The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the use of the period in President Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan: “Forward.”
People who pay attention to these sorts of things–and apparently there are a lot–were divided. Some see it as making the statement definitive. Others (including the president himself, it seems) think the period contradicts the word itself. How can you move forward if you’ve got punctuation that means “stop” in your way?
I’m in the first camp. Then again, I’m a big fan of using periods to.make.a.statement. Case in point (no pun intended):
When Reading Opens Minds–a Los Angeles non-profit that brings the book club experience to jails, halfway houses and at-risk high school students–asked me help them develop their marketing materials, I suggested a new slogan. I gave them several ideas, but my favorite (and the one they ultimately picked) was: Imagination. Empowerment. Connection.
It was clear and concise–and I think the periods are a big part of that. “Imagination, Empowerment, Connection” just wouldn’t have the same oompf–to use the technical term.
That doesn’t mean periods always work–and they can certainly be overused. But in general, they’re a useful tool because they’re simple, don’t take up too much space and convey a lot in one little dot. Period.