A brand description should be devoid of spelling errors. It represents all that is sacred about an enterprise’s product offering. Misspelling can lead to erosion of brand values as it reflects a certain lack of care and disrespect.
Take the lightbulb product design brand Hoi P’loy (the subject of today’s rant) for instance. As an English proficient native speaker, one would hopefully have picked up on a glaringly obvious error in the spelling of the word that describes the general retrospective mood or character their products reflect.
“Ambiance” is in fact, the way the French would spell the word. Ironic, given the historic mutual dislike of the French and English people. Should you want to dig further you will find the English spelled “Ambience” has in fact been in existence longer than “Ambiance”. This alone should give precedence to the word, never mind that English native speakers ought to be spelling it accordingly regardless.
Incorrectly spelled “Ambiance” is just one of many words that are rapidly being adopted in product, design and trend descriptions. It appears the English language is losing its edge in the modern age. Let me explain my thoughts.
We live in a modern age where time has become one of the most highly sought after commodities. With an abundance of time one can achieve a great many things, without it precious little progress is possible. It stands to reason that anything that can speed up our understanding of a concept using fewer words will be preferred over lengthy essays describing the same. This applies both to the creation of written/descriptive material and the digestion of the material to conclude effective communication. One can see the evolution of this phenomenon in advertising copy over the decades. Notice how images have taken over from the long-form copy. Notice how words used in conjunction with the advert have been reduced to bare essentials often describing emotions and results. The description of legal aspects concerning the product offering, finance and usage. This is usually in small character font at the bottom of the advertising which seems to have grown in detail of course.
The above background does not yet explain the use of misspelled words. But when considering how to write effective English advertising copy using descriptive words that are used in common parlance, one is often drawn to phonetically correct words that are in fact spelled incorrectly, on purpose. They just stand out and provide a certain unique quality. Bear in mind that most legal requirements for registering trademarks and logo marks also preclude common usage words, in that case, the alternative word could be used as there would appear to be no such word in the English language. Unless of course there were two forms of spelling and both were deemed acceptable.
Back to the word “Ambiance” vs “Ambience”, the latter is far more common in all recent varieties of the English language even as it endured modifications through the centuries. “Ambiance” has become an acceptable alternative spelling through its common and popular usage. It does not make it right though. “Ambiance” is often associated with branding and descriptions in art and design contexts. Again, this is technically not correct and given that there a commonly established correct way of spelling the word and that the word is not being used as a brand name it should therefore, be spelled correctly. We must learn to spell proper, if we are going to speak proper .
Source: Speak Proper Blog