Signature mark

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At the bottom of the page the signature mark represents the number of the leaf.

A signature mark is a letter, number or combination of either or both, which is printed at the bottom of the first page, or leaf, of a signature or section. This practice is to ensure that the bookbinder can order the pages and sections in the correct order. Often the letters of the Latin alphabet have been used, though many American bookbinders do not use signature marks at all.[1]

Contemporary use of signature marks[edit]

A number of symbols used as binding signature marks were encoded in ISO 5426-2[2] and from there (to enable migration of data from the old standard) found their way into Unicode.

  • 0x32 REFERENCE MARK was unified with U+203B (※)
  • 0x34 MALTESE CROSS, with U+2720 (✠)
  • 0x36 RIGHTWARDS LEAF ARROW, with U+2767 (❧) ROTATED FLORAL HEART BULLET (also known as "hedera" and "ivy leaf")
  • 0x37 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER SIDEWAYS Q had to be added into Unicode as U+213A (℺), ROTATED CAPITAL Q[3]

U+2619 (☙), REVERSED ROTATED FLORAL HEART BULLET, was added later. These latter two are the only codepoints in Unicode 4.0 to bear the annotation "binding signature mark". It is unlikely that Unicode will encode any more marks since they constitute metatextual and not textual information even though other symbols were used as binding signature marks with printers making something of a house style of the particular blocks of type they chose.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Matt T. Roberts and Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology - signature mark
  2. ^ 1996, Information and documentation -- Extension of the Latin alphabet coded character set for bibliographic information interchange -- Part 2: Latin characters used in minor European languages and obsolete typography
  3. ^ Every character has a story #1: U+213a (ROTATED CAPITAL Q)