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Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points

From: Foundations of Typography

Video: Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points

Inviting the reader into your text is a good thing. Think about the ways you invite people into your home. You can just leave your door open and hope they'll come in, or you can throw open the door, reach out and grab them, you're all welcome and give them a big hug. Magazines are a great place to look for ideas for welcoming the reader into the text. Drop caps and opening paragraphs are opportunities to capture the reader's attention and to motivate the reader to invest more time and attention in your project.

Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points

Inviting the reader into your text is a good thing. Think about the ways you invite people into your home. You can just leave your door open and hope they'll come in, or you can throw open the door, reach out and grab them, you're all welcome and give them a big hug. Magazines are a great place to look for ideas for welcoming the reader into the text. Drop caps and opening paragraphs are opportunities to capture the reader's attention and to motivate the reader to invest more time and attention in your project.

I want to show you some interesting variations on introductory paragraphs and drop caps, those big initials that start a story or a paragraph. As you look at these examples think about where the drop cap is sitting in relation to the opening text. A big drop cap is not only the introduction to the text, it's a great visual element that can add to the dynamic quality of your design. Here the drop cap T is sitting entirely outside the text. The introductory paragraph is in a larger type size, and it encloses the continuing narrative.

In this example, next to the giant S, note that the opening line is italicized in magenta which emphasizes the invitation into the text. In this example the entire word serves as a single drop. Again, the intro paragraph is set off, this time in caps from the rest of the text. Here is another example where the opening drop cap serves as an image. Note the intro paragraph with its bold first line and larger size and a secondary larger drop cap with a bold lead-in.

Here the text is nicely wrapped around part of the drop cap O. the latter partly sticks out of the side and the top of the text block. You can create an extra visual interest by taking the entire first paragraph or a part of it and bumping up the point size and the leading to draw the reader in as in this example. The larger point size makes it easier and therefore more inviting to read. Just remember that everything is relative, so as you're deciding how to scale your elements, make sure that everything is balancing well within your page or on your screen.

To get the reader interested, I encourage you to try some of these simple methods for creating introductory paragraphs and drop caps. It's easy to be a good design host by inviting the reader in. Think of it as offering the reader a tasty cocktail to entice them to hang out at your party. It's a good thing.

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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Typography
Foundations of Typography

46 video lessons · 31351 viewers

Ina Saltz
Author

 
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  1. 9m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 58s
    2. Why good typography matters
      1m 55s
    3. The power of type
      1m 53s
    4. The theory of typographic relativity
      1m 53s
    5. Getting the most out of this course
      1m 26s
  2. 23m 49s
    1. Serif vs. sans serif
      3m 27s
    2. Display type vs. text type
      3m 39s
    3. Type history
      2m 48s
    4. Type classification
      4m 8s
    5. Other type categories
      3m 24s
    6. Guidelines for combining typefaces
      3m 49s
    7. Using cases
      2m 34s
  3. 18m 28s
    1. Anatomy: Parts and shapes of type
      4m 35s
    2. Size and measurements of type
      2m 18s
    3. Type families: Widths, weights, and slopes
      3m 53s
    4. Reviewing the terminology of type, based on function
      3m 27s
    5. Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises
      4m 15s
  4. 20m 27s
    1. Kerning and kerning pairs
      3m 33s
    2. Tracking and leading
      3m 49s
    3. Exploring variations in type alignment
      3m 55s
    4. Hyphenation and justification
      3m 13s
    5. Indents, outdents, and hanging punctuation
      2m 26s
    6. Other typographic best practices
      3m 31s
  5. 10m 3s
    1. Where type begins: The mark of the hand
      2m 28s
    2. Related parts and shapes: Family resemblances
      4m 35s
    3. Designing a typeface
      3m 0s
  6. 22m 19s
    1. How legibility and readability differ
      3m 48s
    2. Examining factors affecting legibility
      4m 46s
    3. Hierarchy and functionality
      4m 29s
    4. Systematized hierarchy
      3m 52s
    5. Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points
      2m 41s
    6. Typographic abominations
      2m 43s
  7. 11m 8s
    1. Opposing forces of typography
      3m 8s
    2. The grid: A structure for containing type
      3m 6s
    3. Contrast and scale
      4m 54s
  8. 9m 41s
    1. Typographic expressiveness
      3m 22s
    2. The emotional impact of type
      2m 47s
    3. Three-dimensional type
      3m 32s
  9. 8m 55s
    1. Working with numbers
      2m 10s
    2. Expert characters and analphabetic symbols
      1m 56s
    3. Using typography to navigate content
      1m 51s
    4. Using typography to navigate the environment
      2m 58s
  10. 9m 14s
    1. Managing fonts and building your type library
      3m 14s
    2. Developing your typographic eye
      2m 31s
    3. Breaking the rules
      1m 41s
    4. What's next
      1m 48s

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