Type Tips: Asterisk*

Aaah the asterisk, a tiny tidbit of typography, but oh so powerful! Greek for “little star,” the asterisk is one of the oldest typographic characters, serving many purposes throughout the times.

You may have encountered it as a reference for a footnote in a document you’ve read that required further explanation or citation.

Maybe you’ve noticed how it’s used in European typography to indicate birth date: *Rosa Parks (1913), along with the companion element the dagger used for death date: †Rosa Parks (2005).

Perhaps you are more familiar with it when strung horizontally with 2 other asterisks composing  what is called the “dinkus.” This series of little stars are used to separate sections, such as when reading the Wall Street Journal or a novel where it serves as an organizational tool to break up sections.

And, you’ve no doubt seen it at its most polite work when it’s used to censor otherwise offensive profanity in the written word such as “F***!”

We also adore the shape of it! It’s reminiscent of the large volume of snowflakes that fell in our region last week, providing us with more work-from-home opportunities while we eagerly awaited the great thaw and could return to our studio.

Anyway you look at, this hardworking typographic element is a lovely addition to the creative’s toolkit where it can be used both in written and visual form. 

*While we eagerly awaited the great thaw and could return to our studio.