Typographic Countdown — the last day before 2012

How to punctuate the end of a year‽ Interrobang is by nature a playful—and therefore perhaps not seriously taken—nonstandard punctuation mark. Its concept is credited to New York ad man Martin Speckter. Americana, 1965, was the first face to fully support the ‘interabang’ across all its weights. The mark still remains outside of standard character encodings and support is spotty across platforms, so for now, if you need it, it’s back to the glyph palette.

FF Ernestine by Nina Stössinger, with Armenian by Hrant Papazian, rejects the overlain interrobang construction for a wider, and certainly clearer mark, though its off-balance comportment introduces an element of comedy.

I remember something said by a speaker at the 2011 Brand New Conference on the subject of the interrobang, though I don’t recall who; He said the mark’s initial purpose was to indicate the asking of a question that immediately results in seeing the answer. Historically speaking, this explanation is unfounded. The interrobang was designed to do what bold underline italic does quite capably; yet I find this new thesis much better, and much more worthy of reflection. The idea that the answer lies in asking the question gives a kind of sublime hope. Putting together this countdown has caused me to get to the bottom of a few good mysteries, so I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Finally, as part of starting the new year with a bang, we’re offering a 15% discount on all orders up until Jan 2 that make use of the promo code Bang12. Happy New Year.

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