More →

  • Typography Books from Amazon

    Typography Books from Amazon

    Typography is one of design’s most delightful frontiers, a strange medley of timeless rituals and timely transformation in the face of technical progress, whether you’re a serious artist, a recreational type-nerd, or a casual lover of the fine letterform you will enjoy this selection of books.Read More →

  • Alexey Brodovitch (1898 – 1971) ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ  graphic designer and magazine art director

    Alexey Brodovitch (1898 – 1971) ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ graphic designer and magazine art director

    Alexey Brodovitch (1898 – 1971) was an American/Russian graphic designer and magazine art director. Alexey Brodovitch was born in Russia and worked in Paris in the 1920s, creating books, posters, furniture, and advertising. He moved to America in 1930 and worked as the art director of Harper’s Bazaar magazine in New York after a brief stint of teaching and advertising.Read More →

  • Abram Games (1914 – 1996) British graphic and industrial designer

    Abram Games (1914 – 1996) British graphic and industrial designer

    In acknowledging his power as a propagandist, he claimed, “I wind the spring and the public, in looking at the poster, will have that spring released in its mind.” Read More →

  • Michael Peters (b. 1941) British Graphic Designer

    Michael Peters (b. 1941) British Graphic Designer

    The 1980s in Britain were marked by an apparent economic rebound and a newfound enthusiasm among Britons for business, risky capitalism, and design. Design was pushed as a fundamental ingredient to financial success by a new generation of design entrepreneurs, one of them being Michael Peters.Read More →

  • Herbert Bayer: Inspiration and Process in Design

    Herbert Bayer: Inspiration and Process in Design

    Herbert Bayer (1900โ€“1985) was one of the most influential graphic designers of the twentieth century, with a prolific career spanning more than six decades and two continents. As a student and teacher at the Bauhaus, he used geometry, photomontage, functional analysis, and simplified typography to forge a new approach to graphic design. This book explores the evolution of Bayer’s design process, from his student works featuring hand lettering to mechanically printed typography and hyperreal photo illustrations.Read More →

  • Karel Teige (1900 – 1951) Czech art critic, typographic artist and collagist

    Karel Teige (1900 – 1951) Czech art critic, typographic artist and collagist

    Between the wars, Teige was a prominent figure in Czech art and architecture. He was the editor of many avant-garde magazines, including Disk, Stavba, and ReD, and wrote about photography. Read More →

  • Herb Lubalin (1918 – 1981) renowned graphic designer

    Herb Lubalin (1918 – 1981) renowned graphic designer

    Renowned American graphic designer, Herb Lubalin, best known for his collaborations with Ralph Ginzburg on the magazines Eros, Fact andย  Avant Garde,ย  is regarded as one of the seminal designers of the 20th century. The, 17 March 2018, will mark what would have been Lubalin’s 100th birthday.Read More →

  • Stanley Morison (1889-1967)  – Designer of Times New Roman typeface

    Stanley Morison (1889-1967) – Designer of Times New Roman typeface

    Stanley Morison, widely regarded as one of the most influential typographic designers of the twentieth century, was drawn to the subject by his passionate interest. Early on, he worked for several publishers and printing houses, including Francis Meynell’s Pelican Press and the Cloister Press. Read More →

  • Milton Glaser (1929 – 2020) American Graphic Designer

    Milton Glaser (1929 – 2020) American Graphic Designer

    Co-founder of Push Tin Studios. The colourful posters of designer-illustrator Milton Glaser epitomise an era for the Woodstock generation. His psychedelic ‘American Sixties style’ was a synthesis of various influences ranging from Surrealism to Islamic painting.Read More →

  • Emilio Ambasz Argentine architect and designer

    Emilio Ambasz Argentine architect and designer

    Emilio Ambasz is an Argentinean who studied architecture at Princeton University from 1960 to 1965, worked at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York from 1970 to 1975 as Curator of Design arranged the landmark Italy: The New Domestic Landscape Exhibition in 1972.Read More →

  • Wolff Olins British Design Studio

    Wolff Olins British Design Studio

    Wolff Olins has offices in London, Madrid, Lisbon, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo, and has been a leading British design agency for nearly four decades, with a special focus on corporate identity and branding. It is a subsidiary of Omnicom Group.Read More →

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) British painter and poet

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) British painter and poet

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a British painter and poet. He was born in London. He studied drawing with Cotman and, in 1848, with Holman Hunt. Read More →

  • Japanese Publication: Monthly Cosmopolitan. Cover

    Japanese Publication: Monthly Cosmopolitan. Cover

    Japanese Publication: Monthly Cosmopolitan. Aoyama Nozomi and Wakida Asuka (Cosmopolitan). 2015.Read More →

  • The Graphic Design Visionary Who Changed the Face of British Stamps

    The Graphic Design Visionary Who Changed the Face of British Stamps

    David Gentleman literally changed the face of British stamps. With more than 103 of his designs issued so far, and many more that were never used, he rightly deserves the accolade of โ€œmost prolific and acclaimed stamp designer in Britain.โ€Read More →

  • Claude Garamond (1510 – 1561) made the letter a living thing

    Claude Garamond (1510 – 1561) made the letter a living thing

    Little is known about the early life of France’s most distinguished type designer Claude Garamond, though he is mentioned as being “at work” in the printing business early in the sixteenth century, Garamond was commissioned by the French monarch, Francis I, to cut a font of Greek letter which later became known as the “Royal Greek Type.”ย Read More →

More design articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.