Module: Signs & Symbols
Everything from accented characters to Zapf Dingbats is addressed in this module. You’ll learn how and when to use bullets and boxes, where and when to punctuate and the virtues of ligatures. This module is about all the important typographic characters – that are not single letters or numbers.
Ligatures Part 1 - Standard
Like chocolate and peanut butter, some letters seem meant to be combined – which is one of the reasons ligatures were invented. These characters combine two or more letters into a single cohesive unit. OpenType has provided the opportunity for type designers to include many of these special characters into their fonts. Read on to learn more about them…
Ligatures Part 2 - Discretionary
More on ligatures, those special multi-letter characters that are designed to add visual interest to your work. In Part 2 we look at discretionary ligatures, which can give ordinary text a sense of elegance, tradition, or just plain fun.
Accents & Accented Characters
An acute case of accented characters needn’t be a grave situation. Just circumflex your brain, get to know your keyboard, and before you can say umlaut, you’ll be at home in the world of diacritics.
Register, Trademark and Copyright Symbols
Register, trademark and copyright symbols are important communicators. They help establish brand identities and protect creative work from theft or plagiarism. Despite their legal and symbolic power, these symbols need to speak softly, typographically speaking. Their tasteful and appropriate use is a small but significant part of good typography.
What kind of a bullet doesn’t travel at high speeds and is completely non-violent? A typographer’s bullet, of course! This very useful typographic element can add emphasis, clarity and visual interest to all kinds of copy.
Setting type means selecting and arranging groups of characters, but not all of those characters have to be part of the alphabet. Dingbats are non-typographic elements that can enhance your work by adding variety and functionality.
Punctuation refers to typographic symbols (and sometimes spaces) used to clarify the meaning of text, as well as to aid in reading comprehension. Some punctuation marks – such as commas, periods, dashes and colons – serve to divide text into phrases and sentences, directly impacting, and sometimes significantly altering, their meaning and interpretation. Without the benefit of correct punctuation, text may be subject to misinterpretation in dramatic, and even embarrassing, ways
Hyphens and Dashes
Hyphens, en and em dashes are among the most misunderstood, and misused, punctuation marks in typography. While their appearance is generally similar, they have distinct designs and serve specific functions.
A typeface consists of a great deal more than letters, numbers and basic punctuation. Assorted symbols are also part of the character set. Some of them are essential for branding and identity projects; others are optional for certain functional or decorative purposes.
The letters of the Latin alphabet haven’t changed in eons, and there is limited latitude in how much a designer can modify or embellish the basic shapes. The ampersand, however, is a shinning example of an exception to the rule.