Re: when to bold

Subject: Re: when to bold
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 00:40:53 -0800

Bold weights of fonts are often over-used to the point of
grotesqueness. A common example is in headings. Headings are
usually in a larger font than the body text, and will appear dark
naturally, so putting them in a bold weight often makes them
shriekingly obvious. Besides, headings usually have several
indications of their function beside bolding (such as position,
size, font and spacing before or after), so they can easily do
without bolding.

All too often, an over-use of bold fonts is not only
aesthetically displeasing, but dysfunctional: the eye is drawn to
the bolded text, and nowhere else on the page. In the case of
headings, this is a disaster because headings are guides; the
user of documentation probably wants to focus on the body text
rather than the headings.

Bolding is often used for emphasis nowadays, on the grounds that
a bold weight is often easier to read than an italic, especially
on-line. Not a bad policy, especially an era in which half the
twentysomethings don't seem to use cursive writing at all.

If you want a way to make commands stand out while avoiding the
problems of over-using bold weights, try creating a character
style that is a shade of gray or using the same font that you use
for headings. Either works very successfully.

Bruce Byfield, Product Manager, Stormix Technologies
Vancouver, BC, Canada

"J'y suis, j'y reste" - Louis XIV of France

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