Capitalization in Titles of Works

Q. Our company, an art auction house, has decided to adopt sentence-style capitalization because we feel the visual flow is easier to read. The names of sales are based on the names of our departments, e.g., “The Old Master Paintings department will have its Old master paintings sale in June.” Is that style appropriate?

A. Sentence caps are meant to be used for titles that are in italics or in quotation marks. They don’t work with titles of sales or departments because, without capital letters to set off an entire title, the lowercased part of the title blurs with the rest of the sentence. If you like the “down” style, take it all the way: “The old master paintings department will have its old master paintings sale in June.” Otherwise, you need headline caps.