1. “Your spending. Automatically tracked.”
(private text-based message (from a bank), no special formatting)
2. Your thirst (italic – to establish topic)
REVERSED (bold, to have impact)
(public notice, re fountain drinks at a fast-food restaurant,
and therefore heavily formatted)
3. FEED (yellow – to establish topic)
ME! (red, to have impact)
(public notice, re a trash can in a fast-food restaurant,
and therefore heavily formatted)
4. If there is anything you need, (bold – bold being needed to introduce a hypothetical)
just ask (italic, to be conciliatory)
(high on the wall, inside of Walmart)
It seems that formatting (for public notices) for the
topic and for the impact follow certain rules:
The formatting in support of establishing the topic
is ‘spritely’ – e.g., italic or yellow, whereas the
formatting in support of delivering the impact is
‘heavy’ – e.g., bold or red. (Note that for a hypothetical, as in #4 above, the formatting is reversed.)
suggested new terminology: let us call a posting of the form “X, Y”, where X has ‘weak’ formatting and Y has ‘strong’ formatting for public non-hypothetical postings, with the formatting being reversed for public hypothetical postings a ‘boomerang’ (as the evident intention of such a posting is to ‘pull you in’).
keywords: linguistics, persuasion, signage