Chitty Chitty Interrobang Bang

armin's picture

So, just this past weekend I was able to go through my TypeCon2003 goodie bag and came upon Interrobang. Left me longing for a bit more of it... what's the deal SoTAphyles? Are we gonna see more of it? Bigger and badder? Leaner and cleaner?

I like what you have done with it so far. I would love to hear all the perils of getting it published.

union's picture

google gave me this, I am not sure if it's what this is about, but thought it was interesting enough to post.

The INTERROBANG: A twentieth century punctuation mark.

The INTERROBANG has been described as "an obscure punctuation mark." The purpose of this page is to move the INTERROBANG from the obscure to the ubiquitous.


As an advocate of precision in communication, the concept of the INTERROBANG was introduced by Martin K. Speckter in 1962 in an article written for TYPEtalks Magazine.*

The INTERROBANG was created to fill a gap in our punctuation system where writers often used typographically cumbersome and unattractive combinations of the question mark and exclamation mark to punctuate rhetorical statements where neither the question nor an exclamation alone exactly served the writer. (HOW ABOUT THAT?!)

Mr. Speckter called his mark INTERROBANG from the Latin for query and the proofreader's term for exclamation. Most dictionaries have spelled the word correctly, although several other spellings with no logical genesis have appeared.

At the time the INTERROBANG was introduced in 1962, a number of graphic designs were sent to the magazine from many sources. An example from this outpouring is shown above. Many newspapers and magazines and talk shows reported on the new mark. In an April, 1962 editorial, The Wall Street Journal deemed this punctuation exactly right for "'Who forgot to put gas in the car?' where the question mark alone just isn't adequate." The INTERROBANG can convey in print an attitude, curiosity, and wonder.

American Type Founders issued a metal typeface in 1966 called Americana which included the INTERROBANG. Remington Rand included the key as an option on its 1968 typewriters, commenting that the INTERROBANG "expresses Modern Life's Incredibility." In 1996, a New York art studio designed variations of the mark for each of the fonts in its computer library.

You can find an interrobang in Microsoft Word's Fonts. Go to Format, choose Fonts, then Wingdings 2. You'll find 4 different versions of the interrobang. Hit the ` ~ key, the ] } key, the 6 ^ key, or the - _ key.

armin's picture

Sorry, I had hoped that by now some SoTA member would have chimed in. Or, at the very least, the publication's designer: Stephen Coles.

So yeah, Interrobang is a little 2-color newslettery type of thing. My scanner is broken and I can't find my digital camera, otherwise I would post some pictures. It has an article by Nick Shinn, another by Coles and it features some typefaces like Jared's own... um, yeah, Yakuza. Looks like a pretty cool project.

And I did not know what interrobang stood for.

Mark Simonson's picture

Here are a couple of shots:



Nick Shinn's picture

"Interrobang" is a modest little something (32 pages, 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", black + 1 spot color) for members of SoTA, and for us to put in the goody bag at TypeCon...and perhaps the ATypI conference.

Contents: articles (2), member news items (1), new typeface designs (5).

I wrote an article for it, so did Stephen Coles. He designed it, using several of my typefaces for the editorial matter. Next time (Winter) the content and font sources will be different. Bigger and Badder? Leaner and Cleaner? -- It remains to be seen, but the kind of content will be similar.

There are 6 new typefaces profiled, from 6 different sources. It's nice to see a variety of new work in print -- there's not much out there (that isn't a foundry self-promotion) since the demise of Druk. Sure, you get a good perspective in the Veer catalog, but there's no depth on individual typefaces, which "Interrobang" provides.

capthaddock's picture

Are there any spare copies for purchase?


union's picture

looks nice!

Bald Condensed's picture

Could you fill us non-attendees in on what exactly is Interrobang?

Bald Condensed's picture

THX Jim, but you must have misunderstood me. I know
what an interrobang is, but not what the one in the
TypeCon2003 goodie bag was. I presume it's some kind
of SoTa publication or whatever.

Bald Condensed's picture

> since the demise of Druk.

Which is a crying shame. The publication that replaced
it, 96, is nowhere near as interesting. :-(

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