The Interrobang…. a what‽
Many of us couldn’t name when a certain punctuation mark first laid ink to paper. But if asked, I would say that the Full Spot or as the American’s say… the Period, arrived around the year dot.
Punctuation marks are the taken for granted characters in our daily written lives. They range from the dot at the end of a sentence, to the many different versions and meanings of brackets. However, there is one punctuation mark which is quite unusual. Ladies & Gentlemen… I give you the Interrobang
The interrobang is sometimes referred to as the interabang and occasionally as just a ‘bang’.
It is the single character representation of an exclamation mark followed by a question mark, joined by using the same dot.
For example, you may wish to write “You want how much!?” or “You’re pregnant?!”
So this is where the interrobang comes in….
Although most people are not familiar with the interrobang character, its self-explanatory look should achieve the desired result.
In a world where written text either in printed matter, on the internet or direct messaging is more informal and several exclamations are frequency used…. Yes they are!!!!!! The single character interrobang is a great solution.
The interrobang was born in 1962. An American called Martin K Speckter, who was the head of an advertising agency, wanted to produce a single character that would improve the look of advertisements that contained a verbal question.
He first proposed the idea in a magazine article in TYPEtalks. His original ideas are shown here.
He involved readers of the magazine article to come up with a suitable name. Suggestions were the ‘Rhet’, the ‘Exclarotive’ and my favourite being the ‘Exclamaquest’. But Mr Speckter settled on the ‘Interrobang’, taken from the word interrogatio, the Latin for rhetorical question. In the designer / printer world the character is known as just the ‘Bang’.
Here are some other draft versions of what was to become the Interrobang.
Following the article it wasn’t until 1966 that the first typeface included an interrobang. This was part of the Americana typeface. In 1968 saw the arrival of the interrobang on some Remington typewriters. In the 1970’s replacement keycaps including the interrobang were available on some Smith-Corona typewriters.
The late 1960’s were the heyday for this new character, it appeared in dictionaries and magazines and newspapers.
However, as entered the technological world the interrobang was struggling to be included. Apple did not include the character on its operating system, and only a few fonts including on their character set.
That was then, so how do I get my hands on the great character now? Don’t despair. There are a few ways to produce an Interrobang.
Let’s start with the easiest way to obtain an Interrobang, with Wingdigs. Wingdings2 to be more precise.
Try the ‘]’ key just left of the ENTER key.
Or there’s the ‘^’ key – Shift 6 to you and me.
Or indeed the ‘_’ key – Shift ‘-‘ just right of the 0 key.
For the designers out there who use Adode InDesign.
Open a text box, then on the top menu pick ‘Type’, then ‘Glyphs’.
A box will appear in the middle of the screen with lot of characters in it. You can increase the size of the box by pulling the bottom right corner to show more content. Near the top left corner – under ‘Recent Used’ is a drop down box, change this to ‘Punctuation’. You can then select different fonts at the bottom on the box. IF the font contains an Interrobang it will be displayed somewhere on the punctuations for that font. For example, select font ‘Calibri’, and there you go just before the end of the list the Calibri interrobang ‽ Double click on it and it will appear in your text box.
In HTML, you can type “& #8253 ;” (without the quote or spaces ) to get the ‽
Here are a few popular fonts which include an interrobang
This is a Fixed font ‽
This is the Palatino Linotype typeface ‽
This is the Calibri typeface ‽
This is the Calibri italic typeface ‽
This is the Arial typeface ‽
Some others are included here…
1. First, via your iPhone access this blog post – you may already be doing that…
2. Then select and ‘copy’ the interrobang to the right —-> ‽
3. Then go into the keyboard settings of your iPhone located in your general settings panel.
(SETTINGS >> GENERAL >> KEYBOARD)
4. Touch “Add a New Shortcut”
5. Then ‘Paste’ the copied interrobang symbol into the “Phrase” field.
6. Then just below in the “Shortcut” field, type ?! or !? (this is which ever combo you use the most – or you can just make two shortcuts one for ?! and one for !?).
7. Click “Save” and you are done!
How easy is that ‽
Here are a pair of very snazzy Interrobang cuff-links
Here are a few Interrobang necklaces and pendants.
I do like these Interrobang and Ampersand cushions!
Something for the fridge?…
and of course you can make a statement with Interrobang clothing.
But if we are talking statements, here’s the ultimate but perhaps not approved by your mother!
I also like the Interrobangs that have found their way into the public domain via the internet. Here is a small selection of hand drawn, sketched and some very detailed adaptations.
Ohh.. and one Interrobang cup cake.
So the next time someone mentions the Interrobang in conversation, you won’t have to say…