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ampersand styles

Several Ampersand Styles; Image © J. Bear | Typography Glossary | Alpha Index to Full Glossary:

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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

Also Known As: & | and
In the accompanying graphic: Top: Two "S-like" ampersands, Bottom: ampersand that looks like a plus sign with a small loop, ampersand that echoes its origins as Et. These are some of the most common typographic renditions of the ampersand.
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