New Character(s) Challenge - Annotations

hrant's picture

Inspired by a cool new character invented by Nina*, I've started thinking: maybe we can design/use symbols beyond the asterisk and dagger(s) to annotate text? Sure people use numbers, but that's pretty boring isn't it? Plus numbers are easily confusable when they're small. And having two floating digits is ugly (and the reason people use a dagger instead of two asterisks). So the Challenge is to make new symbols that:
- Clearly convey that they're for annotation.
- Look good small and floating.
- Are not confusable with other annotation symbols.


I actually use custom little floating reference thingies* when I handwrite an article for splicing in additional text, but had never thought of putting things like that into fonts.

* BTW, is "annotations" a good name for these?


eliason's picture

It’s missing a fifth symbol: a set of three wavy lines next to each other.

Ah, I see my memory was wrong. That would have been true if the triangle was instead a five-pointed star, and the X was a plus sign.

I think the next symbols would be R1, R2, L1, and L2 ;-) (Those are the symbols on the buttons of a PlayStation controller.)

quadibloc's picture

Incidentally, the notes in early editions of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, the book in which the invention of the footnote is said to have taken place, actually placed the notes in the margins.

The reason this was abandoned for footnotes is obvious - it wasn't because footnotes were easier on the reader, but because they took less space.

riccard0's picture

Sidenotes are better for the reader, but they need to be concise, and sparse (which, by the way, would be good advice for any kind of note ;-) thus creating ample whitespace where they're not present.
Unfortunately, in print whitespace in the form of wide margins come (literally) with a cost.
But, had we had more of them, maybe we wouldn't had to wait 358 years for a proof of Fermat's last theorem... ;-)

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