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Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks


ShadyCharacters is an all-caps font with a ziggy, hollow top and a solid bottom. With lots of imagination, you might see the letters as tree-like, hence its name.

An interesting, and varied, mix of preoccupations, no doubt. is the result of one of these preoccupations: Mr Houston’s interest in the stories behind the different ‘marks of punctuation’, a world all but invisible to the untrained and unobservant eye. As he writes in the excellent (and bibliographically sound) ‘Introduction to Shady Characters’:


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Shady Characters is certainly a handsome little object. It's also a timely reminder that we are all now in possession of punctuation in a way we never have been before. The box is open: all the tools are at our disposal. As Houston notes, "personal web pages have democratised typesetting in a way unimaginable to Gutenberg." Punctuation is no longer the preserve of the printer or the scribe. Every man his own priest. Every man his own typesetter. We are all Gutenbergs now.