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The Best Quote Marks for Creating Graphic Call-Outs

Updated on September 12, 2014

Create graphic call-outs for the web or print using the best speech marks

I recently wrote about the ampersand, saying that just because a symbol is supplied with a font, you aren't obliged to use it.

In fact, in many cases using a symbol from one font and the letters from another can make a better graphic statement. Call-outs are used in both the web and in print.

  • On the web, they are a good way to add a quote without running into a duplicate content problem
  • Similarly, if you've laboured diligently to achieve the perfect keyword density for your page, it avoids disrupting this
  • For both the web and for print, readers who skim (most) can get the gist of your article to see if they want to read further
  • They provide a decorative element that your article may need to liven it up
  • They are a good way of breaking up huge chunks of copy and they provide a visual break
  • They are ideal for emphasising the most important parts of your article

You'll also see that they don't have to be used at the beginning and end of the quotation. They can be used as an icon which denotes a quote.

Below are my favourite speech - or quotation - marks in action

They are shown in alphabetical order of the name of the font. I have used only the fonts that 99% of people have on their computers.


1. If you know me, or know that I'm font snob, this might surprise you.

These quotation marks are from the most hated font in the world, Comic Sans.Yes the letters and numerals from the font are horrible and most designers would have to have someone holding a gun to their head to use them. But the speech marks are unexpectedly cute.

They are perfect to use for a casual or humorous quote and look particularly good with italic lettering. Amazingly.

2. I don't suppose that 'chubbly' is a proper word (although my spellchecker doesn't seem to object) but that's a good way to describe the quote marks in Cooper.I mean, a cross between 'chubby' and cuddly'.They also have a rather cool retro look (the font was designed in the 1960s) and these factors make it ideal for the quote you see in the image below.

3. Oh, beautiful, crisp Franklin.

These speech marks almost seem to be chiseled from stone.That's why they are so perfect to accompany a quote from an old-time movie star who was known for his 'chiselled features'.

They are so beautifully graphic that one can be used alone as an icon to identify a quotation. Because of their graphic quality, they look wonderful in black.

4. This is Garamond and a huge favourite of mine.(Me and about 99% of designers, I think).

It has a gorgeously elegant curve and goes well with just about any other typeface.Note that the quote at the top of this page uses wonderful Garamond too.

Using either single or double quotes, it looks terrific.

5. These speech marks are created using the fabulous font, Impact.

Impact, like Cooper, was also designed in the 1960s so is perfect for quotes relating to that period. Again, this quote marks are graphic objects in themselves.

As a fontophile, (another made up word, I think) I've often wished that someone would make silver earrings from these! Impact is my default go-to font for quote marks.

6. I wanted to add a very common font to this selection and I had high hope for Georgia - that is a very elegant typeface.

But the Georgia quotation marks are completely awful.The ones you see here though are Times New Roman. They won't stand increasing the size too much, unlike Impact and Garamond, but they are still good, serviceable marks.I prefer to make them grey rather than black so that they fade into the background a little.

7. Trajan is based on the carved lettering that was used in Roman times. That makes it ideal for classical quotations such as the one you see here.I love the way that the designer showed such restraint in creating these elegant swoops.

Because I love the tips of the shapes, I allowed them to 'escape' from their text box to give them just a little more emphasis.

To designers, fonts can be what paints and brushes are to the fine artist. We work with - and revel in - fonts every day.They are our old friends.

We tend to be passionate about our favourites and can be scthing about clients who impose their own preferences. We choose fonts for a reason, not because they 'look pretty'.And if you've ever heard a mad story about a designer who won't go into restaurants if their menus use font she doesn't like, it's true.

That mad designer is me.The book you see below is on my desk as I type. Fonts are fascinating and fun. Simon Garfield makes his passion known too.

© 2014 Jackie Jackson


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    Post Comment
    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 

      5 years ago from Nebraska

      Great idea on creating a Quote image, quotes are very popular on Pinterest so it serves an additional purpose.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      love this page, I'll have to reference it when I need a little creative assistance with quotations - great page

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      5 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      I like them! I never thought of trying to change it up in the callouts. Time to start though. Thanks for another excellent how-to!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I never gave these much thought, but I think after this I'll be more aware of how my callout looks. Thanks for the advice.


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