How essential is a bold weight? I’m toying with using
smallcaps for the “Bold,” with slanted smallcaps for the “Bold Italic” in a
face, and wanted to get some opinions.
I prefer the consistency of color that smallcaps give; I dislike bold weights. Plenty of typographers have used smallcaps in place of bold, so there’s certainly precedent. Italic caps are slanted romans, so slanted smallcaps are in some way consistent. These are all arguments more or less in favor of smallcaps (at least in general).
However, I see a few problems. First, the consistency of color can be a bad thing. Some people like words to jump out. Sometimes such jumping out is even a good thing, such as in a dictionary. Second, I’m proposing a rather nonstandard usage. People just aren’t used to seeing smallcaps at all, and slanted smallcaps probably look exotic even to font geeks. Also, people often use bold in ALL CAPS, and since the caps won’t differ in roman and bold weights, this distinction will be lost.