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Once upon a time, someone (either Don Marquis or E.E. Cummings) figured out that if you futz around with the typography of your name, it will appear more distinctive in relation to other names. This was true then – but since every teenage poet and corporate brander has come to the same conclusion, we’re now faced with a situation in which non-standard typography is nearly standard.

How standard?

One of the bands whose mailing list I’m on (The Hidden Messages) entered an “unsigned band” contest sponsored by Intel. Of the 265 bands listed, nearly one-third (78) displayed their names either in ALL CAPS, all lower-case, featuring InterCapitaliZation, runtogetherasifit’soneword, or with superfluous numerals tacked8 on4. I didn’t count lower-cased or all-capped entries if they appeared to be only e-mail addresses, nor did I count intercapitalization when it’s standard (surnames like “McDonald”) or numbers that were relevant to the makeup of the act (such as the Bob Smith 3 if it had three members).

The breakdown:

All caps: 12
Non-standard lower-casing: 25
Non-standard intercapitalization: 9
Words run together: 23
Superfluous numerals: 9

There are some double-dippers. I think the champion is an act called (take several aspirin now; wait until they take effect to read on) ill-a-noiZe. They should have been “ill-a-noiZ3” if they’d wanted the crown for real, though.

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