Punctuation marks are the symbolic stage directions for language. These “stage directions” tell us to pause or use a specific inflection, to soften or emphasize, to slow down or to speed up. They help us to make sense of and give meaning to the words we read.
I find the symbols of punctuation especially intriguing when they are used graphically, adding a whole other layer to meaning. Here are a few of the images I have begun to collect. (I have many more but would love any new examples you might find.)
Another kind of “graphic” use of punctuation comes from Victor Borge, who reminds us that even when we speak aloud, we are not always clear and that by using a phonetic punctuation, “we can underline what we intend to convey to each other” with greater clarity (and sense of humor).