by Ilene Strizver
Pull-quotes are a great way to add visual interest to a layout, especially when you have a lot of text to work with but few or no photographs or illustrations.
A pull-quote is a key phrase or quotation “pulled” from the text and used as a graphic element. Pull quotes are usually set larger than the body text and positioned to attract the reader’s attention.
Pull-quotes are commonly used in magazine and newspaper articles, annual reports, brochures, flyers, and direct mail pieces. Well-selected and well-placed pull quotes add much more than visual excitement: they can serve as a “hook” to catch and hold your reader’s interest, increasing readership and comprehension.
Which quote you pull, how you set it, and where you put it will all affect how successful your pull-quote will be at attracting the reader’s eye. Here are some guidelines for getting the most of out of the “which, how, and where” of pull-quotes.
1. Pull your quote wisely. The quote you select should be thought-provoking, engaging, and brief. Your writer, editor, or client can assist in selecting pull-quotes. They can also help edit long sentences into tight, provocative pull-quote versions.
(TIP: If the article uses direct quotations, these will most often provide compelling material for pull-quotes – but make sure that taking a quote out of context doesn’t distort the speaker’s meaning.)
2. Think contrast and emphasis. Remember, a pull-quote is display copy. It should offer a strong visual contrast to your body text and be able to catch the eye of a potential reader who’s skimming or flipping pages. Set pull-quotes in a larger point size than the body text, and use a different version of the text typeface (such as italics or boldface). Or try using a different typeface altogether for extra contrast .
You can set off your pull-quote with rules (double, triple, extra thick or scotch rules) and borders. A pull-quote can be set in reverse or color, or within a shaded box. As in all display copy, remember to use real quotation marks (the curly kind), and hang your punctuation for a crisp,
(TIP: Oversized quotation marks in a different weight or color can frame your pull-quote and make a strong visual statement.)
3. Choose your position. Try placing a pull-quote above or below the body text, spanning multiple columns with body text wrapped around it, or in a blank column next to the main copy. A pull quote can also be used it as a subhead (or deck) beneath the headline.
(TIP: Pull-quotes should grab the reader’s attention, not play tug-o’-war with it. Limit pull-quotes to one to a page to keep your layout from becoming too busy.)
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- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.