Giving more weight to your words

Tip of the DayUse emphasis in your printed PLE materials to highlight the most important pieces of information you’d like to convey to your readers.

Too much emphasis, however, CAN BE A BAD THING!!!

Here are some tips on emphasizing text:

  • Using a bold typeface helps readers pick out important words, phrases, and sentences, and notice important messages. But anything more than a sentence in bold can be hard to read.
  • Don’t use underlining to emphasize text or headings. It interferes with readability because it cuts off the parts of letters that go below the line, like the “g” above. Also, on a website, underlined words indicate that they link to something – and if they don’t, they frustrate users.
  • Using italics to highlight certain words or very small sections of text can make them stand out. But use them sparingly. Never use italics to highlight large chunks of text – this is hard for anyone to read. Italics are especially hard to read online.
  • Large chunks of text should never appear in CAPITAL LETTERS. This makes the text very hard to read because all the letters are exactly the same size. Use capital letters carefully – for example, in a short heading.

See CLEO’s Better Legal Information Handbook for more information on clear design tips for print materials.

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