The Guidebook of New Punctuation

The Guidebook of New Punctuation by Carrie C Firman

Electronic communication has changed our language—for progress or regress—with a LOL and :-P of flippancy as it continues on its bulldozer path to our phones, devices, and computers. Love it or hate it, it's here and everywhere.

Part of the reason emoticons and emotibreviations have become so popular is that typed communications remove facial expressions, body language, and, most importantly, tone of voice from the message. In the convenience of text-only contact, we loose the human element. It leads to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and rounds of clarification that could have been saved. Granted, it can come in handy to type out responses with the ability to so easily mask the nasty faces you're pulling or the droop of defeated shoulders. But what if there was a set of punctuation to describe the tone in which you would like the message to be read?

In honor of punctuation past and in anticipation of the future's glyphs, I share this set of doodles as a light-hearted rhetorical solution to getting the human element back into text communication. Many are based up on my synesthetic visual perception of concepts. For example, when I think about patience and acting with care, a solid near-perfect circle is paired with that concept as much as its language description. But when the situation is that of someone not using a filter when speaking, I have the distinct impression of several lines shooting outward from close locations, always heading diagonally upward and to the right. Like other types of synesthesia, these associations are lasting and consistent.

By applying these personal impressions with my desire for an honest and descriptive extended set of punctuation, I offer the following set of symbols. It is a playful, conversation-starter stance that I take, knowing that it would take years for so many punctuation additions to truly take hold and become usable in our language. Ponder, share, and chuckle at this collection, even use it with the font you can download on my website. Enjoy!

You can download the illustrated font containing the punctuation in this book. The table showing each character and keystroke match is below and can be downloaded as a PDF, too. Flip through an electronic version of the book, hosted by (Flash required), or view it on their site (best bet for mobile devices). Print copies are available on Amazon and the independent self-publishing site

Remember that, as with any font, the correct symbols will not display unless the font is installed, so if you use them in a document and email it to someone, they will not appear to the recipient unless they have also installed the font. So, try a PDF!

Enter the letter, number, or symbol in the left column of the chart below in order to insert the symbol to its right.

This font is intended as a thought-provoking exercise, an interesting object to share, and just good fun. Enjoy!

The Guidebook of New Punctuation by Carrie C Firman