The technical writers’ italic

Highlighting a new term, citing a source, applying emphasis: these all become more practical within text, with a companion italic font available.

In long-form typesetting, it’s unlikely you’d suggest a typographer does this using a roman typeface from one family, and an italic from another.

So why are technical writers, developers, and sometimes even typeface designers themselves, often stuck in this exact situation when writing documentation: stuck pairing a monospace from one family with a roman from another?

In technical writing that involves any code, a monospace is the writer’s italic.

Yet, if you are a technical writer—or writing documentation, standing in for one—it’s very likely you write inline code and code blocks a lot more often than you write inline italics and blockquotes.

Families with monospace fonts have become a lot more common, but certainly they are nowhere near being seen as required like an italic. Unlike a faux italic, no publishing software is going to produce a “faux monospace” for writers using your typeface—which you almost certainly wouldn’t want anyway.

But what would a half-measure here look like? What if you could produce a better-than-the-alternative monospace to pair with a sans-serif you’ve already made?

Until next time,