25 Comments

  1. If the paper is written in 9-point type, and something is written in 10-point type, that would be ‘very slight emphasis’. If that same thing was written in, say 20-point type, that’d be VERY EMPHATIC.

  2. The O2 in C.E.O2 is one of their annoying “secret symbols”.

    When I first looked at this, I thought the words “very slight” were set in a face just a small amount larger than the rest of the dialog. Then I thought it might be the entirety of the second guy’s speech balloon. Now I can’t see any difference.

    Does somebody have a way of measuring?

  3. Even without changing the point size, there are more effective ways of emphasizing a portion of the text (such as bold, italics, or evenbold italics). The (only very slightly humorous) contradiction here is that the dweeb had something in his report that he thought was worth some emphasis, yet he buried it on the 26th page of his drivel.
    P.S. @ Mitch4 – Piraro’s font choice makes size comparisons extremely difficult, because various letters have different (apparent) point sizes (p<o<r<s). Zoomed to maximum size on my tablet, the letter "S" in "is" and "rest" appear to be exactly the same width as those in "was", "slight", and "emphasis".

  4. “Even without changing the point size, there are more effective ways of emphasizing a portion of the text (such as bold, italics, or evenbold italics”

    Yes, those are easier for emphasis — but not for “very slight emphasis”. But if you do have control over text formatting, making a small passage a single point size larger is simple, but there is no standard way of “bolding by one small step” (even if the font comes in a “medium bold”) , nor of “italicising by one small step” .

  5. @ Mitch4 – Before McDonnell switched the dialogue in “Mutts” over to a computer font, he had the annoying habit of using ‘apostrophes’ to emphasize words. (Whatever happened to the good old practice of underlining* to grab the reader’s attention?) Now that nothing is ever hand lettered, he has an irritating tendency to overuse bold, instead.
    P.S. There’s also the “nerd” equivalent of using *asterisks* for the same purpose (fostered, no doubt, by various text processing programs that accept symbols to inflict corresponding formatting effects).
    P.P.S. I’ve tried several times, but have not been able to figure out how to get WordPress to produce underlined text. In the (rapidly disappearing) practice of typesetting, underlining text in the manuscript was the standard symbol for “italics“.

  6. Just had a flashback to my first Mac (no hard drive; just 400K floppies) and dot matrix printer. Spent a lot of time messing with font choices and point sizes. My personal letters looked like digital ransom notes, and more formal documents still got busy headers.

    A life-changing transition from my Royal manual typewriter, where counting letters in order to center a line was all I needed.

  7. My on-screen ruler shows the same pixel height from the top of the serif to the bottom line of all of the “s”es. No one else has remarked that he noticed the one-point difference in size from a hardcopy. Not only would it be subtle, but it would be very hard to tell it was a one-point difference.

  8. I agree with Arthur that quantifying the difference would be difficult, but noticing a 1-point font change is very easy, especially if it is a complete sentence in any normal sized font used for running text. It would be (much) harder for a single word, or for headline-sized fonts (16 pt or larger).
    P.S. The worst typesetting job that I have ever witnessed was a paperback copy of Herbert’s “Dune“. Not only was the text riddled with typographical errors, but apparently the publisher had assigned a proofreader, who seemed to have fixed about half of them. This was done by replacing the whole line of text on the galley plates, using a font that was (minimally) smaller than the original. The effect was catastrophic. I didn’t particularly care for Herbert’s writing style (continuous and interminable reports about what everyone was thinking, instead of what they actually said or did), but the effort required to get through that hack job of typesetting sealed it: I never read another one of his books.

  9. The “asterisks for emphasis” started because the old Bulletin Board Systems where people used to communicate on computers just did straight ASCII text – no bold, ital, or underlining. Facebook still doesn’t have those features. So users created a way to represent italics.

    Students will sometimes increase the page-count of a report by increasing the point size of all the periods by 1. It’s unnoticeable, but creates a surprising difference in the size of the report.

  10. M.A. says: “A life-changing transition from my Royal manual typewriter, where counting letters in order to center a line was all I needed.”

    Double or Nothing” by Raymond Federman is a remarkable and very enjoyable novel based on shaped pages and sections of type, reproduced from actual typed pages in a monospaced font. The author also allowed himself to physically move the platen and carriage around, so letters could be placed other than at the grid points. But for the most part, the typing is done on the lines and with standard spacing, so you know the author did a lot of counting, or maybe tossed many spoiled pages.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_or_Nothing_(Federman_novel)

  11. @ignattz: I’ve done it (with success!) after noticing that students with better grades than me only had longer reports.

  12. Well, I was amused the writer only wanted to slightly emphasize his point.

    But the CEO side gag is indeed a distraction.

  13. Kilby, I don’t know if it will still work, but with earlier versions of WordPress I’m pretty sure I used to just embed the traditional markup tags for bold and underline (that is, not modern CSS).

    I don’t know whether those tags will be allowed in this comment, however. They might send it to moderation purgatory.

  14. I guess the old underline tag doesn’t work, at least not in these comments. underlinedMaybe the CSS will?

  15. There have been many reports of “The word count is sufficient, but it doesn’t look long enough.” The teacher is then told to highlight all. After the actual report is nonsense text in white on a white background; it doesn’t show up, but it is counted in the Word word count.

  16. Since we are talking fonts and such – I need a font that looks like the sort of lettering which would appear on a sign such as “village hall” or “school” for a sign saying same (both in the same building) in my teddy village – since it took me 2 days of looking at fonts to find one for the Chinese restaurant (run by a Panda bear family of course) – I am asking for any suggestions to save me a bit of time. The cubs are all lined up and going into the building, but how will they know it is school without a sign? 🙂

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