In this show-stopping guide with more than 75 uniquely designed two-color spreads—a rollicking linguistic ride for fans of Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Just My Type—award-winning graphic designer Michael Arndt explores the typographic origins, names, and shapes of both common punctuation marks and symbols, as well as the proper and diverse usage of each.
From the period to the question mark, the semicolon to the em dash, symbols and marks are an integral part of language. In graphically engaging spreads that utilize typography in an innovative way, Snails & Monkey Tails examines the evolution of these mighty linguistic tools—from the punctum, or point, created by an ancient scribe to the guillemet, used most commonly in lieu of quote marks by the French (and named in honor of a typographer Guillaume Le Bé). With verve and insight, Michael Arndt explains their proper usage and how they came to be universally accepted today. This how Pentagram partner Michael Bierut describes the book:
There are countless books that can teach you the alphabet, but almost none that focus on the tiny designs that run interference among the letterforms: those easily overlooked punctuation and typographic symbols. These symbols, as Michael Arndt proves in this beautiful and endlessly fascinating book, are absolutely indispensable to communication: punctuation turns words into sentences and language into meaning… From commas to semicolons, from slashes to asterisks, from guillemets to octothorpes (named, perhaps, after athlete Jim Thorpe), you’ll never look at punctuation the same way again.
Neutraface Book was used for the text (and the book title). Stempel Garamond Italic is used for non-English words. The large graphic illustrations use several typefaces, among which are Domaine Displayand French Script. There are many spreads however with the same character rendered in dozens of different fonts in order to show the variety of glyphs possible for any one given character. They are too numerous to mention.