Hyphens, en and em dashes appear with great frequency in typeset copy. Unlike the days of typewriters where the only character available to represent these three punctuation marks was a hyphen, all three are available in today’s fonts. They all have different usages, as well as varying design characteristics for each typeface design.

In today’s digital world where graphic designers are responsible for so many aspects of typesetting and production, it is up to us to know the difference between these three symbols, and to check for appropriate usage and appearance in every job we come into contact with. From reviewing the initial copy (text) to proofreading the final output, designers need to be aware of these punctuation marks, and edit typeset copy accordingly for typographic accuracy as well as good taste.

When to Use Hyphens, En and Em Dashes in a Sentence
Hyphens ( – ) are the shortest of the three, and are used to hyphenate words at the end of line. They are also used for compound, or hyphenated words and phrases, such as sister-in-law and merry-go-round. In addition, they are the correct punctuation for phone numbers, as well as game and sport scores, and contest results.

En dashes ( – ) are the middle width of the three, and are used to indicate a break in time, or a span or range. (An easy way to know if an en dash is the correct punctuation for a range is if it can be replaced with a preposition, such as to or through.) They are also used to indicate a con­nec­tion or con­trast between pairs of words, such as an east–west flight, and a Democrat–Republican split. The en dash is probably the least understood and most incorrectly used of the three; it is often substituted with either a hyphen or an em dash, both of which are wrong when the en dash is the correct punctuation.

Em dashes ( — ) are the widest of the three. They are most often used for a break in thought, or a thought within a thought or a sentence.

Design Differences
While hyphens are usually consistent in their design relative to each typeface (usually short horizontal or slightly angled strokes), en and em dashes can vary greatly from typeface to typeface. They can differ both in the width of the actual glyph, as well their overall spacing, that is, the space added (or not added) to both sides of the glyph to give them ‘breathing room’ when they appear next to other characters.

From Extensis.com August 3rd, 2016 by Ilene Strizver


If you need to find the postcode for any physical or postal address within New Zealand this is the tool for you:



I have recently been getting a lot of enquiries about QR codes. If you want to know more about QR codes, this is what Wikipedia has to say:

“The QR code system was invented in 1994 by Denso Wave. Its purpose was to track vehicles during manufacture; it was designed to allow high-speed component scanning. Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes now are used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (termed mobile tagging). QR codes may be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user's device, to open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), or to compose an e-mail or text message. Users can generate and print their own QR codes for others to scan and use by visiting one of several paid and free QR code generating sites or apps. It has since become one of the most-used types of two-dimensional barcode.”


Creating your own QR code

I can supply you with any type of barcode you may need, but if you want to create your own QR codes there are a number of free web services that you can use. Some of them have limitations on size or resolution of the code, but for most uses these services are quite suitable. Here are some sites you could try:





International Standard Numbers are a publication's fingerprint, a world-wide identifier that helps publishers, suppliers, and libraries locate, order, and track published material.

The National Library of New Zealand is responsible for allocating International Standard Numbers for publications – books, serials and music – in New Zealand. A number is issued for each format of a publication, such as paperback, hardback, cd-rom, or online pdf.

ISBNs - International Standard Books Numbers

An ISBN is 13 digit unique identifier number assigned to books and other print, electronic, or multimedia publications. It is used for printed books and pamphlets containing more than four pages of text, maps, e-books, pdfs, Braille publications and audio books. Publishers issuing large numbers of publications can be given a block of numbers, which they use as required.



4A0: 2378 x 1682 mm
2A0: 1682 x 1189 mm
A0: 1189 x 841 mm
A1: 841 x 594 mm
A2: 594 x 420 mm
A3: 420 x 297 mm
A4: 297 x 210 mm
A5: 210 x 148 mm
A6: 148 x 105 mm
A7: 105 x 74 mm
A8: 74 x 52 mm
A9: 52 x 37 mm
A10: 37 x 26 mm



If you have an image of a font but you need to identify its name, you can photograph the sample and upload it here:


It will search its font database and give you a font that matches (if it can find one) or give you a selection of similar fonts you could try. Decades ago I could identify almost any font at a glance but there are hundreds of thousands of fonts available now and I have had to use this website numerous times.

If it identifies the font, and you don't have it in your library, you can purchase the font from them too.