Ampersand in fonts & logo design
This article looks at symbol variations of the ampersand, alternative signs such as “et,” and design styles for an ampersand logo.
The ampersand is defined as the “and sign,” meaning it stands for the word “and.”
Visually, the ampersand is a ligature (letters that are pulled together in writing) of the letters e and t for “et” (Latin for “and”).
The ampersand was (and had been many centuries earlier) the last “letter” after z but the actual English term “ampersand” comes from slurring the phrase “and per se” when the alphabet was recited in schools in the late thirties of the 19th century, (source).
Ampersand symbol variations in fonts
Take a look at the ampersand gallery above. The second symbol variation (ampersand symbol of font Bauhaus Geo) in the first row is probably the most frequently used version. If you look at the first and fourth variations—also pretty standard—you can easily see the origin of the letters e and t.
The ampersand is an exciting symbol in graphic and typography design. Most designers have a soft spot for this ligature—they love designing it and with it.
The ampersand of a typeface reflects the personality of its entire design concept. Is it quirky, modern, sweeping, protruding, based on geometric construction? Does it have flourishes, or is it austere? The ampersand takes a stand and often the freedom to go beyond just fitting in. The ampersand is made for display text such as headlines or signs, which allow for more details and embellishment.
Due to its inherent nature of standing out, the ampersand can function as a logo symbol.
Company logos with an ampersand
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century and the beginnings of the first corporations, the ampersand symbol has been used a binder in company names when multiple people created a partnership.
Ampersand logos are famous in all industries, such as fashion, architecture, jewelry, consulting, and food and wellness products.
Around 2014, the ampersand symbol experienced a wave of revival glory days, being featured in plenty of hipster logos. Overachieving usage was commonly found in logos for barber shops and logos for restaurants. However, as part of logo and font design, the ampersand had been a favorite of master printers decades ago, source.