[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.


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?


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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