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Expert characters and analphabetic symbols

From: Foundations of Typography

Video: Expert characters and analphabetic symbols

What is an Analphabetic symbol? Analphabetic symbols are typographic marks that are not part of the basic character set, and they are better known as dingbats. If someone called me a dingbat, I would say thank you, I'm a big fan of dingbats. The original meaning of the word dingbat dates back to at least 1880. It's also known as a printer's ornament or a printer's character. Dingbats are some of the most interesting typographic symbols. There are entire fonts devoted to dingbats.

Expert characters and analphabetic symbols

What is an Analphabetic symbol? Analphabetic symbols are typographic marks that are not part of the basic character set, and they are better known as dingbats. If someone called me a dingbat, I would say thank you, I'm a big fan of dingbats. The original meaning of the word dingbat dates back to at least 1880. It's also known as a printer's ornament or a printer's character. Dingbats are some of the most interesting typographic symbols. There are entire fonts devoted to dingbats.

Thanks to Hermann Zapf, pretty much everyone who has a computer is familiar with the font Zapf Dingbats. There are thousands of fonts that just contain dingbats, some of which are highly illustrative and specific, not to mention entertaining. Dingbats or analphabetic symbols are one category of expert character sets. Expert character sets are made up of anything that is not generally included in the basic character set. The basic character set contains upper and lowercase, numbers and punctuation.

Other common examples, of expert characters are alternate character sets which may include variations on swash caps or specialized ligatures. There can also be other versions of letters, such as these elaborate flourishes from Zapfino and Bickham Script. These must be used with care and very sparingly, but these expert characters can add a special touch to your design. Other expert characters such as mathematical symbols and scientific symbols maybe included in some fonts glyph sets, or they may be contained in separate expert character sets.

You can see that expert characters are not only useful, but essential. The next time somebody calls you a dingbat you can say, really, I am flattered. Which dingbat did you mean? And then you can educate them about the real meaning of dingbat.

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This video is part of

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Foundations of Typography

46 video lessons · 29523 viewers

Ina Saltz
Author

 
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  1. 9m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 58s
    2. Why good typography matters
      1m 55s
    3. The power of type
      1m 53s
    4. The theory of typographic relativity
      1m 53s
    5. Getting the most out of this course
      1m 26s
  2. 23m 49s
    1. Serif vs. sans serif
      3m 27s
    2. Display type vs. text type
      3m 39s
    3. Type history
      2m 48s
    4. Type classification
      4m 8s
    5. Other type categories
      3m 24s
    6. Guidelines for combining typefaces
      3m 49s
    7. Using cases
      2m 34s
  3. 18m 28s
    1. Anatomy: Parts and shapes of type
      4m 35s
    2. Size and measurements of type
      2m 18s
    3. Type families: Widths, weights, and slopes
      3m 53s
    4. Reviewing the terminology of type, based on function
      3m 27s
    5. Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises
      4m 15s
  4. 20m 27s
    1. Kerning and kerning pairs
      3m 33s
    2. Tracking and leading
      3m 49s
    3. Exploring variations in type alignment
      3m 55s
    4. Hyphenation and justification
      3m 13s
    5. Indents, outdents, and hanging punctuation
      2m 26s
    6. Other typographic best practices
      3m 31s
  5. 10m 3s
    1. Where type begins: The mark of the hand
      2m 28s
    2. Related parts and shapes: Family resemblances
      4m 35s
    3. Designing a typeface
      3m 0s
  6. 22m 19s
    1. How legibility and readability differ
      3m 48s
    2. Examining factors affecting legibility
      4m 46s
    3. Hierarchy and functionality
      4m 29s
    4. Systematized hierarchy
      3m 52s
    5. Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points
      2m 41s
    6. Typographic abominations
      2m 43s
  7. 11m 8s
    1. Opposing forces of typography
      3m 8s
    2. The grid: A structure for containing type
      3m 6s
    3. Contrast and scale
      4m 54s
  8. 9m 41s
    1. Typographic expressiveness
      3m 22s
    2. The emotional impact of type
      2m 47s
    3. Three-dimensional type
      3m 32s
  9. 8m 55s
    1. Working with numbers
      2m 10s
    2. Expert characters and analphabetic symbols
      1m 56s
    3. Using typography to navigate content
      1m 51s
    4. Using typography to navigate the environment
      2m 58s
  10. 9m 14s
    1. Managing fonts and building your type library
      3m 14s
    2. Developing your typographic eye
      2m 31s
    3. Breaking the rules
      1m 41s
    4. What's next
      1m 48s

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