Typography: ‘I’

Tim GemperlineCinnamon is good for your memory.  So is learning something new.  And when you go out searching for one thing, you’ll invariably fall into a few others. Such is the case in my mission to be exposed to a new word each day.  While learning what ‘alembic’ means (anything that transforms, purifies, or refines) I fell into an interesting article on why the personal pronoun ‘I’ is capitalized in English, unlike in any other language.  So, why is it?

Good Typography.  The spindly letter ‘i’, left to speak for itself between two spaces, fends better as a robust, majuscule ‘I.’  It simply looks better. Typographers adjusted to changes in language that brought about the pronoun and evolved the written version of it, just as ligatured letters propagated with printing technology.  The author calls this ‘a silly reason,’ but if you ignore that one sleight against design, the article explains the history quite concisely and well:



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