Martin Speckter, type design, and the interrobang

An interrobang on a plain tomato background.

99% Invisible did an episode on the interrobang recently. I was interested to learn that early Greek and Roman writing didn’t have spaces! Rack that up to stuff I took for granted. Apparently an ad man in the sixties developed the interrobang. Huh.

Speckter was also the editor of the typography magazine TYPEtalks, so  in March of 1962, in an article for the magazine titled “Making a New Point, Or How About That…”, Speckter proposed the first new mark of English language punctuation in 300 years: the interrobang.

This same 99% Invisible episode did a short history of the number sign and hashtag. I found this part a little frustrating because they didn’t mention the use of the “#” in set theory, CSS, Javascript, HTML or press releases. These all seem plauibly relevant to the modern hashtag. But, whatever.

It’s worth checking out.

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