Bold Writing and Large Text - Is it needed?

Hi

I’m here to tell you a story.

This is the story of me scrolling through topics. Random topics, photos, questions, events, etc. My eyes are poisoned by the sheer amount of bold letters and large text evident. Every other message I see… big letters! The best part is, the contribution is useless! Almost as useless as those who comment “nice pics” on #screenshots-and-videos topics. I’ve left it for a while, but it is beginning to drive me crazy, and I’m sure some of you are tired of this as well. So I’m going to dive into the psychology of why people want to use these bold letters… and also tell you why it may not be your best choice.


Before I continue, please note that I am not against bold lettering. I am using it on this post. The only difference is, I’m using it when it makes sense.

I have also tried my best to avoid posting specific examples in an attempt to avoid calling individuals out. If you want examples, go to “top” and then “one month”. Click on the first few topics. You’ll see what I mean.


Reason number 1: Your writing will stand out!

Think about it. If you’re quickly scrolling through a topic, you’re going to stop when you see these huge letters, it’s human nature. They catch your eye and hook you in! They are different than the rest. In reality, though, when I stop on these bold posts… they aren’t useful contributions. If they are, they could easily be expressed using the simple, normal text. Trust me, bold letters do not increase the validity of your claim.


Reason number 2: Thirst for attention

The topics where messages like the aforementioned are common are topics where there are multitudes of people posting, or a popular topic made by a staff member or moderator. Check out update posts, or FNF’s, or anything else that many people will see.

Those who use these letterings understand that there will be multiple people attempting to voice their opinion, and what great way to gain self satisfaction than make a useless comment but make it large! Yay, everyone is reading your post! You did it.


Don’t believe me? Let’s hear it from Matthew Butterick. Matthew is an American Typographer, lawyer, writer, and computer programming. He wrote a book titled Typography for Lawyers which received a ”2012 Golden Pen Award” from the Legal Writing Institute. He also has an online book titled Practical Typography.

In addition, he graduated Harvard with a BA in visual and environmental studies, and earned a JD at the University of California.

So basically, he’s smart. Here is what he has to say about bold letters. In the chapter titled “bold or italic” on his online book Practical Typography, he says, “Use bold and italic as little as possible, They are tools for emphasis. But if everything is emphasized, then nothing is emphasized”. This chapter can be found here.

He goes on to write a paragraph about some of our forum goers who like to bold everything. He writes: “Nevertheless, some writers - let’s call them overemphasizers - just can’t get enough of bold”, and continues to say “Don’t be one of those people”.

It wears down people, and if you actually have something to emphasize… you can’t!


So there we have it, I went all in to find our about this “phenomena”. The thing is, here on the IFC there are countless people with so much to say! So much knowledge to share, so many experiences to tell about. Those who make their contributions with huge letters simply overshadow those with comments that actually matter.


Just to Clarify

I am absolutely not agains all bold letters. I used them in this post. If you want to make a post that actually matters, by all means express yourself! However, I’ve seen posts such as “YES…!!!”. That post, one word, in large letters. There was nothing else… and that is just sad.

The real question to ask yourself is:

do you really need to do this?

No. You don’t. It adds nothing, and simply shows readers that:

  1. You’re unable to make a valid point so you cover that up with large letters.
  2. You want people to pay attention to your post over others.

So please… stop with the bold letters! Trust me, people will see your post. If it’s meaningful, they will let you know! There is no need to send messages that are entirely bold or large letters.

So thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope I maybe taught you something knew, or changed your mindset. I hope to see this forum continue to grow and thrive, but the posts I mention will not do that.

Thanks, and have a good day/evening!

20 Likes

Exactly, I agree 100%. If you bold everything you post on here, then people begin to tune you out (at least I have). Then, the one time you do have something important to say, no one will listen.

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It’s called a header for a reason. Use it for headers, not for random bits of guff that you want everyone to know about.

3 Likes

Well said. Well said.
Good reason why we don’t permit pointless all caps in DLVA.
I’ve seen a good amount of useless large text when people try to make their point clear when people don’t agree. This should be a civilized public discussion and not a 3rd grade forum.

1 Like

I agree with this. The holding feature has been misused to the point that it has lost its meaning (on this forum). There are ways and situations which bold lettering would be useful, yes, such as this A350 request but disappointingly, it has been misused.

Using bold/enlarged lettering:
• When emphasising a word(bold only/italics)
• In titles/headings
• When stressing a point.(bold only/italics)

Good observation.

1 Like

Absolutely brilliant. Great tips!

I’m not entirely sold this is an issue. Perhaps sending that specific user a quick DM addressing the overuse of such features would be more beneficial. As a regular, its encouraged to help out fellow community members. 🙂

13 Likes