by Ilene Strizver
An end mark (sometimes called an end sign) is the small graphic element placed at the end of an article, chapter or story. It sends a clear, “that’s it, there isn’t anymore” message to the reader. End marks are most often used in magazines, newsletters and journals, in which long articles typically jump from page to page, but they can also be used in books, short text pieces, or even on the web – anywhere a decorative or graphic element could helpfully signal “the end”.
An end mark can be a simple circle or a square, a decorative filigree flourish, or a customized element, such as a logo. Any sort of symbol, ornament, dingbat, icon or image can be used as an end mark, but make sure the element you choose retains its clarity when reduced. End marks should be consistent within a publication, but for variety, they can change with each issue, volume or even season.
The ubiquitous ITC Zapf Dingbats is a treasure trove of end mark graphics. Other sources are the many ornament, image and design fonts available, or clip art collections. There are even occasional ornaments and dingbats “hidden” in some text fonts.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can design your own end mark, then create an .eps file or make it into a font. Even an “out-of-the-box” end mark can be customized. You can:
- Add color to liven it up
- Scale, flip or rotate; Size it so it harmonizes with the size of the adjacent type
When placing your end mark, position it either on the baseline or centered against the type. Remember to use fixed leading (not auto-leading) to keep the line spacing in your layout consistent. And have fun – as long as you keep it tasteful and appropriate, an end mark is entitled to pack a little punch.
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.