I'm working on a website, and I'm using a drop cap/initial letter for the text body. I find this technique to be very eye-catching and beautiful to look at. Does anyone know any similar simple, preferably traditional (before we had computers to do graphic design), typographical techniques that I can use either for this project or for the future?

Here are examples of images that use these: enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

It does NOT have to be these drop caps and fleurons specifically, and aesthetic and classy techniques are fine.


Side note: If anyone knows how to style these in HTML and CSS, that would be useful, but not necessary.

EDIT: Another example is a Fleuron, so elements such as these and drop caps are what I'm looking for.

  • Drop caps usually sit on an x height base. They can be even, one line, two line, or three lines deep, and generally sit over the cap height of the top lead in sentence line. Can you provide an example? Apr 30, 2018 at 23:02
  • This (magazinedesigning.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/…) is my favorite example of a drop cap.
    – jstowell
    Apr 30, 2018 at 23:06
  • Can you please include an image of what exactly you are referring to?
    – Welz
    Apr 30, 2018 at 23:13
  • @WELZ I added the images
    – jstowell
    Apr 30, 2018 at 23:23

1 Answer 1


The running foot was common in traditional typography and can be useful as well as decorative. Two different use cases are:

  • to provide a brief summary of that page’s contents.
  • to give the first word of the following page.

It has fallen out of fashion because pages often aren’t set manually anymore and implementing a running foot means more work than in metal type (among other reasons).

Actually, your example from TexSX (the bible page) uses the latter technique: the en on the bottom right side of the page is the first word of the next page.

I guess it is of limited value for websites, though. Edit: I realized that the running foot is actually used on websites quite frequently: e. g. in articles that spread over multiple pages. See this example in the German newspaper Zeit Online (Times Online): Sie sind gefeuert (You’re fired).

The article is presented on two pages. On the bottom of the first page, there’s a link to the second page: nächste Seite (next page). Next to that button, the heading of the second page is shown: Neue Kommunikation mit alten Strukturen (New communication using old structures). This is a typical example of a running foot in an online environment.

The frame is another typical decoration that has lost its place in everyday print, but I can imagine it could very well be applied to online content. Here’s an example (also from TexSX):


One of the best ways (if not the besttm) to “decorate” your text probably is to give it the right amount of space on the screen, with sufficient white space around it. You could follow a traditional page layout to evoke a “classical” feeling.

  • Do you know how to achieve this effect?
    – jstowell
    May 1, 2018 at 19:27
  • 1
    @jstowell I’m not a web designer and do not know much about programming. Taking a look at the source, the part concerning the buttons is quite short (a couple of lines), but the whole layout is defined elsewhere. You could ask a new question about this. I’m not sure if this is the right place, though: maybe better ask at stackoverflow.com
    – Philipp
    May 2, 2018 at 6:10
  • I am quite active at stackoverflow, but one question similar to what you suggested was poorly recieved and I can no longer ask questions.
    – jstowell
    May 2, 2018 at 16:07

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