National Punctuation Day sort of escaped me yesterday, but I didn't want to
let it go by entirely unnoticed here at Letterology. To put a finer point on it...
visual communication relies on punctuation. It reminds us when to breath,
when to stop, when to pepper our speech with enthusiasm, and when to
question. It behaves as signposts and wayfinders to help us navigate language,
and signal action. Punctuation characters are the supporting cast for all the
other 26 letters of our alphabet. Without them, words fail and language has no
Learning when and where to apply punctuation is a perennial challenge at
times—certainly for me that is! Then there are the diverse styles of marks—
each with various features, which we seldom see as we are too busy paying
dues to 26 U&lc letters. By comparison, the marks may seem inconsequential,
but enlarge them 800% and you will discover they all have distinct features.
One of the best graphic examples I've seen of this is Heidi Neilson's 2003 book,
diversity of the period. Delightful, and one I always saved to show my type
students in the past.
|In the page spreads above you see a Jenson period and a Papyrus period.|
The many exclamation marks at top are in order of appearance from left to right: Avenir Regular; Bank Gothic Medium; Bodoni Book; Centaur Regular; Century Schoolbook Bold; Cooper Black Regular; Eurostile Bold; Agenda Bold; Gotham Bold; Optima Bold; Grand Central Bold; Adobe Jenson Pro Bold; Stone Sans Semi; Franklin Gothic Med Regular; and Whitney HTF Bold.
And a few punctuation haikus from National Punctuation Day:
Alas my text friend
Punctuation's gone again
How do I read this?
- Larry McGee
means "I am so excited!"
CAPS LOCK is just loud
- Morgan O'Brien
I love the em dash.
It's a lot easier than
The 50-yard one.
- Lex Friedman