I’m going to let you in on a little secret… I love typography! Human beings have been exploring and perfecting the art of writing for thousands of years, and that exploration continues today. As various industries and technologies move forward and time passes characters and symbols are given even more meanings, and as a typographer I can take advantage of that exploration and use letters and symbol in a variety of ways, both literal and abstract, to enhance my designs.
As a designer and typographer it’s my job to know how to use the myriad of characters, symbols, glyphs, and figures available to me. And trust me, there is a lot to know. I’m not specifically talking about grammar or spelling, I’m talking about the collection of glyphs that we see everyday; glyphs that have an intrinsic meaning that adds to the words around it that people interpret almost sub-consciously.
How typography is interpreted and integrated into design is a vast topic and the use of symbols and glyphs is only a small part of the conversation. In this series titled, “I ♥ Typographic Symbols” I will be sharing various symbols and their meanings, history, uses, and misuses. The first in this series is Accents…
Accents are easy and most people are familiar with their use, even if they aren’t familiar with their exact pronunciation. There are a variety of accent marks, or diacritical marks. Accent marks are not common in the English language, but they are very important in many European and Slavic languages. Because of the age and international nature of these marks they all go by many names, but I’ve used their most common English names here.
“Typography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time.” –Robert Bringhurst