Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Jan 2010 13:31 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Every now and then on OSNews, we discuss typography and language. Despite the fact that many think it's not relevant for computing - it most certainly is. Whether you're browsing the web, reading email, or chatting over IM - the most common element on your computer screen is typography. Today, I want to discuss something we barely have in my native language: small capitals.
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I like small caps
by filmamigo on Tue 12th Jan 2010 15:32 UTC
filmamigo
Member since:
2010-01-12

Thom, I always enjoy your side excursions into the typographic. I don't always agree though, and today is an example.

I like small caps.

I think you may be onto something when you note that small caps are very foreign to your native language. Aside from the current normative usages (like for acronyms), smalls caps have a "heritage" (read "old fashioned") aspect to them.

Small caps in English harken to the era of independent small-press broadsheet printers. Look up an example of 1800's posters -- like a U.S. Civil War era print job. There is a playfulness in the use of sporadic capitalization and small caps.

The use of sporadic capitals and small caps helped those broadsheets convey something that is missing from modern, Helvetica-inspired web communications. It very clearly conveys EMOTION, C A D E N C E, and authorial emphasis. Texting, emails, and web postings are often found to be problematic because they are missing so many of those elements. The need for an emoticon arises, in part, because of a mechanical reliance on a single typeface with no emotional inflection.

I also like small caps because they are part of a playful heritage within the English language. English has been marked by rapid evolution in spelling, word invention, and the adoption of phrases from other languages. It's fun!

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