Based in New YOrk City, breaking the page is a blog by Pete Meyers. Posts cover content strategy and the art of modern message making.

Time to Kill the Pullquote?

How about: let’s give it a new job.

Pullquotes work differently online than in print.

In print a pullquote is a content merchandising tool, a kind of lure (hey, reader, look at me). It’s an ad for the article it represents. Meant for browsers and skimmers, the pullquote waves its flag at eyes flipping through a magazine quickly. Or it offers help for those looking at a printed newspaper, fully opened, trying to decide what to read next.

But the reading experience online is different. Most of the time when we encounter pullquotes they deliver a redundant payload:

recode.png

Word rep

This pullquote (1) presents an interesting claim, which the article then proceeds to repeat, almost verbatim, 42 words later (2).

So, kill the pullquote? Nope. Better: re-design its role.

Something more like a sub-hed and body text combined. The former marks the beginning of a section dedicated to a discrete topic; the latter is exposition, details, an idea’s fine print. Sub-heds are like an outline, planted at various points across the body of a document. Body text is the workhorse of prose, but does nothing to distinguish key points. It gives no help to a writer who wants to say to the reader: Look, this point I’m making here is especially important. (True, we have boldface, italics, and ALL CAPS, but none of these offer the typographical and spatial freedom that comes with a stylistic element that can stand alone in the text flow.) I call this new editorial element a “push quote.” 

Pushquote. Noun, an interesting claim, worthy of the reader’s special attention.

It’s already starting to show up in the wild. For example:

the outline.png

Stick it

Here it serves as a kind of memory-reinforcing claim.

And: 

farnam street.png

Big idea

They can also, quite literally, push in front of a reader a quote that’s worthy of their attention.

What do you think?

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