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So you often see the first paragraph, for example of an about us page, where the first paragraph has a larger font and just kind of gives an enticing bit of information to read further. Anybody know what these are called? thanks.

Heard it referred to once as an exciter, but not sure if that's just something the person made up or not..

edit: added image.

enter image description here

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+1. Great question. – Lauren Ipsum Apr 22 '13 at 21:23
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Sorry to be boring, but I've always found that "opening paragraph" does the job. Typography books often describe them this way too. Never seen a separate term.

If you call it the 'opening paragraph' rather than simply the 'first paragraph', that implies you're treating it as special or distinct, without implying anything specific about how it's written (like lead paragraph does). In any conversation about "the style of the opening paragraph(s)", it's clear what's going on.

Here's a real-world example of a typography book (Typography Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Working with Type, By Ina Salt) talking about opening paragraphs in this way, from a chapter titled "Opening Paragraphs":

THE APPEARANCE OF THE OPENING paragraph is as important as its content in drawing the reader into the text. There are a myriad interesting ways to accentuate an opening paragraph that signals the beginning of a long passage of text...

Another book example - an Indesign book with a chapter titled "First Impressions: Creating Great Opening Paragraphs" (bizarrely it then goes on to talk about nothing but drop-cap initials).

I've sometimes seen "pull-out copy" or "pull-out paragraph" used for paragraphs that deliberately break the flow of a document to stand out (like a pull quote), but these aren't necessarily opening paragraphs.

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@568458, thanks for your reply, though I think they're frankly synonymous, and don't think lede implies anything more than "opening paragraph" does. (example, opening paragraph redirects to lead paragraph on wikipedia).. On the other hand, opening paragraph is more simple, and might make more sense when you're trying to explain the content that you need to a client. It's a tricky question though, because when I google the term the top results for "opening paragraph" seem to be more essay focused, whereas lead-lede-paragraph, seems more general purpose. – Demetrio Apr 23 '13 at 19:13

Ahh, found it it's called a lede paragraph-(yes it's spelled lede). It sometimes functions as a hook, to get the reader to keep reading, or in some cases a summary of what follows. Also great way to give hierarchy to your type on simple pages.

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What's your source? "Lede" has a different meaning in journalistic writing, so I'm curious about the crossover. – Lauren Ipsum Apr 23 '13 at 0:27
1 Although seems to have pretty much the same meaning. Maybe it has more specific recomendations for journalism though. (note it is also refered to as a "lead" paragraph, but lede is prefered due to ambiguity with lead (stemming from lead typesetting apparently)... I read a couple other articles about it, but too lazy to run try and find them. – Demetrio Apr 23 '13 at 3:43
Yeah, "lede" as you're describing (in the link) has nothing to do with the formatting. Your question about the formatting is really good, but this is not the answer. You can format any part of the story that way -- you can have a long chatty profile which doesn't have a "lede" in the journalistic sense, but has an opening paragraph formatting the way you describe. In fact, you can have a really long article with sections, and an interior section can have the huge formatting in the middle (where it's definitely not a lede). – Lauren Ipsum Apr 23 '13 at 10:09
"'lede' as you're describing (in the link) has nothing to do with the formatting." No it doesn't per say, it's just often formatted that way. Obviously a paragraph in the middle fo the text has nothing to do with a lede paragraph. – Demetrio Apr 23 '13 at 18:57
Yes, but you can format a paragraph in the middle of the text the way you're describing, so "lede" is not the right term. – Lauren Ipsum Apr 23 '13 at 19:20

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