Musings on all things typography and design.


& the 27th Letter


If you look back at type specimens of the 1800s you'll often see "&" included as the 27th letter of the English alphabet. Except that it wasn't called an ampersand yet. The "&" sign was, rather, referred to simply as “and” — which made reciting the alphabet awkward. It was odd to say “X Y Z and.” Instead, our lexicon developed another saying: “X, Y, and Z, and by itself, ‘and'” — but instead of saying “by itself,” the Latin phrase "per se" came into favor. The result is that “And per se, and,” or, muttered quickly became, “ampersand.”  #typography #alphabet #ampersands #design

cody dennison