Given that I’m still on hiatus, I’m cheating a little for this year’s gift guide. I have just the one suggestion, and you may already have guessed what it is: why not treat yourself or a loved one to a copy of The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time?
So: time to catch up! Here are a few links to punctuational goings-on from the past couple of months.
First up, pan-European typefoundry Underware recently took some time to dive into the importance of the pointing hand, or manicule (☞). It’s an old mark, hailing back to the days when the readers of manuscripts and early printed books would draw little pointing hands in the margins to call attention to passages of interest. Though the manicule survived in print, it gradually slid from its previously exalted position, yielding the job of linking footnotes and text to the likes of the asterisk (*) and dagger (†). And yet, in common with the ampersand (&) and the pilcrow (¶), the manicule continues to offer discerning type designers a chance to flex their creative muscles. As Underware’s unnamed writer says in “There you go”,
It’s some way off yet, but I’m happy to announce that I’ll be giving a talk at the St Bride Foundation here in London on the 23rd of March next year. I’ll be talking about the overlapping histories of writing, printing and books, and signing some books of my own afterwards. Tickets are on sale at £12.50 (£8).
The ampersand is one of those shady characters that has taken on a life of its own, thriving happily beyond its home in writing and typography. In particular, it exerts an irresistible power over designers, advertisers and others in the business of creating and promoting commercial brands. Fortnum & Mason, for example, recently published a blog post1 explaining “the little-known story of the important symbol sat between our two famous names”. Crate & Barrel, the American homeware store, once built an advertising campaign around their ampersand;2 AT&T did the same earlier this year.3 As John Brownlee of Fast Co. Design puts it in “Why Designers Love The Ampersand”,