(6/7) I ♥ Typographic Symbols: Asterisk, Splat, Star (*)

Continuing on with my series of typographic symbols…ASTERISK.

The asterisk has been in used in typography for around 5,000 years! Its earliest use was in Sumerian pictographic writing. In print today it is used primarily to mark footnotes, but in more casual corners of type you’ll see the beloved splat being used to censor an expletive, like sh*t. Oops, did I say that out loud? It is used in Europe to mark a person’s birth and also has specific uses in scientific, mathematical, music, linguistics, and programming industries.

The asterisk has different cultural forms and often shows its cultural differences through its variance in number of points, five points being the fewest and going upwards of 16 points! You might even see an asterisk in a trio forming a little pyramid, this is call an asterism, but that’s a whole other article.

“Typography needs to be audible. Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experienced.”
— Helmut Schmid

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