And another thing . . .

Ampersands

The ampersand started as the humble “et,” the Latin word for “and.”  It seems slightly silly to me that a person would rather write just 2 letters rather than 3 to make the conjunction of ideas, but the “e” and the “t” flow so easily from the pen that they become one letter.  In the above graphic, which shows the ampersand in 30 different type styles, we see its evolution from the elision of two letters to something almost musical, like a reversed treble clef.

This is one of the reasons I love typography.  When I’m developing a logo or title for a company, I consider everything, including the ampersand.  Type defines the character of the product or business, inviting us to feel something about it (e.g., safe and professional, casual and happy, excited and edgy).  Clean lines, a bit of a flourish, perhaps a serif — typography is a type of graphical expression that affects us whether or not we’re aware of it.

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