Small caps for initials

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Michael Gray's picture
Joined: 11 May 2010 - 6:21am
Small caps for initials

Hello all,

I'm working on a long text about a school where the classes are named after the initials of the teachers. The text is full of references to old pupils of the school with the class initials and year in brackets after their names, e.g. Mickey Mouse (JEC'89).

Attempting to follow Bringhurst, my plan was to not set the initials in small caps on the grounds that they are initials. However, since there are so many of these in the text, it looks pretty ugly next to the old-style numbers I'm using.

Would it be wrong to set them in small caps?

And if I do, will the small-cap initials and old-style numbers be a bit overwhelmed by the brackets?

I guess I would still keep ordinary initials (e.g. M. Mouse) with an ordinary capital letter.

On a related note, capital or small-cap for something like "B Team"?

Text will be set in some form of Caslon (probably King's Caslon).

your expert help much appreciated. thanks!

J. Tillman's picture
Joined: 27 Sep 2009 - 11:31am

There has been discussion in the past about the use of small caps. In your specific case, I would say if it looks better then use the small caps.

You probably want to use a font where the small caps are bigger than the x-height. I'm not sure if the Caslon types do this or not.

Another approach is no small caps at all, just use a font where the height of the regular capital letters is less, such as Gentium, Greta Text, Malabar, or others. This is my preference, to keep it simple.