Snails & Monkey Tails: A Visual Guide to Punctuation & Symbols
By Michael Arndt
In this delightful guide with more than 75 uniquely designed two-color spreads, award-winning graphic designer Michael Arndt explores the typographic origins, names, and shapes of both common punctuation marks and symbols, as well as the proper and diverse usage of each.
What is the purpose of the comma—perhaps the most used symbol in the English language—and what are the proper uses of the asterisk? Do quote marks go inside or outside punctuation? What about a quote within a quote—a quote from someone quoting someone else? How much space goes on either side of an ellipsis? What’s the difference between an en-dash and an em-dash?
From the full stop to the question mark, the semicolon to the en dash, symbols and marks are an integral part of language. In graphically engaging spreads that utilise typography in an innovative way, Snails & Monkey Tails examines the evolution of these mighty linguistic tools. With verve and insight, Michael Arndt explains their proper usage and how they came to be universally accepted today.
Snails & Monkey Tails is essential for bibliophiles, writers, grammarians, graphic designers, typography enthusiasts, logophiles, and anyone with a passion for the written word.
"There are countless books that can teach you the alphabet, but almost none that focus on the tiny designs that run interference among the letterforms: those easily overlooked punctuation and typographic symbols. These symbols, as Michael Arndt proves in this beautiful and endlessly fascinating book, are absolutely indispensable to communication: punctuation turns words into sentences and language into meaning... From commas to semicolons, from slashes to asterisks, from guillemets to octothorpes (named, perhaps, after athlete Jim Thorpe), you’ll never look at punctuation the same way again."—Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram
Book and cover design by Michael Arndt
Published by Harper Design
Hardcover, 160 pages, 2-color offset, 6.75 × 6.75 inches