Tuesday, April 08, 2008

As the pilcrow flies, or 'On the pleasures of designing the paragraph mark'

(1) Should the form be P-like or C-like? (2) Should there be one stroke or two? (3) Should the bowl be solid or open? (4) Should the bottom of the strokes be plain, seriffed, or flourished? (5) Should the top right corner finish with a serif or not? (6) Should the bowl exhibit contrast to match the alphabet, or be monolinear like the mathematical operators? (7) Should the bowl connect with the first stroke, the second stroke, both, or neither? (8) Should the character align with the capitals, or descend to match the lowercase? Together these simple decisions offer 768 possible outcomes... —"Pilcrow and Capitulum," Ask H&FJ

(Via Dzyd Jen.)

Dzyd trivia: What's the word for the number sign (#)?

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5 Comments:

Blogger GS said...

The octothorp?

2:09 PM  
Blogger mattbucher said...

Lots of names. I'll go with Hash sign.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Octothorp was what I was looking for! Matt's link led me to this bizarre etymology:

"Origin disputed. Reportedly a jocular coinage by Bell Labs supervisor Don Macpherson in the early 1960s, from octo- (“‘eight’”) (with reference to the eight points) + -thorpe (after 1912 Olympic medalist Jim Thorpe, in whom Macpherson had some interest). However, Doug Kerr[1] attributes octatherp to engineers John C. Schaak and Herbert T. Uthlaut, and Lauren Asplund to himself and Howard Eby. The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories (1991) supports octotherp as the original spelling, and telephone engineers as the source."

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/octothorpe

For info on a strange story utilizing the octothorp:

http://theunarchivable.blogspot.com/2008/01/review-of-oulipo-compendium-edited-by.html

2:42 PM  
Blogger GS said...

Here's the real question - what's the name for the following symbol?

?!

4:29 PM  
Blogger mattbucher said...

Well you can combine them for the interrobang.

4:37 PM  

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