[small caps usage.]

dmichael's picture

Was encouraged to post this here, so here goes:

What rules/guidelines do you subscribe to in regards to proper use of small caps? For instance, I noticed that the Atlantic Monthly uses full caps for three letters or fewer; small caps for four letters or more.

Does the use of italics change anything? (Yes, I unfortunately need to set something in caps *and* italics. Even in small caps it looks a bit funky, but a lot less funky than in full caps.)

Which, I reckon, is the final rule: which looks better?

But, lacking a style rule (or at least I couldn't find anything relevant in the Chicago Manual of Style), I thought I'd solicit opinions here.

Thanks in advance.
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David

jupiterboy's picture

You are on top of it. There are some good threads on this subject where all the basic opinions are outlined.

I feel it all depends on the publication and the type. Some faces have small caps of varying height. Some people will set a three letter acronym in SC. What face are you using and what is the range of possible usage in the publication?

http://www.typophile.com/node/12543

dmichael's picture

Thanks for the link to that thread. I did do a search before I posted, for what it's worth, although I admit I was a wee bit impatient sorting through it.

Anyway, face is LTC Deepdene. It's actually in the acknowledgments page of a poetry book, so it's small-ish (9 pt.) and there aren't all caps/small caps occurrences anywhere else in the book.

That said, on the same page is a three-letter all-cap, and for that I'm keeping full caps. For the longer word (seven character) I'm 99% sold on small caps, with 10/1000-em tracking (which is probably conservatively tight, but it works--a reminder here that the text is set in italics, as that's proportionately relevant).

Granted, too, it is, in effect, "fine print," but thought it was as good a time as any to solicit opinions.
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David

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