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I am typesetting an interview in a special issue of a journal. In this issue, we begin each article with a drop cap and a few words in small caps (using the lettrine package). My question is: from aesthetical/typographical point of view, where is it best to put an initial (or is it better not to use it at all - though I'd prefer to use it, for the sake of consistency with the rest of the issue)?

The beginning of the interview looks more or less like this (this is not the actual code, but reflects the look):

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{lettrine}

\title{Interview with Johannes Gutenberg}
\author{}
\date{}

\begin{document}
\maketitle
\noindent Mbork: \emph{I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Gutenberg in Mainz.
  He kindly agreed to talk to me. Sir, please tell me something about you.}
\medskip
\noindent\emph{Johannes Gutenberg}: I was born in 1398\dots
\end{document}
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3  
It does not feel right to me to put it inside the "dialogue" because it kind of gives too much weight to the name of the speaker, which really isn't the most important thing. How about having a short (3-4 lines) paragraph above the interview briefly stating who is this Gutenberg and what he did (like your first two sentences but a bit longer)? Then a drop-cap would be perfectly fine, and the dialogue would start afterwards. Is that a possibility for you? What I mean is: you need 3-4 lines for the drop-cap to look nice, and you don't need the interviewer's name on the presentation lines. –  ienissei Apr 10 '12 at 11:07
    
Good idea - but unfortunately, this does not depend on me. And since there will be quite a few interviews, and all with living people (what a surprise!), any info about them is extremely risky - somewhere someone will get offended etc... –  mbork Apr 10 '12 at 11:22
3  
It might still be safe to write that someone is the CEO of some company, or that he is working somewhere, or that he accepted to meet with you in some place. Nothing personal or fancy, just wasting three lines so you can put the lettrine and the small-caps on his name before the interview. Like: \lettrine{J}{ohannes Gutenberg}, the inventor of the modern printing press, relying on movable type, has kindly accepted to meet us and answer our questions in his Mainz premisses. –  ienissei Apr 10 '12 at 11:28
    
@ienissei: that's true, I'll suggest this to the editor, but I'm afraid that he might not want to do it. We'll see. Anyway, I'm still waiting for suggested answers;). –  mbork Apr 10 '12 at 11:30
5  
I concur with @ienissei: starting an interview without any presentation is questionable. Giving emphasis to the interviewer's name is simply wrong. –  egreg Apr 10 '12 at 11:33

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

For lack of other suggestions, I am posting what I suggested in the comments. I hope that your editor can accommodate a solution of this kind (take it as a lesser evil).

Since the journal in question uses drop-caps at the beginning of articles, it would only seem right to implement one for the interviews as well. However, it would be improper to put the lettrine and small-caps on the interviewer's name, since, beyond the graphic effect, drop-caps do put an important emphasis on the text they decorate. It would be very wrong indeed to emphasise the name of the interviewer, notwithstanding the fact that the first question of all interviews would then have to be at least three lines long – otherwise the lettrine would look ugly.

This is why I suggest to write a short presentation text above the interview, which makes it possible to put the drop-cap on the interviewee's name. Typically, such introductions include one or two public, objective facts that anyone could have gathered, e.g. from the person's resume. (And as @egreg said, such presentations are simply good-practice.)

This is just a sample, the lettrine could (should) indeed be hand-tuned.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{lettrine}

\title{Interview with Johannes Gutenberg}
\author{}
\date{}

\begin{document}
\maketitle

\lettrine{J}{ohannes Gutenberg}, the inventor of the modern printing press, relying on movable type, has kindly accepted to meet us and answer our questions in his Mainz premisses.\medskip

\noindent Mbork: \emph{Sir, please tell me something about you.}\medskip

\noindent\emph{Johannes Gutenberg}: I was born in 1398\dots
\end{document}

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