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I'm trying to find an alternative to simply "bold/italic" words that I want to enhance within a continuous block of Helvetica/Arial text.

For example:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Is there a specific font/type that I could use instead of bold/italic that would make those words stick out better -- without disrupting the spacing and flow of the text?

Unfortunately there is no space for adding paragraphs, indentation etc.

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Can you add different weights? –  Yisela Dec 19 '12 at 21:06
    
It's almost impossible to give you any specific advice on this without knowing and understanding what it is you're trying to achieve and why bold/italic is not suitable. Underscoring words, reverse blocking them in black or grey or white on black are all options, but what are you trying to achieve? –  spiceyokooko Dec 24 '12 at 18:44

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Helvetica is very closely related to (in fact derived from) Clarendon. I'd try that route.

Clarendon:

enter image description here

Akzidenz Grotesk (see comments):

enter image description here

Helvetica:

enter image description here

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While they pair nicely, I've never heard that one was derived from the other. Would love to read more about that. –  DA01 Dec 20 '12 at 3:46
    
Actually it was the much more graceful Akzidenz Grotesk that was related to Clarendon. Haas Grotesk, which became Helvetica, was an attempt to neutralize the character of the earlier face. –  plainclothes Dec 20 '12 at 5:26
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do you have any citations on that? I know they are often paired together. Would love to know more about how they relate in terms of one being derived from the other. –  DA01 Dec 20 '12 at 5:38
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@plainclothes re. "Place the three next to each other in succession and you'll see the heritage." - added this to the answer, is interesting to look at. p.s. what's the relation between Akzidenz Grotesk and Clarendon? –  user568458 Dec 20 '12 at 11:55
1  
Basic typographic structure. Grotesks are descendents of Clarendons (the early Egyptian types) which came out of wood type in the 19th century. Akzidenz, one of the earliest complete sans designs (excepting some experiments by Baskerville), was designed at the tail end of the Clarendons glory days. As I said, I have to do some digging to pull up more specific connections. –  plainclothes Dec 20 '12 at 16:43

You could try small caps. It's not as "shouty" as all caps, but there's a definite visual difference.

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You could use a technique popular in North Korea.

Whenever leader Kim Jong-un is mentioned, his name is automatically displayed ever so slightly bigger than the text around it. Not by much, but just enough to make it stand out.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20445632

It's a great way to add emphasis for Dear Leader, or any text you desire.

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2  
I've seen this work quite well in non-despotic contexts in web and print as well (can't remember where). Must be done sparingly, and it may help to lower the baseline slightly for the larger text to balance the difference in size. Also, be careful that you don't end up with uneven linespacing - e.g. fixed absolute leading/line-height. +1 not just for a good suggestion, but for the first time in any context I've ever seen a genuine suggestion of the form "Try it how they do it in North Korea" :D –  user568458 Dec 20 '12 at 12:25
    
very interesting @marc, thanks - i think there could be issues with linespacing –  torr Dec 23 '12 at 14:59

You could perhaps stroke the words you want to highlight with black or a different color and perhaps increase the character spacing a little bit if you can

Or you can use IMPACT font . It makes the text stand out

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Changing the typeface mid-stride is certainly doable, but likely way too big of a change if the goal is merely emphasis. Given that this is a large block of text, my assumption is that you want it to remain readable. Swapping fonts in the middle of paragraphs is going to be a distraction more than anything.

If bold isn't enough, consider changing it for a different weight of helvetica (say heavy or black).

Bolding and italicizing is also likely overkill. But it all depends on context and your particular goals.

Oh, one more thought...is color an option? Perhaps a color change would work.

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The question was about alternatives to simple weight variation. Why does everyone want to talk torr out of the chosen solution? This has been done before and can make for a nice variation. I say go for it torr and prove the doubters wrong! –  plainclothes Dec 20 '12 at 5:30
    
@plainclothes unless I misread the OP's question, they were looking for solutions beyond bold and italic. Changing the weight of of a typeface beyond bold seems to fit that criteria. –  DA01 Dec 20 '12 at 5:35

I would simply use a different face of Helvetica. For example, if text is set in Helvetica Regular, I would use Helvetica Black for emphasis. I tend to avoid "bold" weights in favor of "black" weights. The black weights simply supply more visual contrast.

I always default to font family weight changes before I'll even consider looking outside the family. Even more so for paragraph text. This is why I try and use text families with multiple faces rather than the standard regular, italic, bold, bold italic.

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The question was what can be done instead of just alternating weight. –  plainclothes Dec 20 '12 at 1:06
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@plainclothes no.. the question was what to do rather than use "bold/italic" –  Scott Dec 20 '12 at 1:07
    
I would call Helvetica Black a boldface font. I think it falls within the range of the OP's "bold". I'll let torr answer that, I suppose. –  plainclothes Dec 20 '12 at 1:08
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Bold is a particular weight, as is black, and heavy. So, black is black, bold is bold in this particular case. –  DA01 Dec 20 '12 at 3:48

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