Dumb quotes

April 10, 2017
Robert Gallerani

And we don’t mean that thing Jessica Simpson said, either.

Designers have many complaints. Some are worse than others, but one thing that drives us crazy is the inconsistent or incorrect use of punctuation, specifically, quotation marks and apostrophes. Friends who know us are already rolling their eyes.

Interestingly, there are several different kinds of quotation marks. In the United States and Great Britain, we use inverted, raised commas like this: “quote”, and in Europe they use guillemets, like this: «quote».

For most typefaces, correct quotation marks and apostrophes will appear “curly”. Some people call these “curly quotes” or “typographer’s quotes”.  However, "Dumb Quotes" are refugees from a typewriter keyboard, and have no typographic function. Dumb quotes should not be confused with prime, or double prime, which are abreviations for feet and inches (1′ = 12″).

Unfortunately, dumb quotes continue to make their way into our word processing because of defaults in applications and CMSs. When dealing with code, straight quotes are often required. Otherwise, straight quotes should never appear in your design work and professional writing.


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