Typography Tip No. 1: The @ Symbol

Traditionally called the ‘commercial at’ it was originally used to indicate a cost/rate per unit i.e. 20 carrots @ 3 pence each. As such it was only ever cast in a few styles and was normally set 2 points smaller than the rest of the copy. The ‘at’ symbol is now used in email addresses and on social media and is present in most digital typefaces. However they often stick out like a sore thumb with many sitting too high off the baseline as standard. This can be adjusted visually to match the x-height of the surrounding text.

 Top: 36pt Linotype Universe with the ‘at’ lowered by 6pt. Bottom: 36pt Monotype Baskerville with the ‘at’ symbol set 4pt smaller and lowered by 0.4pt.

Top: 36pt Linotype Universe with the ‘at’ lowered by 6pt.
Bottom: 36pt Monotype Baskerville with the ‘at’ symbol set 4pt smaller and lowered by 0.4pt.


This is the first in a new blog series called Typography Tips.