An initial is a more largely set, often several lines comprehensive letter with a decorating character at the beginning of a work, a chapter or a paragraph.

In the early period of the printing the typesetters released the necessary surface, so that the Initials (in a further work procedure) could be arranged by book painters or writers. Historical Initials was decorated frequently with ornamentations or motives, which refer to the action of the text.

The word comes from the Latin initialis, which means standing at the beginning.

See also: Typography