Writing for Business and Industry



Don't overuse font formatting effects

Don't use too many fonts

I know this is going to spoil a lot of people's fun, but the first rule of good typography is not to use too many fonts. How many is too many? Conservative editors say that a document should use only one font, which may be a larger size and/or bold for headings. More liberal literati, including most newspapers, use two, usually a sans-serif font for headings and a serif font for body text. Three's a crowd, but you might occasionally use a third specialty font (perhaps a cursive font, or a wild and crazy one) to call attention to some particularly special section. Whatever you do, don't use similar fonts together - if your body font is serif, the heading font should either be the same font, or it should be a sans-serif, and vice versa. If you use a third font, it should be something totally different.

Bold or italics

Keep in mind that bold text should be done only sparingly, as bold is used for emphasis of only the most important things. If it's overused, it's lost its effectiveness, and you might as well not use it at all.

The same thing applies to text that's italicized or in another color -- use sparingly, because once you use it too much, it just doesn't have any effect on the reader.

Underlining text

Only under text when you have a good reason. In general, all the stuff you were taught to underline (such as book titles) should be in italics. Underlining is a formatting technique left over from typewriter days. A person was setting type from a manuscript, all underlining was converted to italics.

Underlining headings does not make them more important. In fact, many people rank underlined headings as less important than non-underlined headings.

Avoid Using All Caps

On the Internet, USING CAPS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF SCREAMING, and you don't want to be screaming at your reader. So, avoid caps unless you're using them for emphasis -- and even then, be sparing.

On paper, all caps leaps off the page at the reader and breaks the readers train of throught. Also, all caps are harder to read because part of how we recognize words comes from their shape; all caps makes every word look like a rectangle.

Many people want to use all caps for headings. Instead of all caps, just use a larger font size. It's easier to read and


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