Can any French typesetters (or of course English typesetters with extensive experience of French typesetting) give me the rules for which spaces should appear before and after the different punctuation marks?

I found this excerpt courtesy of Microsoft:

Note: When traditionally typesetting the French language a word space is inserted before or after several punctuation characters. These characters are colon, semi colon, question, exclamation, right guillemets, and left guillemets. Commonly the preferred word space used is a thin space of 1/8 the em. Some French typographers prefer to use a larger space character of 1/4 the em with the colon and some other punctuation characters. OpenType supports character substitution and language dependant variants.

Hi All,

I'm new to typography and I'm creating my first font in Fontforge. I design the characters illustrator first then import them in to fontforge.

I done the capital letters first and generated them to see what they were like. That worked. Then I done the lowercase letters and generated them. that worked as well. Then I done a few punctuation characters as well as the space character (8 all together), generated them. It didn't work. When I use the font in another software the capital and lowercase letters showed up but the 7 punctuations I have done don't show up and the space character works but is too big even though I made it half the size if font forge.

I'm just beginning to design a typeface. So far I've managed to make my way through the alphabet and numbers. Now I'm stumped by the punctuation.

Does anyone have any guide, tips or resources on designing these? I would especially like to know if there is any kind of logic, or best practices for the sizing, placement, spacing and so on of punctuation. A testing text would be nice too especially for the punctuation in use (English is my only language!),


I like this sign in Lowell, Massachusetts. It's hand-lettered in the old-school way, with a relaxed grace that speaks of years of discipline.
I like the story it tells, too. I didn't know people could defend their views on such arcane matters as punctuation with physical force. Now that I know, the first person who looks at this handlettering and asks me what font it is will get a knuckle sandwich.

Shady Characters is go!

I've just launched a website called Shady Characters looking at the stories behind some unusual marks of punctuation such as the pilcrow and the interrobang.

The first long post (about the early history of the pilcrow) has just gone up at http://www.shadycharacters.co.uk. You can follow the site on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shady-Characters/135325489866494) or Twitter (http://twitter.com/shadychars). The plan is to update it every week or two with new material, time permitting.

Please take a look, and don't hesitate to get in touch with comments, criticism or anything else!

What is the correct way of emphasizing (with italics) a word followed by a punctuation mark like ,!?)" ? Do you emphasize it including the mark or only the word itself?

Trying to control quotation marks when typesetting in inDesign:

I am trying to see if I can make quotation marks change automatically for different languages. For example if I select (in InDesign) the Language drop-down menu in the character palette > my English style quotes would transform into French guillemet quotes.

I see that just by having the standard repertoire of quotes does not mean easy implementation.

Otherwise how do French or German typographers call for a specific style of quotation mark?
- Do the desired marks have to be the default in the font file?

Any help to solve this mystery appreciated.

Michael Hernan


A punctuation mark and sometimes a diacritic mark, in Latin fonts and languages. In English it has two main functions: it marks omissions, and it assists in marking the possessives of all nouns and many pronouns.

The apostrophe differs from the closing single quotation mark, often rendered identically but serving a different purpose. In limited casesit is allowed to assist in marking plurals, but most authorities now disapprove of such usage.

According to the OED, the word comes ultimately from Greek ἡ ἀπόστροφος [προσῳδία] (hē apóstrophos [prosōidía], the (accent of "turning away", or elision), through Latin and French.

Indices : Terminology/Characters : Em Dash

A horizontal line character one em in width. Commonly use to imply a break in thought, or missing content.

Used to indicate a sudden break in thought, or to show an open range such as in numbers or dates.

Unicode : 2014
Windows US Keyboard : Alt 0151
Macintosh US Keyboard : Shift Option -

Em Dash Usage in Broken Sentence
Space around Em Dashes?
The Em
Line Breaks and Em Dashes
How to Determine the Width of Dashes (em/en)

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