So here are the basics...
Quote marks and apostrophes are curved. Inch marks and foot marks are not.
Again, AS ALWAYS!, it comes down to the fact that the computer thinks it's smarter than you, and "smart" quotes are only as smart as the person typing.
If you leave smart quotes "on" in your software, then every time you type a measurement, it looks like this...
If you leave smart quotes "off" in your software, then every time you type a quote or apostrophy, it looks like this...
Now, I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to online things (e.g., this blog), I use the default marks (" and ') instead of the more proper marks ( “, ” and ’), because hand-adjusting the html code with the proper ascii codes is a pain in the ass. But I think people are generally forgiving of this. However, when it comes to layout, I do not tread lightly when it comes to the differences between the marks. In fact, on one proofing review of the Creature Compendium (print copies of which are now on sale for 20% off at Lulu.com), I did nothing more than check the foot marks, inch marks, quotes and apostrophes for proper formatting (yes... one entire round of proofing just to check those marks).
BE IT KNOWN THAT NOT ALL FONTS INCLUDE PROPER QUOTE MARKS AND APOSTROPHES! In these instances (usually for the title type of a book), I will try to find the visually-closest font that includes them, and just change the typesetting for those individual characters in the title type. And if I can't find anything usable, I create the type element as a standalone image (e.g., in Adobe Illustrator), then use the comma from the typeface and move it, copy it and rotate it as necessary to make the type work. That may sound like a lot of effort, but it's these little things that make the difference between "average" and "superior" graphic design (and prove how much/how little the designer cares).
So that's it. And before you start asking "How do I turn smart quotes off and on?"... here are some resources for you.
Key combo for proper (curly) quotes on mac (assuming smart quotes are off):
- for left/open quote: Option-[
- for right/close quote: Option-Shift-[
- for left/open single quote: Option-]
- for apostrophe/right single/close quote: Option-Shift-]
Turning smart quotes off/on in Adobe InDesign >>
Turning smart quotes off/on in Adobe InDesign (Scroll down to "Use Smart Punctuation")
If you want to know how to turn smart quotes off and on in Photoshop, you won't get any help from me. Photoshop shouldn't be used for type. (Sorry. That's one of those places where I won't back down on my design snobbery.)
Changing quotation mark format in Microsoft Office Products >>