Currency hangtime

50pointtype's picture

Can anyone shed some light on the tendency to set the dollar sign smaller and above the baseline? It's a widespread enough practice that I wonder how it all got started. I think it can look fairly decent on signage/ads if the proportions are handled well but I could see how this might be a typographic sin to others. Would you do the same in certain situations?


Florian Hardwig's picture

I wonder how it all got started.

It’s not that the currency symbol is smaller – it’s that the price is bigger!

Nick Shinn's picture

And the lesser denomination is shown smaller.
Tenniel, from 1865:

BeauW's picture

In grade school, we were taught to draw the $ on the baseline, same size as a capital S. But all the (non-teacher) adults in my life drew a small '$' raised up (and slightly skewed) in their handwriting. For this reason I thought of the smaller raised $ as more sophisticated- adult.

oldnick's picture

I think it's simply a matter of allocation of real estate in ads: in the $3.99 example, the 99 would probably be smaller, too...

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