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This is a typesetting question rather than a TeX question. Which should be used for labels in diagrams: title case, sentence case, lowercase, or small caps?

I've seen all of these in various diagrams. I think the small caps look really good here on pages 2 and 21. But, I think title case and lower case are more common.

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I wouldn't care much so long as they are uniform throughout the document and they don't contrast with the overall aspect; for instance, if boldface is never used (except, say, for particular math symbols), I wouldn't use boldface for labels. In that document small caps are abundant and so the choice of reduced size capitals can be justified. Personally I'd prefer lowercase. –  egreg Sep 29 '11 at 11:43
    
@egreg: I didn't notice that the small caps were used as section headings as well. But, you're right, they look good because they match. –  Neil G Sep 29 '11 at 11:47
    
For me, as @egreg mentioned, it's all about consistency across document elements. Whatever is used in the diagrams should be duplicated (with minimal visible variation) in the text. –  Werner Sep 29 '11 at 20:24
    
I also agree with @egreg, consistency is all it is about. However, there are indeed some common practice for choosing fonts. On page 55 of The Elements of Typography there is a good illustration for combining different types. The basic idea is that one should move from one font to another "smoothly". For example, move from u&l face to bold italic will be a too big step and won't be recommended. Moving from u&l to italic, full caps, small caps are all fine. So in addition to the consistency throughout document, the contrast caused by using different faces should also be considered. –  Yan Zhou Sep 29 '11 at 22:48
    
By the way, I was referring the version 3.2 of The Element, in case of any confusions. –  Yan Zhou Sep 29 '11 at 22:50

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I wouldn't care much so long as they are uniform throughout the document and they don't contrast with the overall aspect; for instance, if boldface is never used (except, say, for particular math symbols), I wouldn't use boldface for labels.

In that document small caps are abundant and so the choice of reduced size capitals can be justified. Personally I'd prefer lowercase, though.

It's not simply a question of "no contrasts, please". One might very well choose contrasting fonts for chapter and section titles, for example. But a figure is much more alike text than titles are.

In the sample paper, the labels to the objects are not more important than the relations between those objects; using boldface or even italics would give those words too much evidence with respect to the objects.

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