Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. It has always been my understanding that in a table published in a book, the table source and footnotes should be in the same font and type size. Your table examples would seem to corroborate that, but I’m experiencing some push-back about this at work. Am I right, or is there more leeway than I thought?

A. Although in matters of design there are few unbreakable rules, a consistent style is probably the best choice for table notes and sources, since (1) they are the same kind of information and don’t benefit from being distinguished, and (2) normally they aren’t meant to be eye-catching or decorative. Varying their style would merely be design for the sake of design.