Ampersand Fever

by Fred Showker

ampersand fever

The Ampersand , a familiar logo for the Design Center and DTGTwenty Three years ago I selected an ampersand for the banner of DT&G, and then used it in many different creative ways in the newsletter. (Our "&Else: News, Views & Reviews" column is just one example!) Then when eWorld launched, Apple invited us to host the desktop publishing forums there under the DTG banner, we used the same ampersands as visual elements. Then, several years ago we featured the "Ampersand" in our Fonts Fest -- but after the explosion of social media and social networking since then it's become very plain to see that there is, in fact, a global love affair, perhaps even a fever, about the Ampersand. So, let's take another look at just a few spots of Ampersand Fever ...


Simon Garfield Just My Type

Simon Garfield uses tiny ampersands as the content markers to indicate the current page in his blog. Nice touch, and it actually shows up pretty well.

Simon writes:

quoting Much of what one needs to know about the history and beauty of a font may be found in its ampersand. (clip) The finest ampersand, cut by William Caslon is still alive after almost three hundred years, and it has many impersonators but no equals. It is fiendishly difficult to draw, and when done badly may resemble aimless scribble. But when done well, it can be a work of wild freehand art in a way that few regular characters are allowed to be. It can bestow aristocratic virtue to a font, and it can cause the writer about fonts a considerable struggle to contain the purple prose. end quote

See my book review on Just My Type

Aegir Hallmundur, Ministry of Type writes:
I like drawing the ampersand. It's the character that when you're designing a typeface seemingly gives you the greatest artistic freedom. It's big and swooshy, with lots of room for playing with curves, swirls and if you're feeling special, lots of fine, delicate lines. But why?

Creating a Logotype

Creating a Logotype Depends More on the Means Than the End ... Author Ben Gremillion writes :
quoting The process of designing a type-based logo is similar to that of designing a shape-based logo. Both logos need to convey a message, do it quickly and appease the client's taste. All of these objectives can be accomplished by defining goals, favoring message over convention and questioning our assumptions as designers -- even to the point of considering Arial or Helvetica. end quote
CAUTION (Careful! Heavy spam site!)

editor and Art Director

Bruce Mau of the Typeforyou blog said : quoting "...The purpose of typography is to build a bridge from one mind to another. The nature and quality of that bridge determines what travels across it" end quote
and thus pointed us to the E&A (Editor and Art Director) magazine -- a glitzy, glossy zine - founded 2004 on fashion, pop & art ... from Brooklyn, New York, with New York written all over it! (Thanks to Bruce Mau for sending this one in!)
The Glossy Zine site The Glossy Zine site

GO Continue with Ampersand Fever Part 2

But Seriously, Folks ... Ampersands Found

Our surf for the life and times of the ampersand is not over. We'll be adding here again next week and on into the future. If you find a good ampersand use you'd like to share with everyone else, just send it along!

Many of the Ampersands we found in this years surf have been put into a single JPG file you can find at the Publishers' Warehouse.

thanks for reading

Fred Showker

Don't forget ... we encourage you to share your discoveries with other readers. Just send and email, contribute your own article, join the Design Cafe forums, or follow DTG on Facebook!

27th Anniversary for DTG Magazine