Ampersands & Éperluètes

The ampersand is actually two letters combined — the e and the t of the Latin and French ‘et’. It has the same meaning in German ‘und’, ‘e’ in Italian and Portuguese and ‘og’ in Danish and Norwegian. The finest ampersand was cut by William Caslon in 1720. Claude Garamond, the revolutionary Frenchman turned it from type to art. Here is a drawing that I did of Garamond Italic (top) and of Caslon Italic (bottom). The ampersand signifies permanence, and many professional partnerships are linked to it. Ben & Jerry’s, Marks & Spencer, House & Garden, Town & Country, etc. There is a font that was released by SOTA in 2010 that is named ‘Coming Together’ that has no less than 483 different ampersands. Could you imagine seeing Ben and Jerry’s name this way? They must have stopped their partnership…

L’éperluète est la combinaison de deux lettres — le ‘e’ et le ‘t’ qui vient du latin et du français ‘et’. En allemand ‘und’, en italien et en portugais ‘e’, et en danois et norvégien ‘og’. La plus belle éperluète fut coupée par William Caslon en 1720 et le révolutionnaire Claude Garamond a pris ce glyphe et en a fait un objet d’art. Voici un dessin de la typo en Garamond italique (haut) et en Caslon italique (bas). L’éperluète signifie la permanence, et les partenariats d’affaires abondent avec ce glyphe. Ben & Jarry’s, Marks & Spencer, House & Garden, Town & Country, etc. Il y a une typo qui a été sortie en 2010 qui s’appelle ‘Coming Together’ qui regroupe 438 éperluètes.

Paper: small Moleskine Sketchbook
Ink: Black Carbon Ink with Carbon Ink Fountain Pen, Extra Fine

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About Jane Hannah

Canadian graphic artist, painter, sketcher, typographer, calligrapher and teacher at Cégep John Abbott College in Québec, Canada. Jane Hannah also has a website for her students at www.gimligraphics.com and a main blog at www.janehannah.com. She is also part of the Montreal Urban Sketchers.
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