The typographic symbol used to designate the word and (& ) is the Latin symbol for et which means and. The name, ampersand , is believed to be derived from the phrase "and per se and." Because it joins to letters (e t) into one, it's a form of ligature.
On a standard English layout keyboard the ampersand (&) is accessed with shift+7. In many fonts the ampersand looks much like a cursive S or a curvy plus sign but in other fonts you can almost see the word Et in the design of the ampersand.
In addition to its use as a stand-in for the word and, the ampersand is also a common programming symbol. For example, to create certain special characters in HTML (such as copyright symbols) the ampersand precedes the number/pound sign (#) and a string of numbers unique to that symbol.
As a substitute for and, the plus sign is also sometimes used instead of an ampersand, especially in handwritten text.
Designing With The Ampersand
- About.com Desktop Publishing Ampersand Style Gallery
- Focus On the Ampersand
- 32 Beautiful Ampersand Design Inspirations
- The Mesmerizing Curves Of Ampersands
- The Funkiest Ampersands You've Ever Seen
- The History Of The Ampersand And Showcase
Typography designers can exercise a lot more artistic freedom in the design of the ampersand, ranging from very traditional representations to those that bear little resemblance to the original form. — Cameron Chapman