SUAN or Suan? How do we write brand names correctly in continuous text? What is permitted, what is necessary, and what rules govern proper spellings? The reception of a brand should be considered and designed holistically in order to do justice to its brand values. This includes any written mention of the brand. We asked the “red pencil” Rotstift how to do it right.
Text by Ramon Müller, Rotstift AG, in collaboration with Suan.
The German equivalent Bildmarke to logo already gets to the point: We are dealing here with images or image-like representations that actually have no place in the continuous text – after the Latin textus for letter fabric. This would alienate and overload the text. If one does not receive strict customer specifications in proofreading, this means for the text that a logo should not be listed as a picture, but quoted or paraphrased in letter form. If the company Woodpecker has the feathered creature as a logo, then in a continuous text not the bird is shown, but the word Woodpecker is listed: We at Woodpecker recommend ourselves for all maintenance work. Our Woodpecker employees are quickly on site.
The same applies to special spellings of trademarks or company names: In continuous text, proper names should be treated ordinarily. So it is not necessary to list the tool manufacturer BOSCH in such a versal way because it appears in capital letters next to the logo on the impact drill. So, without any special customer instructions, put: Bosch jigsaws are popular with every do-it-yourselfer. Bosch is one of the leading tool manufacturers. This is all the more important to bear in mind when using Bosch in a third-party product, for example if a newspaper or trade magazine reports about Bosch and Bosch does not write about itself in a customer or employee magazine. The same procedure must be followed for brands that are shown in the logo in italics, with bold letters, lowercase letters, as cursive script, negative script, or as fancy script. Font markings per se have a different function and serve to structure the text. It also does no harm to the mark if it is usually woven into the rest of the text; on the contrary, the constant glittering appearance of special scripts can at best also seem puffery or pretentious and tire the readership. The purity of style described by the French literary critic and writer Sainte-Beuve, on the other hand, can have its good effects here as well.
Product and company names are proper nouns and must not be separated at line breaks. If this cannot be prevented in the case of a longer name in a narrow justification, it should exceptionally be separated only at a suitable (at most etymological) join:
Once the specifications and the customer’s request have been set, it is important that the name always appears consistently in the text and that there are no (additional) spelling variants, i.e. that it always says easyJet and EuroAirport and not even (standard language) Easyjet or Euroairport. Precise and verified customer guidelines are indispensable as an aid for the proofreader. In addition to checking spelling and grammar and, if necessary, style, the proofreader's task is to ensure that the proper spelling is consistently applied.
The aforementioned proper spellings have no grammatical context. For example, a sentence may then begin lowercase if the consequence requires: easyJet has increased their prices.
Likewise, declension endings are rarely appended: of the EuroAirport. On the other hand, the above also applies to line breaks: special spellings must not be separated (especially not). If this cannot be prevented, the same procedure must be followed:
Word creatures, as one could also name proper noun constructs, stand out from the rest of the law by their nature and actually do not enter into a connection with it too readily. Therefore, from a grammatical point of view, it should still be emphasized that one should switch to a paraphrase as much as possible when relationships are forming:
The employees of easyJet have their own access authorization to the EuroAirport. Instead of: The easyJet-employees have their own EuroAirport access authorization.
This also helps to counter the problem with the coupling dash or hyphen. Most customers reject this, even though it should be the correct one.
The copyright sign in the case of trademarks
If the trademarks are protected trademarks and registered trademarks, the relevant sign/indicative abbreviation (if possible, typographically correctly superscripted) should be listed with the respective trademark because it is closely associated with the trademark. Readers should also be made aware of this for legal reasons. There are no conclusively valid rules for the procedure or citation method, but there are principles: The sign should be cited either once at the beginning (first mention) with the trademark or otherwise consistently each time the corresponding trademark appears. On the other hand, it is also possible to mention the mark once in a while, if a rhythm is clearly recognizable, i.e. defined beforehand, for example always in the title, once per chapter or section, and so on.
The copyright sign in works
The copyright sign (©) is usually listed in the imprint at the beginning of the line with the year if it applies to the whole publication. If other works are cited within a publication, it may be placed in parentheses after the citation of a title if this is legally relevant, for example: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince (© Gallimard). Readers are thus made aware of which publisher holds the rights to the title.
Rotstift AG is happy to answer short questions by phone without obligation and regularly shares spelling tips on social media. A growing catalog of spelling questions can also be found on their website (in French, Italian and German):