What is a header, sub-head & body copy?


When designing a recipe, magazine article or newspaper, you want to help the reader understand what the page is about prior to their reading every single word on it. To facilitate understanding, you should create hierarchy. That means creating a big, bold headline that tells readers what the story is about.


That big, bold headline is called display type. You should choose one or two display typefaces and use them throughout your publication. You can draw attention to display type by making it bold, all capitals or both.


You probably can’t fit all of the necessary information about a story into a headline. Therefore, you should choose a typeface for sub heads. Sub heads are smaller than display type and usually are placed right under the display type. You may choose to make your sub head type the same typeface as your display type, but less bold. You can use a thinner weight of the same typeface.

Body Copy

Your actual article is placed on the page under the display type and sub head. Only serifs and sans serifs are appropriate for body copy. Novelty, script and square serif typefaces are too hard to read as body copy and can turn readers away and diminish reading comprehension.

Body copy is generally from 9 to 11 points in size, depending on the typeface you are using.

One strategy for creating a good design is to use a typeface from one font family as your display and sub head typeface and choose another typeface from another font family for your body copy.