From time to time I see worship lyrics projected with all letters capitalized (all caps). Even though using all caps in advertising looks stylish, using all caps for worship lyric projection is self-defeating. We project words on the screen to aid our audience in their worship singing experience so if they don’t know the words to a song, they can easily read them and take part in the event. The clearer and more readable the words are, the more engaged an audience can be in worship because less brain power is needed to decrypt the type.
The way we read quickly, typically at a rate of three to four words per second, is to comprehend words by their shape and not by their individual letters. A fitting example of this can be found in the following paragraph. Notice how even though the letters between the first and last letters of the word are mixed up, you can still swiftly read the sentences without much hesitation.
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
This is possible because the first and last letters of a word create a visual boundary that helps our brains recognize the word. When we use all caps, we loose the shape words create and our brains cannot quickly distinguish them. To read and comprehend words that are all capitalized, our eyes need to look at the individual letters of a word and this requires more concentration which results in less audience engagement.
Here is the same paragraph as the example above and is now written with only capital letters:
AOCCDRNIG TO RSCHEEARCH AT CMABRIGDE UINERVTISY, IT DEOSN’T MTTAER IN WAHT OREDR THE LTTEERS IN A WROD ARE, THE OLNY IPRMOETNT TIHNG IS TAHT THE FRIST AND LSAT LTTEER BE AT THE RGHIT PCLAE. THE RSET CAN BE A TOATL MSES AND YOU CAN SITLL RAED IT WOUTHIT A PORBELM. TIHS IS BCUSEAE THE HUAMN MNID DEOS NOT RAED ERVEY LTETER BY ISTLEF, BUT THE WROD AS A WLOHE.
Did you notice that it takes more concentration and time to read the paragraph? That is because our brains need to spend extra time recognizing the shapes of letters rather than the faster alternative of word shape recognition.
The purpose of song lyric projection is to help our audience be active in the worship singing experience. We want to do everything we can to foster this and to remove any distraction that gets in the way. I recommend that you continue to use sentence case structure to project your worship song lyrics and explore alternative techniques for creative stylization.
What is your experience with all caps for worship lyric projection?
Need help composing, editing and presenting worship slides? Download The Worship Media Handbook by Jeff McIntosh.