Pleasures of Design

There will often be a need to emphasize a particular word, line or paragraph. There are many ways of doing it but two rules apply to all of them:

Select the items to be emphasized carefully and keep them to a minimum. Too much indiscriminate emphasis is like shouting all the time. In the end nothing seems important and the audience is confused.

2 Be consistent in the method used to draw attention to particular passages. Too many different techniques will fight each other and the document will look a mess.

Bold type will give a clear emphasis but a text spattered with too many bold words can look very spotty and unattractive.

Italic makes a clear difference but its weight means that it will not necessarily stand out against the surrounding text.

Capitals stand out very clearly but they can look ugly if there are more than a few single words. Use capitals only if you want to stop the reader in his tracks.

Putting space between the lower case letters (letterspacing) does not really emphasize them at all. It slightly changes the color of the line but is otherwise ineffective – not recommended.

Underlining is a hangover from the typewriter, where means of emphasis were limited – not recommended.

Space can also be an effective means of emphasizing passages of text, eigher by isolating them on the page with white, indenting them or changing the leading. Rules, boxes or similar devices can also be used to give emphasis to a line or paragraph.

more ... Footnotes