Tag “typography”

Be careful with bold ★

I ran into this thread by Andrew Nalband where he shares a technique of marking text bold and color highlights to make it easier to scan the draft. Good point, but he does it the wrong way.

Take a look at Andrew’s draft. You can see words, but they make no sense without a context. What does mean “content” in the middle of the first sentence? How is that related to “presentation” and other words marked bold below? You have to read the whole sentence to understand this text.

Here’s another example. I excerpted a few paragraphs from El Pais article and marked their random parts bold. If you read only the bold text, you won’t get a shit of what’s going on here.

Bold text in the middle of a paragraph is a bad idea. It doesn’t help a reader get to the main idea faster and doesn’t make it easier to skim through. On the contrary, it creates additional visual noise and thus hinders reading.

In the end, a reader has to do the double work: read the whole text and fight the distraction. You wanted to draw their attention to some important fact, but instead you made them read the whole thing.

Fortunately, it’s easily fixable. Mark text bold only in the beginning of a paragraph. In this case, your text will look like my post about failures:

This way you don’t have to jump over the text, all you need to do is to scan the beginnings of the paragraphs. It’s way faster and easier to do.

It’s also more convenient for a reader to digest a piece structured this way. Even if people won’t read the whole piece, they’ll be able to catch the core idea of my post and get what they’ve come for.