Re: Using M-dash and N-dash

Subject: Re: Using M-dash and N-dash
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 11:05:27 -0800

Dick Margulis wrote:

You are entitled to your opinion, even if it is based on limited information. The relative ugliness or grace of the em dash depends on the relationship between the font designer and the font manufacturer. Whether we're talking about handset composition, mechanical typesetting, photomechanical typesetting, or digital typesetting, the choice between a solid em dash and space-en dash-space has always depended on the particular implementation of the font chosen by the designer. Done well, the solid em dash looks every bit as elegant as space-en dash-space--more elegant in some situations.

What you say is technically true. However, if the original poster didn't have a point, then why do so many people use an en dash? In all too many fonts, the em dash truly is surpassingly ugly. The reason, I suspect, is that the em dash is often not given much attention by the designer. In fact, I find that one of the quickest ways to get a sense of a font is to look at characters like the em dash (as well as the ampersand and the question mark). The design effort that goes into these characters often tells you a lot about the general quality of the font.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177


Re: Using M-dash and N-dash: From: Shankar
Re: Using M-dash and N-dash: From: Dick Margulis

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