There is a quote attributed to Frederic Goudy, “Anyone who would letterspace blackletter would steal sheep.” Mr. Goudy felt that the glyphs in Gothic script fonts which are intended to mimic handwritten text, were already perfectly spaced and that it would be a crime to adjust that spacing.

James Felici is one of the world’s leading experts on good typography. But this week’s issue of CreativePro contains an amusingly ironic lesson in bad typography.

Someone, probably not Mr. Felici, tagged all of his HTML special characters and replaced all of his apostrophes with the escape code ‘ which is wrong. It should have been ’ which is the right single quote. ‘ is the escape code for an apostrophe in XML, not HTML. This leaves the text of his article riddled with code. The ironic example is in the middle of his section about the incorrect use of straight quotes shown below.

If you view the page using browsers that interpret XML and display it as HTML, the page will look fine. Specifically, if you use the Firefox, Chrome, or Safari browsers (I didn’t actually check Chrome), it will display as an apostrophe. But if you use Internet Explorer, as over half the population does, then it looks pretty darn ugly. It’s a crime I tell you.

BadPunctuation    Image from CreativePro using Internet Explorer 8

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