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I've never used inline fonts but am curious about how they came about and how they are best used. Any info about their history and best situations to use them would be appreciated.
This probably isn't much help -- they've been around forever -- but one use is you can set the type large, but the weight isn't as compelling as with a solid letterform.
For example, when I'm designing a chapter title page, I rarely use a drop cap, because the weight is so strong the eye is drawn to it, away from the chapter title (esp. as I favor small sizes of display type, and careful use of space).
Nowadays, you can do a screen in the applications program, but in days past, with stripping up a set of negatives to burn a plate, any screen was a special negative stripped up separately. In other words, a lot of work, and added to the cost. But an in-line cap -- esp. something like van Krimpen's Lutetia open -- let you use a 3- or 4-line drop cap & not steal all the thunder of the chapter opener.
I imagine it's the same with ad work -- a larger size without the weight.
Thanks Charles, sounds like good advice, I'll try it sometime.