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Inappropriate symbols

Saturday 13 December 2003

In an open letter Microsoft Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky has apologised for his company’s offensive behavoir.

He wasn’t writing about Microsoft bullying its competitors or designing bloated software, but the unintentional oversight of failing to identify, prior to the release of a symbol font included in MS Office, that two swastikas were included in it. With the apo­lo­gy, Microsoft is offering a free tool to find and remove the trans­gress­ing font from your computer. More about this, and the com­plex meanings of the swastika, at typographica and MetaFilter.

Rudolph Koch swastika, from the P22 font

I don’t have the offensive Microsoft font, but I’ll happily sub­sti­tute this swastika from A book of signs by Rudolph Koch. First published in English by the First Edition Club in 1930, with de­li­cious woodcuts by Fritz Kredel, the book was later widely sold in a fine paperback edition by Dover. I bought my copy in London in 1973 — sadly, it has gone missing from my shelves. Koch’s signs have recently been made into a set of fonts by the P22 type foundry.

filed under Typography

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