Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hand-Drawn BlOCK lETTERS

Yitz Complicated shares this apropos trailer with lowercase L readers, figuring we like this kind of stuff.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I thought this piney picture would be appropriate for the holiday season. Outside the Tarzian Hardware store on 7th Ave in Park Slope, you can get PAPERWHITES! Somewhat less enthusiastically, you can find AMARYllIS, too. It looks like this might be a letter crunching case, since double uppercase L's would have pushed the writing to the edge of the chalkboard. Bonus points for the tittle on the uppercase i.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Here's a lowercase L that Sarah Palin would be proud of. This AlASKA backpack was discovered on the FAIl Blog by Kit, who points out:

1. An uppercase L was clearly substituted with an uppercase i.
2. The Canadian flag, for Alaska?
3. Since 1988?

Now, can someone explain the backpack to the left: L HEART NY?

Sunday, November 29, 2009


LOOK! Peter W. explained how difficult it is to find lowercase L mistakes in his country, which is why this frothy CARlSBERG calamity discovered in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire in England was particularly rewarding.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thrift Rift

Girl after my own heart, Shana G, submitted this curbside abomination, just in time for the holiday season. Found outside the church-run thrift shop on 96th Street in Manhattan — where I once bought a solid Samsonite wheeled luggage for $10! — Shana points out that HOlDAY could either be missing an uppercase i or an uppercase L, but either way the whole thing is a mess. I might suggest that the author, confused by his own faulty penmanship after carelessly scribbling a lowercase L, thought he had already written the uppercase i in HOLIDAY, and continued writing from that point.

And to think I once patronized this establishment!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Repeat offender outer Rimpy submits a new find from Home Depot, which is apparently becoming a depot for improperly used lowercase L's. I'm not sure how DuPont would feel about their TEFlON brand being misrepresented like this. Without the uppercase L, it's just plain old POlYTETRAFlUOROETHYlENE.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eldorado POOl

It starts with P, rhymes with T, and that stands for TROUBLE! That's what Jeremy thinks of the POOl hall he found on West 11, just a few blocks from the VEGETABlES in Eugene, Oregon.

Friday, November 06, 2009

DOUBlE Trouble

Sarah found this DOUBlE AD SUNDAY, ironically, at the L&L Food Center in Holt, Michigan. No wonder there is PlENTY OF PARKING.

Monday, October 26, 2009

No L in our POOl

Michael A. from Newtown, MA inquires:
It's perplexing enough why someone would want to pull off the road in Newtown, Massachusetts, and pick up some "POOl WATER." But actively choosing a lowercase l out of a box of letters is a whole different ballgame from simply writing one. Why, oh, why, pool water purveyor? That takes the kind of singlemindedness and sense of purpose that our nation so sorely lacks today.

I'm wondering if that red sequence of numbers is the phone number, or the number of people who have stopped by to ask, "Why the f**k are you selling POOl WATER?"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Rose SAlE is a Rose SAlE

Bob of sister blog Why a Tittle? reports from Route 1, north of Bath, Maine with this roadside ANNUALS and ROSE SAlE. This example just furthers my suspicion that readerboard letter manufacturers aren't distributing enough uppercase L's, as the fellow who arranged this sign seems to have started off with good intentions. Still, despite this reasonable explanation, Bob was wise in exercising caution by remaining in his car and snapping the photo from a safe distance, as you can see in the full photo below.

Monday, October 19, 2009

REAl Estate

Adam in Brooklyn found this landlord's lowercase L in the window of a real estate agency on Court Street. Is a REAl 2 bedroom apartment just as real as one written with all uppercase letters? This looks like another case of premature un-capitalization, the result of letting go of the shift key one letter too soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Still feeling BlAH after the flu, but just enough energy to post this bit of NYC vandalism.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Fellow blogger Bob believes the person who spelled out the message on this reader board in Jacksonville, Florida had a choice between uppercase and lowercase L in WAlGREENS. But I'm beginning to think I've never actually seen an uppercase L used on a reader board, and the letter manufacturers may not even produce them. Perhaps they just want us to use an upside-down 7 instead. That would actually be better than using the lowercase L, I think.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Lowercase L Depot

Lowercase L regular contributor Rimpy Rimpington returns with more tragedy from The Home Depot. When asked about the source of these lowercase L offenses, like the WASHERlESS Kitchen Faucet, and the BlOWER/TRIMMER below, Rimpy explained:

There is more than one HD associate responsible for those signs, because they come from two different stores. I do know one sign maker who sometimes uses the lowercase L, but I'm afraid to question her about it. If anyone at those stores got a hint I've been mercilessly blogging (or contributing to blogs) about them, I might be in big trouble. Besides, if they stopped doing it, a steady source of bloggable material would dry up.

Either way, Rimpy, we appreciate your dedication to the cause. Like any good anthropologist, you are making the right choice to not interfere with this natural psychological phenomenon.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts, I'm just recovering from the FlU. We return with a disturbing series of images taken by Jamie at a True Value store in Hollister, CA. Jamie also wonders why, unlike the green and yellow GlOVES, there is only one gray GlOVE for sale below. That doesn't seem like a True Value at all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FlU season

'Tis the season ... FlU season, that is. Mrs. HLP found this sign for FlU SHOTS outside the local Kroger supermarket in Kentucky, where apparently the Health Department are running out of the vaccine. It looks like the first symptoms of the FlU are already beginning to affect the local residents — impaired judgement, acute dysgraphia ... the situation does not look good. Some poor employee at the Kroger market is already infected. If you run into him, use the grocery store scene in this Zombieland trailer as your guide to survival.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Silly PHIllY

I'm beginning to think that the folks who make letters for reader board signs and marquees absolutely do not manufacture any uppercase L's. Nephi and Katherine Allred spotted this offense at the Leatherby's in Salt Lake City, Utah. The combination of a double lowercase L preceded by an uppercase i makes this PHIllY CHEESE STEAK a particularly juicy treat. Definitely in the top 5 best lowercase L's ever submitted to date. SlC should stick to film festivals.

Friday, September 18, 2009


My buddy Berger Boy has proven himself a worthy friend once again. Found on Park Place between Underhill and Washington in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, Paul submits this GARBAGE REMOVAL ClEANING van. The lowercase-ness of the L is even more emphasized by the uppercase-ness of the i. Regardless of the L offense, I wouldn't hire a Man with a Van who was too cheap to at least paint a logo, instead of using a magic marker.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bug in a Rug

This rug FOR SAlE isn't such a rare find, with SAlE being one of the most common lowercase L offenses I've catalogued. But with the fellow selling the rug sitting right next to his merchandise as I snapped the photo, this scenario did present a rare opportunity to delve into the psychology of the lowercase L offender.

"Why are you taking a picture of my rug?" he asked.

"Oh, it's for a silly art project I'm working on, a photo blog about handwriting" I replied, keeping it vague to avoid having to explain, or worse, embarrassing the rugged rogue.

He pressed on, "And what is so special about my handwriting?"

I couldn't let the opportunity pass, since he confirmed having written the sign himself. "Well, my blog is about using lowercase L's in words that are otherwise written entirely in uppercase letters. You see here, you spelled SAlE with a lowercase L, which looks misleadingly like an uppercase i." I had to know, "So, were you aware that you wrote your L in this manner?"

In an attempt to save face in front of his friends, rug guy explained, with a series of incongruous gestures, "Well, yeah, I guess I did that on purpose, you know, because of the uppercase S, and the A, and the E ..."

His explanation didn't make sense. I felt his cognitive dissonance kicking in, as the rug salesman's expression went from cavalier to concerned. "Does that mean there's something wrong with me?" His friends giggled.

"Oh, not at all," I reassure him, somewhat unconvincingly, "It's a more common habit than you might imagine".

I walked away without buying the rug. I never intended to, anyway.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

FlAVORS of the month

Travis J. swears he didn't try any FlAVORS of the mini booze bottles located behind the counter at Mars' Cheese Castle in Kenosha, WI, presumably because of the improperly placed lowercase L. Though he was lenient enough to try the cheese, which, he says, was excellent.

Speaking of flavors, I spotted this flavored steamers dragon at a coffee shop in Brattleborough, VT a few months ago. While it isn't a case of lowercase L amidst uppercase letters, the L is still misleadingly small, like an i, I think.

So I'm breaking the rules and posting it here.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Hillary found this ElEVATOR sign in Beijing. It is easy to dismiss a lowercase L error in the Eastern world as one that was lost in translation. But I blame the mistake on us lazy Westerners, who can't keep a simple 26-letter alphabet simple and consistent. As a result, these Beijing elevator goers get the shaft.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Lara found this lowercase L bagel blunder at Manhattan Bagel in Lawrence Township, NJ. This could be a case of letter crunching, since there would not have been room for PUMPERNICKEl to fit with the uppercase L on the black placard. Still, this sign makes me feel like something is missing. I'll go with the everything bagel instead.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


While SAlE is one of the more common lowercase L offenses, sometimes it's not the SALE that is the offending word. In this case, it's the L in BlOWOUT SALE that is blown out. Discovered on 5th Avenue here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the store was probably liquidating and going out of business ... and they wonder why.

Monday, August 31, 2009


This week marks the end of the summer, and possibly the end of Coney Island as we know it. This steely blue sign for COlD SODAS may have something to do with it, taken earlier this month when friend Meir and I rode our bikes down to the boardwalk.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

SAlE 10% OFF

Ash P. found this sad sign at a now-defunct furniture store in Chandler, Arizona, where they once boasted a "SAlE 10% OFF eveything". Apparently that included the uppercase L in SALE and the letter r in "everything".

Saturday, August 29, 2009

FlAT broke

Jason Lee found this extra can of paint left behind by the builders. The INTERIOR FlAT makes me want to get in touch with the small car inside.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


It's hard enough to be losing your home in a foreclosure. Now rub it in with some lowercase L salt with this FREE & ClEAR sign right in front of your house as people drive by, gawking. In this submission found by Mike S. on Flickr, the lowercase L in Foreclosures isn't too bad — we're letting very tall lowercase L's amidst small caps slide. But the lowercase L in FREE & ClEAR is a clear breach of capitalization conduct.

Friday, August 14, 2009


In light of the recent controversial signing of Michael Vick to the Philadelphia Eagles, this lowercase L back signage expressing how much the EAGlES SUCK seems entirely appropriate. Discovered by Gail on, this photo makes me wonder, if the kid was a bit older, might his parent have had enough room to complete the full uppercase L?

And in case Dogfighter Vick finds this blog, he might be interested in this former post.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


At first glance, I didn't think much of this lowercase L submission, as the word SAlE, with it's lowercase L taller than the other uppercase letters, does not qualify as a good example here. But then I read what Doug of Toms River, NJ said about this whiteboard he found:
I've been walking past this marker board at work for weeks until I finally realized today why it intrigued me. I am especially amused by the vertical presentation of "TROUBlESHOOT" Also, note that what appears to say VPI is in fact VPl, as it stands for "vertical platform lift."

Not to be confused with Visible Panty Line.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


It's not uncommon to see the word PlEASE written with a lowercase L and all others uppercase. Even finding it written twice, as with PlEASE PlEASE DO NOT FEED CAT (no, you cannot has cheezburger) isn't such a stretch. But posting a correctional sign next to the offending one takes lowercase L to a new level of vigilance. Thank you, Keegan, for sending in this roadside read, and for reaching out to the offender with the hopes of educating him. And the world.

Though, Keegan, I must admit, I do find it amusing that you, self-appointed Signage Cop, almost had to resort to using a lowercase L in your own street smarts lesson, as you tried to fit CAPITALIZATION on that pretty white sign, but started to extended beyond a reasonable margin of comfort.

Monday, August 10, 2009

HEllO, Genius

Fellow Brooklyn blogger, mcbrooklyn, found this patronizing post on a wall next to a parking lot in neighboring Brooklyn Heights. It's ironic that the genius who wrote the sign, belittling the tailgater's mental abilities, exhibits clear symptoms of dysgraphia, not only with the trademark lowercase L in PlEASE, but with other randomly mixed lowercase and uppercase letters.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

VINElAND: A Homecoming

So this is where it all began, with the bountiful YARD SAlE of Vineland, NJ. I went home to stay with my parents for the weekend, for my high school 20 year reunion, graduating class of 1989. As a child, I recall seeing signs for YARD SAlES throughout the neighborhood, and being slightly bothered by the single lowercase L within all uppercase lettered words. I shrugged it off because I figured it was just a local thing. But as I got older, I began to recognize that this was not an isolated event. It was more widespread than I imagined. And through this blog, we've discovered, together, that the lowercase L phenomenon transcends not only time, but lands and languages as well. As you can see, these signs were written in 2009, considered modern times by most standards. But the lowercase L in SAlE remains the same, as if stuck in 1979. Below, even QUAIl is a big FAIl.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


The 12 FlAVORS at this kosher ice cream parlor in Midwood, Brooklyn don't compare to the better known 31 flavors of Baskin-Robbins. Parve may have something to do with it, but it's more likely a result of the misplaced lowercase L scribbled into the otherwise all uppercase word.

There's also an unnecessary dot on the uppercase i in SIDE, but that's not what we're about here, folks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Cascade Effect

The lowercase L phenomenon is puzzling enough, but there is an even stranger subset of lowercase L behavior that magnifies the mystery. I call it the Cascade Effect — this is when words are written in all uppercase letters, until the author hits an L and makes it lowercase, as well as all of the following letters in that word. In most lowercase L events, the writer then inexplicably switches back to uppercase letters immediately, but when the Cascade takes effect place, it's like there is no lowercase shutoff valve. Such is the case with CAlmly, above, submitted by Caitlin M.

And with these EARliglow strawberries.

Even this AMERICAN SOldIER had a momentary cascade, and then quickly recouped after letting the lowercase L and D trickle in.

I suspect that there is something about the L that triggers an instinct to start writing in lower case, and this cascade effect is more evidence of an invisible killer in the literary fields.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


lowercase L contributor Wendy Wong, whose international travels brought us the SAlTY BAR and MOVIE WORlD, goes domestic with this San Francisco lOVE letter, found on Passive Aggressive Notes. Apparently this note was left after a jilting third date, so no further explanation is necessary for the inconsistent upper and lowercase letters — blinded by lovesickness.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cafetorium ClOSED

Dashon B. speaks of this find:
This gem was found in Northhampton, MA, and even though there are many ClOSED signs floating around, this one is unique, as they caught them young (it's at an elementary school), and the word Cafetorium is completely awesome also.

I have to admit, I thought this CAFETORIUM was a bastardized spelling of CAFETERIA, until I read that it is actually a room doubling as both a cafeteria and an auditorium. Though, based on the ClOSED sign below, it could actually read CAFETORLUM, and we'd never know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Putting the FUN in FUNERAl

Back in February, Jessica reported from Downtown Annapolis, Maryland in the Eastport area, where she spotted this FUNERAl parking notice. While many of the letters may be lowercase, the lowercase L is certainly confusing. The funeral was reportedly for the uppercase L, may it rest in peace.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


It's got a lot of glare, but click to zoom in and you'll see what caught Jeremy D's eye at this Chinese market in Springfield, Oregon. It's enough to make you want to forget to eat your VEGETABlES.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Will We Ever lEARN?

Abigail G. was confused by this preposterous Post-It note on the National Civic Summit website ... and rightfully so! At first she thought the L in lEARN, CONNECT, ENGAGE was a misplaced exclamation mark to emphasize the word EARN. This lowercase L is worth more investigation. As Abigail pointed out, there was clearly room for an uppercase L, so lack of real estate was not the issue. I may have to follow up with the webmaster for this site, so if you come back to years from now and the problem has been fixed, you'll know they lEARNED their lesson.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


This rarely, if ever, happens: a lowercase L juxtaposed with an uppercase L in the same otherwise all uppercase word. Tristan found this terrific Thailand treat online at FuCK YeAH BangkOK, a blog with a name written with alternating upper and lowercase letters — ironically, like someone with dysgraphia might write it. This ERAWAN WATERFAlL, found in Erawan National Park in western Thailand, is named for Erawan, the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. But even godliness could not save the sign writer from this epic FAIL.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Kerry M from Brookfield, Illinois (yes, the word Illinois may look like a bad batch of lowercase L's when written in a sans-serif font, but it's actually legit) spotted this caffeinated case in a local Starbucks Coffee. The PIKE PlACE ROAST may be medium and smooth, but the way it's written is rough and hard to swallow.

Related: Half Off SAlE

Friday, July 10, 2009

Office 2010

"Intelligence has confirmed a hacker has released a rogue font on the Internet ... We need to identify this threat and eliminate it."

I wonder if this rogue font is all uppercase letters ... except for the L?

"All the world's fonts are at stake ... Double-space, widen the margins, increase the font size!"

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Annoyed with ARNOlD

VJ of Berlin found this clip on German daily news service,, in which picketers in California are protesting Governor Schwarzenegger and his budget cuts. The sign reads "No more furloughs, NO MORE ARNOlD!" I don't think this was a crunch case, since the author had plenty of room for his oversized exclamation point.

I can just imagine what the Governator would say if he saw his name written like this ...

"L be back!"