In this font landing page "small caps" and "capitals" are being differentiated. Why? What is the difference in appearance and utility?

See for example this font that includes both capitals and small caps.

  • Hi Bar Akiva, thanks for your question. Please consider googling a question or searching sources like Wikipedia before posting a question here. We'd like to add new knowledge to the 'net, not copy existing knowledge from well-known sources. Thanks for your understanding!
    – Vincent
    May 18, 2016 at 10:18
  • 1
    @Vincent understood Vincent. Though now if you now google my question at google this graphicdesign.SE question is at the top organic search results. Query-related questions that come in the organic results contribute to StackExchange as it produces more traffic :)
    – Bar Akiva
    May 18, 2016 at 14:09
  • For you maybe, but for me the first hit is still the Wikipedia article :)
    – Vincent
    May 18, 2016 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


Typically a font’s small caps are designed to rise up to somewhere around the font’s x-height (or a little higher). Regular capitals rise to the full cap-height. For example, in Adobe Caslon:

Three H glyphs in Adobe Caslon: capital, lowercase, and small caps

Sometimes the small capitals are just scaled down versions of the capital glyphs, but on a well-considered and complete typeface (like in Adobe Caslon above, or in the Franchise Bold font you referenced), they’re often slightly different shapes, so that their weight and thickness is consistent with the rest of the typeface.

That way, you can set small caps right in line with standard glyphs without the capitals just looking like a smaller font size.

  • 2
    "weight and thickness is consistent": another way to say this is that the intention is to have "texture" of the small capitals match better with lower-case running text surrounding it.
    – Yorik
    May 26, 2016 at 16:30
  • Beautifully put.
    – Jacob Ford
    May 26, 2016 at 23:33

Wikipedia, 'Small caps' page:

In typography, small capitals (usually abbreviated small caps) are uppercase (capital) characters set at the same height and weight as surrounding lowercase (small) letters or text figures. They are used in running text to prevent capitalized words from appearing too large on the page, and as a method of emphasis or distinctiveness for text alongside or instead of italics, or when boldface is inappropriate.

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