While reading my ESV Study Bible recently, I noticed the question mark and how elegant and fine it was (see left). I looked it up and discovered that the ESV Study Bible uses the Lexicon font for the main text.
Lexicon is a serif typeface designed by Dutch type designer Bram de Does between the years 1989 and 1992.
Lexicon was De Does' second typeface, his first one being Trinité. After the release of Trinité, De Does held a lecture at the 1983 edition of ATypI. Some of his peers had asked him when his next typeface would be released, and in his lecture he announced that there would be no new typefaces from his hand. According to him, he would not be able to design something significantly different from the Renaissance inspired roman like Trinité. In 1989 however, he was approached by the designer of the Van Dale dictionary, who wanted to test Trinité for use at 7pt. De Does suggested to specially design a new typeface instead.
The first rough drawings were made with a felt-tipped pen, and then photographically reduced to be able to judge the design at the right size. The editors of the dictionary were happy with the results, and accepted the offer to produce the typeface. De Does worked together with Peter Matthias Noordzij, who used Ikarus to digitize the drawings that De Does made. The first version of 1992 was optimized for legibility at the point sizes that were used in the dictionary.
It seems to me to be very difficult to design a new font, as the letters and numbers have to be recognizable and there's not much room to work with, but I was struck, as I say, with the design of the question mark (and exclamation).
Kudos to Bram de Does.
(FYI, the rest of this post is in "Actor", selected by Typepad when I chose this design template.)
(I know .00001% of the world's population cares about fonts. Tough. I like 'em.)