A pull quote is a typographical technique in which an excerpt or quote from an article is reprinted within the article in larger text and using a different formatting style so that it jumps out at the reader. Common in magazines and newspapers, they are easily spotted as a chunk of text which is set apart from the rest of an article. Pull quotes are used to add visual interest to a printed piece, making it more dynamic and eye-catching. They are also used to place special emphasis on a particular line or issue in the piece.
Magazines frequently feature pull quotes, as do some newspapers. They are also employed in online media, which can tend to be bland without the use of typographical tricks to jazz it up. Typically, only one or two pull quotes are used per page, because higher numbers would be distracting.
There are all sorts of ways to format a pull quote. At a minimum, the text in a pull quote is larger than the text in body of the piece. A different font or color may be used, along with accents like colored bars, ornaments, or italics. Depending on the publication, the pull quote may be more flashy; traditionalist publications tend to keep their pull quotes fairly staid, if they use pull quotes at all.
The positioning of these typographical features varies as well. Some publications set them up so that they span multiple columns of text to make them very catchy, while others fill an empty column which is typically thinner than a standard column with a pull quote. The quote may also be framed within a regular column, or it can run across a leader page in a magazine; the leader might include the article title, a distinctive image, and a pull quote.
The content of a pull quote, also called a call out or lift-out quote, is intended to grab the reader's eye. It might briefly sum up an important point in the article, or use a shocking quote to catch the reader's attention. Once the reader sees the pull quote, the hope is that he or she will be pulled into the feature piece. These graphical treatments can be very valuable when they are used well, although they can overwhelm readers if they are too heavily utilized. It takes a good eye to find the right quote, format it, and frame it properly.