There are companies which spell their name in their logo in a non standard way, specifically in all caps or all lower case. Some examples are:


intel logo


acer logo


yahoo logo

Yet, when their names are written, whether by the companies themselves or others, they are spelled like normal names, only the first letter of each word is capitalized. This is strange to me especially since in the case of names of artists or artistic works like k.d. lang or Yellow mY skYcaptain the non-standard capitalization is conserved.

Why are names of companies are not capitalized as they appear in their logo?

* the exception to this is companies whose names are abbreviations, like IBM and NBC, where the capitalization stays, but I know that this is because abbreviations are written in all caps many times, even if it's not a name

* * this is not a question about special characters, or graphic elements in the logo, only about capitalization

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about marketing, not English. – Robusto Nov 13 '14 at 20:14
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    Because it is impossible. How do we add a swoosh to English? – Oldcat Nov 13 '14 at 20:16
  • @Robusto, I don't ask why companies chose to stylize their logo in a certain way, but why when writing the name of the company different capitalization is used. If the answer is "the company chooses how to capitalize its name, and they chose to write it in text in a different way than the logo" put it as an answer, If there is a law that says that company names are written like normal names regardless of their logo, or any other answer, put it. Also, this doesn't apply to non verbal logos or non alphabetic elements in the logo, like the swoosh, or the artists formerly known as Prince. – SIMEL Nov 13 '14 at 20:21
  • Company names are generally spelled as they appear in their Certificates of Incorporation not in their "Logo": Also called logotype. a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition. – user66974 Nov 13 '14 at 20:21
  • This isn't an English question, but might be a question for Graphic Design. – 200_success Nov 13 '14 at 23:30

The company's official, legal name is the one by which it is registered with the government agency of the country in which the corporation is incorporated (e.g. here in the UK, Companies House).

The company can have as as many logos as it likes and they can look like whatever it wants them to, but that doesn't change the legal name of the company (which cannot contain graphics in any jurisdiction, so far as I'm aware).

Restrictions vary by country, here is a summary of the UK ones:

  1. What will be disregarded?

    The full list is set out in the regulations. They include:

    • designated name endings (including permitted abbreviations and Welsh equivalents), e.g. "limited", "unlimited", "public limited company"

    • certain words and expressions including "biz", "co", "co.uk", "com", "company", "UK", "United Kingdom", "Wales", "Cymru", "net", "org.uk", "services", "international"

    • a blank space between or after a word, expression, character, sign or symbol

    • punctuation including a full stop, comma, colon, bracket, apostrophe

    • characters "*", "=", "#", "%" and "+" when used as one of the first three characters in a name

    • "s" at the end of a name (irrespective of whether it is a plural)

    • "the" and "www" at the beginning of a name

    • any characters after the first 60 characters in a name


In more detail - here is the law which (here in the UK) governs what symbols may be used in company names:

Permitted characters

  1. (1) This regulation sets out the characters, signs, symbols and punctuation that may be used in the name of a company registered under the Act (“the permitted characters”).

(2) The following permitted characters may be used in any part of the name—

(a)any character, sign or symbol set out in table 1 in Schedule 1;

(b)0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9;

(c)full stop, comma, colon, semi-colon or hyphen; and

(d)any other punctuation referred to in column 1 of table 2 in Schedule 1 but only in one of the forms set out opposite that punctuation in column 2 of that table.

(3) The signs and symbols set out in table 3 in Schedule 1 are permitted characters that may be used but not as one of the first three permitted characters of the name.

(4) The name must not consist of more than 160 permitted characters.

The Company and Business Names (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2009

On the issue of capitalization: here in the UK company names do not contain uppercase/lowercase - they are all in uppercase (see a company search). The company can refer to itself using whatever case it wants to.

Usually a company name will be treated by third parties the same as any other proper noun in English; if the company name is an abbreviation then it will be treated the same as any other abbreviation in English.

tl;dr: the logo doesn't set the name of the company.

  • The question is not about special characters, or graphic elements, only about capitalization style. I've changed the counter examples to better reflect this. – SIMEL Nov 13 '14 at 20:50
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    @IlyaMelamed - the use of a specific capitalisation style is part of the 'creative' aspect typical of a Logo, but has generally little or no relation to the legal original name of a company!! – user66974 Nov 13 '14 at 21:00
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    What very odd regulations. I think I’m going to make a company and call it Co*s Services UK, Ltd. According to the list given here, that name will be disregarded in its entirety. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 26 '18 at 9:24
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    @JanusBahsJacquet My favourite company name is ; DROP TABLE "COMPANIES";-- LTD. beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10542519 – A E Jan 20 at 17:42
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    @AE I take it little Bobby Tables is the CEO of that company. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 20 at 17:46

One reason is that company names are often registered in legal paperwork, before they generate a "wordmark" or logo. Even after the initial "wordmark" or logo is created, it is later updated, modernized, changed for changing social standards. Ask a graphic artist if they would accept a job with the limitation that a logo match the legal name of a company.

  • Companies don't usually change their logo often, there is no reason for new articles to have new capitalization if it changes in the logo. No body calls IBM Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation anymore and KFC is no longer referred to as Kentucky Fried Chicken. There isn't a reason that capitalization of names can't change as companies change their logos and style. – SIMEL Nov 13 '14 at 20:59

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