Journalists should not write company names in capital letters.
A handful of technology brands insist their names are all capitals. In recent days I’ve seen Asus and Gigabyte push this idea. There are others.
Companies can write their names however they want.
They don’t need to worry about being literate, sensible or easy to read. Although all of those things might help them.
On the other hand literacy is an important part of the journalist’s tool bag. Our job is making information understood.
This means ignoring demands to spell company names in capitals unless there are good, practical reasons to do otherwise. I’ll look at these in a moment.
Readers come first
Our job is serving readers. We do this by making information easy to get and understand. Messing around with capitals interferes with that role. Capitals are the reading equivalent of speed bumps, they slow a reader’s flow.
The flip side of that argument means companies have an incentive to insist on using capitals in brand names. Words spelled out in capitals stand out in text passages. They leap out from a page or screen.
Editors who nod through product names in capitals knowingly or unknowingly put brands’ interests ahead of their reader’s interests. Some readers will realise this and learn not to trust the publication.
When company name are capitals
We pronounce names like HP or IBM as a string of letters. It therefore makes sense to write them as capitals. This doesn’t apply when company names are acronyms forming a pronounceable word.