Re: Anybody? Anybody? WAS Your typographic conventions and justification for

Subject: Re: Anybody? Anybody? WAS Your typographic conventions and justification for
From: Janet Swisher <jmswisher -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 15:35:23 -0600

On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 2:32 PM, Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net> wrote:

> Bueller?
> Any comments on this topic? If not I will slink away and try another list .
> . .
> What fonts do you use in your documents (beyond the usual body text,
> header, footer, and heading fonts)? Our body text font (for PDFs) is Times
> New Roman. We document hardware and user interfaces, but not internal
> software programming, so beyond giving installation and upgrade
> instructions, we don't deal with code-related terms.

Currently, I work in a DITA environment, so I mark things up based on
semantics, and the processing takes care of formatting it. I'm not in
control of the formatting decisions.

When I worked in an environment where I had control over formatting
conventions, I used Lucida Sans for body text, with bold, oblique, and mono
much as you describe, based on MMSTP. There was a management preference for
sans-serif, and I picked Lucida as it is a very legible sans-serif that has
a large Unicode character set (we used a lot of scientific and mathematical

> We use these typographical conventions:
> --Bold Arial -- anything the user selects or clicks, or any text the user
> enters. Also all Note, Caution, and Warning text (which is set off by
> leading above and below and marked by an icon to the left. In addition,
> Warnings are set off by a black box.)
> --Italic -- introducing new terms, titles of publications.
> --Monospace -- system error messages and prompts, (and code samples, which
> are extremely rare for us).
> You see that we keep alternate typefaces to a minimum.
> We capitalize the titles of UI windows, dialog boxes, prompts, etc. but do
> not use a different typeface. Oh, dear, I see that the Microsoft Manual of
> Style 3rd edition recommends bolding the names of dialog boxes. I don't see
> a need for it -- isn't the capitalization enough of a hint?

Yes, as long you also have convention that dialog box titles are capitalized
in the UI. If they are sentence-case, then you need something else to
distinguish them from the rest of the text.

> I remember documents, at other clients, that had to have a lengthy table at
> the front explaining the significance of 5 or 6 typefaces. It seemed to be
> unduly complicated and we doubted that it was helpful for readers. In the
> years since, I have observed a trend toward simplification, which I support.
> I am preparing for a discussion of this issue and wondered what other tech
> writers do. What do you do, and what reference books or standards do you
> rely on? Can you recommend any other books or standards for me to take a
> look at?

Some others you might look at:

* Apple Publications Style Guide:
* Read Me First, A Style Guide for the Computer Industry (from Sun):

--Janet Swisher

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Anybody? Anybody? WAS Your typographic conventions and justification for: From: Nancy Allison

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