S-shaped question mark?

Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 663
edited August 2018 in Technique and Theory
What's your first thought?
  • ugh/ewww
  • hmm...
  • whatever.
  • yay!
As much as I experienced type around me, and as I could investigate, virtually all typefaces feature question marks pointing down, i.e. towards their dots. This approach makes perfect sense as it resonates with the exclamation mark and is easy to carry over to darker weights.
I also suppose a lot of people write their "?" like that? What about you? I can't recall being taught how to write it at school, nor seeing it in a primer. It just appeared unexpectedly, or rather unnoticeably, as something as simple as a squiggly line with a dot, and whatever, who cares as long as it can be read. But somehow I write my "?" as a reversed "S" shape unless I'm being particularly typographic/calligraphic. I also sense this is the prevalent form in Poland.
Edit: I think it was in a primer after all. And S-shaped... So this makes it an infant form?


  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 640
    edited August 2018
    My first thought is to give it a down pointing spur as in the S. 

    I always enjoyed the question mark over the bat signal in "Batman and Robin". Jim Carrey as the Riddler was supreme and the most memorable charcter in my childish mind back then.

    Historically, the question mark is thought to have derived from the letter Q, so I always keep that in mind when designing it, similar to how I keep the N in mind when designing a tilde or a z when designing a cedilla:)
    (More often than not, I start with the ogonek and use it for the cedilla, balancing them out :) )
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited August 2018
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  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,108
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,351
    Scotch romans often have it. It's a legitimate, if not common, option.
  • To me the mirrored S shaped question mark feels very german and a little antiquated as such. I actually like that design quite some, but restrain myself from designing it in that way to avoid alienating users because of my own cultural bias. Please correct me if this connotation is something you disagree with, would love to use that shape more!
  • To me the mirrored S shaped question mark feels very german and a little antiquated as such.

    I associate it primarily with Renner who was certainly German, but I don't know if he can yet be considered antiquated. Futura is still a fairly commonly used font.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited August 2018
    Looking at that sample, I didn't notice the questions marks, but the top serif of /S stood out to me. The one in /s didn't bother me, perhaps because it has less whitespace in the bottom for contrast. I'd let a bit more air between the serif and the body and perhaps move the spine down a bit...  or try out two (lighter?) serifs. Or none?
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905

    And take a look at Stemple Schneidler!

  • Sometimes, like in (some?) Caslon, the s-shaped question mark is only used in the italics, a solution I'm quite fond of.
  • The Stempel Schneidler question mark looks like it was written by a Spaniard who couldn’t decide whether they wanted an opening or closing question mark!
  • My first thought is to give it a down pointing spur as in the S.
    Never crossed my mind! And it definitely should have, as I applied this logic to virtually everything that has a curving terminal at the top (c, 2, 3...).

    Should anyone feel like further critiquing the project itself, I started a separate thread.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,735
    edited August 2018

    I used the furled form in my Scotch Modern (left), copying the original mid 19th century design, of which my type is a facsimile-style revival.

    Its tiny aperture is consistent with that feature of the “mid century modern”.

    In comparison, the unfurled curves of Garamond (right).
  • I think it don't matter too much if someone else than you like S? or not. You are your boss when it comes what you like.
    I look this question mark and I see litter too steep corner in upper inside of s?, my feeling is that it and ! should be little taller as well.
  • Hard to say if you should take the Chance . . .

    BTW, this is the first S shaped question mark my brain recalls . . .
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