Daniel Mai

Words and Marks Matter

Whenever you come across some text, notice the details. The details matter.

A while back, I read a piece about some typographical problems on the Web and with our keyboards today. After that, I started to really notice the little details in type, like the fact that ambidextrous quotes (like '' and "") are different from book quotes (‘’ and “”). So, wherever I can, I use book quotes. Some programs automatically insert book quotes whenever you press the ambidextrous-quote key, such as word processors like Microsoft Word. Some programs also automagically convert other characters, such as dashes with hyphens, en-dashes and em-dashes. It’s sort of crazy that we should be the ”correct” elements in type, but the details matter.

Pay attention to words—idioms, alternative meanings, and the sounds of words. These are where humor can be found, and how movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 entertain with homophones and literals. Puns lie all around us. Or perhaps they tell the truth.