FAQ: When to use italics?
~ 17 June 2008 ~
Some time ago, probably two years now, I began archiving certain replies to emails with the label “FAQs.” These were answers to common (or uncommon) questions, such as the “frilly bits” inquiry, that I received from readers. I figured these would come in handy some day if, and I stress if, I ever get around to a long-overdue makeover of this site.
In the meantime, why not post the questions and answers here? I figure I’ll give it a go and see if I can’t do it with some sort of semi-regular cadence in the coming months.
Q: I’m very discretionary when I use italics and rarely use it. However, I saw that you pull Warnock Pro off wonderfully in your An Event Apart slides. How do you determine the appropriate use of italics in headlines or copy other than grammatical purposes?
A: Boy, that’s a tough question to answer. Part of it is merely personal preference, admittedly. However, when it comes to presentation material, I typically base the decision on the content. If it’s a quote, I don’t hesitate to use italics. To me, italics say “quote” much better than non-italics. And if you notice in my slides, most of the text in italics are quotes (in addition to a few definitions).
But at the end of the day, I have a fascination with italics and use them whenever I feel they’re appropriate. Of all the ones I’ve used, Warnock Pro’s are probably the most elegant. I really enjoy Epic’s italics, as well, especially the ligatures (though the punctuation is a bit heavy). Of course, there are many others — Mrs. Eaves, Garamond Pro, and the list goes on.
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