Creating Emphasis in Copy

A few tips on how to tastefully make copy stand out.

Diana Lillicrap 10.19.2010


We have all received those irritating correspondence where every sentence ends with an exclamation point! How annoying! Right?!

Ok, you get the point. Sometimes it makes sense to add emphasis to certain words or sentences, but there’s no need to have your audience feel as though you are screaming at them. Here are a few other styles to consider.

Try using italic to call out a key word or phrase. It’s a softer, yet effective means to make copy stand out.

Or when you want words to be seen quickly in a larger block of copy, consider boldface type.

All capital letters might be appropriate from TIME-TO-TIME to highlight a single idea. But keep in mind this can be hard to read when applied to longer phrases.

Bullets can help you call attention to ideas that are:

  • Concise
  • And appropriate for a list

The occasional exclamation point isn’t all bad. But watch out! Too many emphasized words will give your copy a tone that feels rushed, loud, or irritating.

The best rule is to think about reading your copy out loud. If you would actually yell or stress a certain word, consider a means to show it in your written document. If not, leave it alone. Remember, just like the spoken word, if you scream every word, everything will just be loud, not different or special.

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