Chapter: Micro-Typography

Smart Quotes, Foot and Inch Marks, and Apostrophes

name of your book, your name University of Kansas, 2023

Add to the beginning or end of the book.
Designed by Your Name. Class project for Typographic Systems at the University of Kansas, 2023. The text was compiled from the following sources: Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst, Getting it Right with Type: the Do's and Don'ts of Typography by Victoria Square, Mac is Not A Typewriter by Robin Williams. This book is not to be sold to the public and to only be used by the designer for their reference and student design portfolio.

All the content below must be in your workbook. However you can organize it in any way you want. Each section can be a chapter or you can organize the content into groups and those become chapters.


01 rules check sheet
02 glossary of typographic rules

03 special characters
04 column width and hyphenation
05 hyphens and dashes  
06 quotes and apostrophes
07 kerning

08 figures and tabular tables
09 justification, letterspacing, word spacing
10 paragraph breaks

11 anatomy of type
12 typographic color
13 font classifications
14 glossary of terms (optional)

06. Smart vs Straight (or Prime)

︎︎︎what can you call out or visualize?

Mac: Hit Option-[ for left quote or Option-Shift-[ for right quote
PC: Alt 0147 for left quote or Alt 01 48 for right quote
(Hold Alt as you type the number on keypad, then release Alt)

Mac: Hit Option-Shift-]
PC: Alt 0146 (Hold Alt as you type 0146 on keypad, then release Alt)
HTML Code: ’ or ’ (see note below)

Smart Quotes (“ ”) vs Straight Quotes (")

Quotation marks should be curly or “smart” quotes. Only use inch marks for measurements. Typographic errors can disrupt the harmony of your design. In this exploration of typography, we dive into common mistakes that people make when it comes to punctuation. There are some common typography mistakes that people make, such as substituting inch and foot marks for quotation marks and apostrophes.

Smart Quotes (“ ”)
Smart quotes are the hallmark of good typography. There are four distinct smart quote characters: the opening single quote (‘), the closing single quote (’), the opening double quote (“), and the closing double quote (”).

Straight Quotes (")
Straight quotes, on the other hand, are the generic vertical quotation marks reminiscent of typewriters—the straight single quote (') and the straight double quote ("). They lack the finesse of smart quotes.

︎︎︎set the following in 2 different sans serifs and 2 different serifs notice the style of the quote
"Henry said, 'welcome back,' this morning"
"Henry said, 'welcome back,' this morning"
"Henry said, 'welcome back,' this morning"
"Henry said, 'welcome back,'this morning"

Apostrophes often perplex individuals, but a few steadfast rules can alleviate the confusion.
For possessives: Simply reverse the phrase to determine apostrophe placement. The apostrophe should follow the word you end up with. For example, in the phrase "the boys' camp," mentally reverse it to "The camp belongs to the boys." In contrast, "the boy's camp" reads as "The camp belongs to the boy." An important exception is "its," which never takes an apostrophe when used as a possessive. "Its" only features an apostrophe in contractions, signifying "it is" or "it has. Remember that "yours," "hers," and "his" do not require apostrophes, and neither should "its."

For contractions: The apostrophe stands in for the missing letter. For instance, "your're" equates to "you are," with the apostrophe representing the omitted "a" from "are." This distinction is essential to prevent confusion with "your" as in "your house." Moreover, "it’s" signifies "it is," with the apostrophe replacing the missing "i" .

For the omission of letters: In phrases such as "Rock 'n' Roll," an apostrophe should precede and follow the "n," as both "a" and "d" are omitted. There is no need to reverse the first apostrophe because the appropriate mark is still an apostrophe (not 'n').

    •    Rock 'n' Roll
    •    House o' Fashion
    •    Gone Fishin'

In date references where part of the year is omitted, an apostrophe is used to indicate the missing year. For instance, "In the 80s" pertains to temperature, whereas "In the ’80s" signifies the decade. Note that there is no apostrophe before the "s" in this context, as it serves a plural function rather than possessive or contraction use.

Apostrophe vs. Foot Mark 
’ is a foot mark
’ is a proper apostrophe (or smart apostrophe)

Another very common mistake in typography punctuation is using the prime symbol in place of apostrophes. Single quotes or apostrophes should be a curly or “smart” apostrophes. 

Proper Foot and Inch Marks
Only use foot marks for measurements. The prime symbol (') looks similar to the apostrophe, but you should use it in mathematics and measurements. For example, 5' means 5 feet, and 2" means 2 inches. Depending on the font you use, it can be impossible to tell the difference. But, you might be using a font that makes it painfully obvious. Check and double check all your apostrophes, prime symbols, and quotation marks. No matter how amazing your typography turns out to be, a little mistake like this can ruin the work.

To ensure precision in typography, replace generic quotation marks with foot and inch marks, accessible through the pull-down menu.

Bridge Clearance: 16’7”
The young man stood 6’2”
The length of the wall is 153’9”.