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Subject:

Re: Bold vs Italic

From:

Sean Cavanaugh <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

TYPO-L Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 14 Aug 1998 14:17:18 -0700

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Francois blasphemed:
> You can use different fonts for a few other signals and you
> can use boldface for signaling the importance of what is written
> (emphasis).

  For heads, subheads, captions, folios, run-ins, etc., yeah. But to mix
boldface text within non-bold text looks awful. Page turds. Sure, I think
most good designers can conceive of situations where it *might* work, as
Phan did for example, as I'm sure you could too. Another related
possibility -- using boldface as a sort of pilcrow to emphasize a
conceptual paragraph break in the absence of a physical one.

  But as a general rule, I think it ought to be avoided.

  And underlining is even worse. I think that's purely a typewriter thing.
Why programs like PageMaker and QuarkXPress even waste the menu space for
an underline command is beyond me. Bury it in a dialog box somewhere
nobody'll ever find it.

Janet wrote:
> I think that italics, quotation marks, and underlining are just as
> distracting as bf.

  Quotes and underlining, yes. But italics generally work well for
emphasis. And if they don't, maybe the designer chose the wrong typeface,
or one with poor italics, or is using it too often (over-emphasizing the
significance of emphasis), in which case, why bother emphasizing?

  I'm sure you're familiar with the saw, 'Clothing makes the man, but only
covers the woman." Well, maybe words are women and we shouldn't cover them
too much.

Christina wondered:
> But colour doesn't yet rule the monitor world, right?

  Hmmm ... I'm afraid it does. Gray-scale monitors are about as common
nowadays as 1200-baud modems.

- Sean


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