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I need help finding some style rules to address an issue with a client. I'm working with an organization whose logo uses caps and italics with no spacing, like so:

VANDELAYindustries

Kind of '90s, but whatever.

The problem is, every time they write out their company name on the web or printed media, they do it with caps and italics. So it looks like this:

VANDELAYindustries consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed mollis lorem nisl, ac egestas odio tincidunt sed. Mauris ligula VANDELAYindustries nisi, fermentum ut libero eget, eleifend tincidunt metus. Donec fermentum, quam non maximus dictum, felis magna scelerisque lorem, sit amet mollis turpis mauris quis erat. Phasellus sapien nunc, eleifend vitae ex ut, porttitor imperdiet eros.

Suspendisse tempus semper hendrerit. Mauris vestibulum tincidunt rutrum. Aenean cursus quis metus in porta. Praesent in massa hendrerit, pulvinar nisl non, tempor ligula. Vivamus eget nibh in ante luctus congue consequat tempus libero VANDELAYindustries.

They also keep the caps when using the shortened version:

If you need widgets, call VANDELAY today.

I'm looking for some concrete, authoritative rules to cite when I bring this up to them. Can anyone help? The more specific, the better.

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    gack. I've had clients which did this, and one which had its name in small caps all the time. Beyond annoying. Most places where I've worked had the rule "Follow whatever the brand wants." For a while that included hand-setting the backwards R (Russian character) in Toys 'R' Us. So unfortunately I can only offer condolences, not rules which will allow you to write the company name normally. Aug 12 '15 at 16:14
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    Companies can style things however they like. As an editor/writer working for this company, you can offer to develop a style guide for their printed material if they don't already have one. Aug 12 '15 at 20:41
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If you work for a client, especially if you write advertising, brochures, operating manuals and other publications that they authorize or even publish, they dictate the style. (The same is true in fiction or news or science or any other kind of writing, too, by the way. All publishing houses have their own style manuals, and if it bothers you to put a company name in italics, then writing for that company is not the right job for you.)

If you write for scholarly or news publications, their rules generally dictate to write company names and other trademarks as normal words, all in lowercase letters, unless they are acronyms (e.g. IBM). Adding "TM" to a trademark in science or news is zany, don't do it. And no one cares if companies dislike that (except for those scientists that are being paid by the companies for their favourable results). But these style rules only apply to the publications of those publishing houses or scientific disciplines, and are irrelevant for a company website. If you do so, you misunderstand the principle of style guides and their limited applicability. There is no universally corect style, and only self-publishing authors are free to write however they like.

tl;dr

It is your job to write the company name however the company likes it.

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  • You raise some good points. The core issue with their current practice is based on the lack of a style guide.
    – njbair
    Aug 12 '15 at 19:45
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    The more I think about it, they really need to shift their language to focus on what the customer can do, instead of talking about themselves. This should help minimize the occurrences of their brand name within body copy. I'm still going to recommend they adopt a style guide, and push for that to include branding style.
    – njbair
    Aug 12 '15 at 19:55
  • If you want to argue with them, you cannot argue with them based on some style guide that doesn't apply. If you write website copy, it doesn't matter what MLA or APA say, because those styles are not for websites presenting companies. Your arguments must be based on best practices for that field and on research showing what works in advertising. If you have proof, that writing that company name that way puts customers off, then they will understand. You could create different versions of the website text and have users rate the impression they have of the company, depending brand name style.
    – user5645
    Aug 13 '15 at 6:48
  • Creating a style guide is a good idea, if there is none.
    – user5645
    Aug 13 '15 at 6:50
  • You should try somehow to convince them it's butt-ugly, because it is. You would think they wouldn't Want a garish/obnoxious logo. But I guess the circumstances suggest they like it.
    – Jack Lynch
    Aug 14 '15 at 0:36

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