Bold, Italics, Capitals – When To Call On Your Superheroes

Meet Boldman, The Italiciser, and CAPSLOCK…

A superhero is only super because he or she stands out amongst the crowd. If we were a planet of flying, teleporting, time-freezing super-strong aliens, then we wouldn’t think there was anything super about us.

When it comes to using formatting methods such as bold, italics, capitals or centering, all of these little text-enhancing superheroes will only stand out if they are used sparingly, in the right place, and when absolutely necessary.

They can’t be everywhere at once, or their powers will become diminished. That’s just a rule.

Today you will meet these relentless servants of mankind, and learn how to best use bold, italics, capital letters or centralised text when building a website for your business…

The Fundamental Personality Traits

  • Capital letters often looks a bit like shouting. BUT THAT’S NOT ALWAYS BAD!
  • Bold draws the eye.
  • Italics make a more subtle emphasis on words.

Central text can break up an article, making things easier to read.

Capitalising

If capital letters were a super hero, it would be “CAPSLOCK”. She has the ability to raise her voice above every other sound nearby. Her brother has a similar power, his name is “HoldDownShiftAndType”.

Some bloggers use capital letters as a way to increase the “volume” of their words. Just an occasional WORD in capitals can emphasise it greatly, but OVERUSING IT CAN BE DEADLY. IT CAN GET ANNOYING QUITE QUICKLY. SEE? IT’S HARDER TO READ FOR MOST PEOPLE. IT SOUNDS LIKE I MIGHT BE ANGRY WITH YOU.

Capitalising is not the most professional way of emphasising text. It is often used more casually, more tongue-in-cheek in certain blog articles, as a way to add more character to a piece of writing.

If you are writing text for your main website pages, such as your “Home” or “About” pages, the power of capitals letters might overwhelm your readers. It can also look amateurish in places (don’t tell CAPSLOCK).

To begin with, you are better off using bold or italics to highlight certain parts of your text…

Being Bold

If bold text was a super hero, he would be called “Boldman”. He has the ability to attract the eyes of any onlookers, if only for a moment.

Bold draws the eye in, and can be useful for the skimmers who scan the article before they decide whether they want to read it. Skimmers are most human beings, by the way.

If you use bold to highlight text, make its use consistent. If you highlight in bold something about your industry that people should avoid, for example, then it might be wise to do that consistently. Unless, of course, the whole page is about this same topic. Beware of overuse. Don’t dilute your little superheroes.

Italicising

If italics were a super hero, it would be “The Italiciser”. She has the ability to enunciate words in a slightly emphasised tone. That’s not really a super power, but that’s the whole point of italics – it is a more subtle method of emphasis. It doesn’t want to stand out too much.

And contrary to popular belief, italicising is not only for Italians. Everyone can do it, so you can set that worry aside.

Italics is used to subtly emphasise the weight of a word. If you really want to understand italics, just read this sentence out loud.

Again, use italics consistently for the same things. Notice that when used sparingly, it has a greater effect. It’s not needed as often as you might think. Make sure you don’t overdo it, or you end up looking silly, like this sentence,

Centralising text

“Centered text is often used for quotes, testimonials, or for key points made within an article.”

– Anonymous

If centered text were a super hero, it would be “Landing Man”. He has the ability to interrupt your day, land in the middle of what you are doing, and demand your attention. You hear him out, and then he leaves.

Used occasionally, centering text is a great way to break up your article and make key points without having to use any other formatting. It can break the pattern of standard left-justified text, and it makes things easier on the eye.

Beware Of Overuse

OVERUSING ANY text formatting methods will always make things look quite messy. Obviously.

It’s like highlighting sentences in a book. If you highlight every line, then nothing stands out anymore.

It’s like having a planet full of superheroes, who no longer have anything to save. A huge waste of talent.

Are Any Of Them Really Necessary?

It depends on where you are using them. You wouldn’t call Superman to help you with your dishes. Actually, some people probably would, and they should be ashamed.

All of these formatting methods can make your words pop if used correctly, where relevant, where they make text easier to read, and sentences easier to understand.

If they are forced, called on where they aren’t needed, then they will punish you for wasting their time and leave you with a lower sense of quality.

If you need any advice on how to use certain kinds of text on your website, feel free to ask us in the comments below, or check out some of our clients’ business websites here to see how we have formatted their text for them…