the phrygian cap


luisbg

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"all religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. all these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom." albert einstein

what the cap?



some people have been asking me why i don't use capital letters in my blog.

so here is the explanation. back in 1925, the bauhaus abolished capital letters in all their printed materials.

inside its difficult social/political time the bauhaus revolutionized the world of architecture, design, and art. their modernist designs were centered in functionality, simplicity, rationality, and taking art to the masses through mass production. in summary, our day to day habits, habitats and tools... cheaper, better, simpler.

i'm a huge fan of the bauhaus school, and i follow their principles whenever possible, which go far and beyond design. it even was the reason i got involved in free/open source software.

lowercase bauhaus font


the bottom of each piece of bauhaus papers read:
"we only use small characters because it saves time. moreover, why have 2 alphabets when one will do? why write capitals if we cannot speak capitals?"



"less is more",
mies van der rohe. last director of the bauhaus school.

36 Comentarios


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Comentarios

1
De: Blimundus Fecha: 2011-03-24 13:02

Uh, what about the caps in "The Phrygian Cap"?

Your replacement of "its" by "it's" in your third paragraph is a clear example of "more is less"...



2
De: OdyX Fecha: 2011-03-24 13:51

Nice concept; Now to push it to its limits, you should probs
ably avoid spaces after commas, write "alfabet" instead of the redundant "alphabet", strip all double-letters (botom, pocible, dificult, sumary, ...) and all silent-h: abits, abitats. Then you would really spare entropy !

:-)



3
De: sam Fecha: 2011-03-24 14:15

wish i could get away with this is my thesis.



4
De: Martin Owens Fecha: 2011-03-24 14:19

I fully support using the apostrophe for the it-has contraction/possessive. Ignore our good friend Blimundus on this one.



5
De: luisbg Fecha: 2011-03-24 15:17

blimundus, you got me there, touche. fixed!

odyx, i hope you are joking :P

sam, very true. i still use caps in official and work related documents. i'm not that radical. wouldn't spellchecking be a lot easier if we could though?

martin, thanks for your moral support :)



6
De: Mackenzie Fecha: 2011-03-24 16:39

Sometimes caps are needed though. For example, differentiating between "the doctor" (who you go to for checkups) and "The Doctor" (who travels in time and space).



7
De: luisbg Fecha: 2011-03-24 17:03

mackenzie, wouldn't context help on differentiating?



8
De: Sonya Fecha: 2011-03-24 22:55

Good point your bauhaus' preferences. I like too. But I defend the use of capital letters also as a composition's resource although tipography is not my field. By the way, I love 'small capitals'.



9
De: Roddie Fecha: 2011-03-26 07:13

Using all lower-case makes it more difficult to read.



10
De: Nick Mailer Fecha: 2011-03-26 09:35

Using capital letters is polite, and helps your reader to parse your text. Whilst it is redundant in the sense that Bauhaus mentions, it is also redundant in the good, data-protective sense. It provides, along with punctuation, excellent visual clues to the beginning of new sentences. It provides our eyes and brains useful milestones when parsing and chunking text. Thus, if you do not use capital letters, you're effectively saying "I don't care so much about the reader, and am going to make him work harder, just to allow me to type a bit more quickly". I find that rude :-)



11
De: Dario Bertini Fecha: 2011-03-31 11:28

uhm, i usually just try to skip capitals, but at the end of the day i always wonder (and thus waste time) if i should use a capital for entities that clearly don't need a capital to disambiguate (eg: france, god, microsoft)

on the readability issue: i think that capitals help readability only when sentences aren't separated by newlines, and you can see this difference in this very place, with the luisbg posts compared to what nick mailer wrote.

since i usually use newlines, i prefer to skip capitals, but sometimes it seems that i use an excess of whitespace, and thus using plain-old dots+capitals seems like a good space-saving alternative

but then, this usually means that i'll interleave paragraphs written with these 2 different styles (capital at the start of sentences, but not at the start of paragraphs), and this solution may very well be worse than both alternatives



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