You Learn Something New

I’m writing a review of a (soon to be released) book about fonts and typography and have just learned of the existence of the “interrobang,” described and explain by writer Simon Garfield as such:

“The Interrobang is not a font –– just a single character.  Yet it is so powerful a symbol, and such a flawed and original concept, that it deserves a place alongside the most adventurous typographic innovations of the last century.  It is an exclamation mark and a question mark combined, a ligature looping the curve of the interrogation with the downward force of the expletive (which compositors and printers have traditionally called a bang.).  When they meld, they need only one round point at their base.

“The Interrobang has its roots in 1960s advertising.  The New York ad executive Martin Spekter was looking for a way to express astonishment and disliked the clumsy combination of ?! when he wanted to say things like ‘How much?!?!’ and ‘You’re not serious?!’  But when he expressed his frustration in a type magazine he only had the idea for it, not the name.  Readers suggested the Exclamaquest and the QuizDing, before the Interrobang was chosen.”

I would continue on with the explanation of the Interrobang’s lack of success, but I don’t know how to actually type it into this post.

As Garfield calls it, "the Esperanto of fonts."

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