Join Ina Saltz for an in-depth discussion in this video Using cases, part of Foundations of Typography.
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When we talk about cases we are describing the difference between Uppercase and Lowercase. Each of these conveys a different message, so you want to learn how to use cases to their best advantage. Uppercase or Capitals were originally called MAJUSCULES. I like that name, because it reminds us that MAJUSCULES are majestic. MAJUSCULES have a stronger presence on the page or screen. In this poster you can see how powerful these capitals are, they're like giant building blocks.
And this is an Urgent Medical Care facility, so capitals convey a sense of trustworthiness and authority. Capitals generally have more visual weight and they command more attention, so they indicate importance, they convey a sense of authority and sometimes formality. Caps don't like to be too close to one another, they feel more comfortable with a bit of extra space around them. And there are minuscules, you can think of minuscules as miniature. We call them lowercase.
Lowercase letters tend to look friendlier, warmer, more personal, and more informal than uppercase letters. I love the petco logo, because it seems just right for warm and cuddly pets. And this logo for The Bubble magazine is a great choice, because the letters look like Bubbles, so there's a perfect match between image and intent. Unlike Capitals, shapes of Lowercase letters are designed to work in closer contact and to be more interconnected than uppercase letters.
On this title page the letters feel comfortable, even though they're close together. When you're using Lowercase or a mixture of Uppercase and Lowercase, it sends a friendlier, more low-key message. Cases also have a volume control, you can see the difference that Caps and Lowercase have when you compare the effects visually. Which one seem more suited to these words? Perhaps the word dancing in Caps is more active like Salsa, and the Lowercase dancing is Ballet.
You can also think of the effective Caps as a louder voice and upper and lower case in a softer voice. Lowercase can be loud, but can still be informal and fun, as in this example. When you are choosing cases for your project, think about the qualities you are trying to convey, upper and lower case have distinct personalities. So use cases wisely to give the right visual direction to match your message.
- What is typography?
- Differentiating type characteristics
- Using ornamental and decorative type
- Combining typefaces
- Using contrast and scale
- Kerning and kerning pairs
- Choosing the optimum line length
- Aligning and spacing characters, words, and paragraphs
- Understanding factors affecting legibility
- Working with three-dimensional type
- Putting type in motion