were designed as presentational elements, and for the most part, that's how
they are used--to alter font size. It's better to use semantic elements
such as headers,
and classes, combined with style sheets for stylistic control. Therefore, using
<small> is discouraged. But
what should I do if I want something to really be big? I don't want it
stressed or emphasized, I want it
Big! *throws hands apart in the gesture that
They're not the same -- if you've ever played in an orchestra you know what I
mean. When the conductor says "Make it big!" s/he doesn't mean "Put some
emphasis on it." >This< *jabs
air* is emphasis. It's not big. Forte is big. This is sharp. It's like
the little v-shaped 'hat' accent. –This– *moves tensed hands slightly forward and out* is
stress. It's not big. It's pushed in and stretched full, like the
My argument isn't completely irrelevant, btw.
I'm thinking of how one should mark up something like the two phrases at the
end of http://www.mozilla.org/docs/refList/i18n/.
(Read it. It's interesting.) Of course I could assign an ID to each of them
and associate "big" CSS with them that way, but that's little better than
style attribute. They're not specially styled because
they're "one-codebase" and "another-language". They're not styled because
they're "catchy-phrase"s. They're styled large and blue because the author
wanted them "big". (There! Notice the color; it's not just a font size
change.) The bigness makes a difference. Compare
It has a different, and not entirely media dependent, effect.
Probably the best one could do is
since "strong" comes close, even though "emphasis" doesn't cut it.
(This won't work for
Why do I insist on size, which technically is physical, rather than
accent or importance? Size has a different connotation, as I've pointed
out above. Those phrases are not meant to
stand up and shout
for your attention like the self-important warning at the top of
(which should be marked up as "important"). They're a loud and
forceful and memorable conclusion to the text. If I styled them in italics or
<em>phasized them they wouldn't be
so loud. They'd just be a few dinky phrases at the end of an essay, and
I wouldn't have remembered them for months and months.
So, what's an excuse for
I wish you'd update more often.. Even though I never update myself. *hides*
It's actually a pattern I encounter more often than "big". The pattern, I said, not the text! *runs away*
Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style
1.2.1 Read the text before designing it.
The typographer's one essential task is to interpret and communicate the text. It's tone, its tempo, its logical structure, its physical size, all determine the possibilities of its typographic form. The typographer is to the text as the theatrical director to the script, or the musician to the score.