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What is the difference between small caps and capitals?


Question

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.

2016/05/18
1
0
5/18/2016 10:15:00 AM

Accepted Answer

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.

2016/05/26
8
5/26/2016 3:45:00 PM