Why is SEPTEMBER 8 National Ampersand Day?

National Ampersand Day logo

“Can we spell it with ampersands?”

Probably no other holiday or observance day’s date has been determined with the particular criteria as National Ampersand Day. That criteria, quite simply, was “Can we spell it with ampersands?”

The word “SEPTEMBER” and the numeral “8” were selected specifically because, using a certain typestyle for each ampersand, you can “spell out” the date with ampersands, as shown here, wherein each ampersand resembles the character it stands in for. 

Ampersand Day logotype


The ampersands here are used much the same as pictographs or hieroglyphics, which simply means “recognizable pictures of the things represented.” This has rendered a unique, visually descriptive logotype, spelling out of the designated date of National Ampersand Day. (The official National Ampersand Day logo, which is circular, is shown a few paragraphs down.)

For you typophiles, here are the fonts & families used in the September 8 logotype:


Ampersand Day font callouts


Aside from three characters, each ampersand in a specific font resembles a letter and the number. Just a glance tells you it says “September.” The “8” might take a moment or two. Only the P, M & R don’t fit in. But if one of you sharp-witted ampersand fans has a suitable idea for any of those letters, drop it in the suggestion box

While we’re at it—for you extreme typophiles & amperfans—here are the font families used in the official National Ampersand Day logo:

National Ampersand Day logolarge ampersand: Garamond (Monotype), modified
“national ampersand day”: Garamond (Adobe)
“fun fabulous functional”: Helvetica
ampersand following fun: Caslon 540
ampersand following fabulous: Vivaldi
ampersand following functional: Baskerville


♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Wish someone special a
on September 8

Happy Ampersand Birthday

Do you know a Birthday Boy or a Birthday Girl whose special day falls on National Ampersand Day, September 8?

Send them this link to their own Birthday Page featuring the stylish greeting you see above:



♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 


More about the ampersand

Did You Know…

& The ampersand used to be the last letter of the alphabet?

&  The ampersand is a ligature of “e” & “t”? That’s et in Latin, meaning “and.”

&  The word “ampersand” is a slurring of “real words” run together over time?

&  The plus sign is actually an ampersand?

Read about these & other fun facts here.



Applaud the Ampersand

Celebrate National Ampersand Day by having fun with it:

&  Use lots & lots of ampersands!

&  Substitute “&” for “and” in everything you write.

&  Think of syllable replacements such as &roid, c&elabra, b&.

&  Send friends whose names contain “and” a special note — &y, &rea, Alex&er, Gr&ma.

&  Design new styles of ampersands. (Remember, the ampersand represents the letters “et.”)

&  Use #AmpersandDay & #AmperArt on social media.

&  Tell your friends to visit AmperArt.com.

&  Send anyone whose birthday is September 8 this Happy Birthday link: 


Subscribe to AmperArt here & now!

Receive a fun & fabulous & absolutely free ampersand art print download, suitable for gallery-quality printing & framing, each & every month! There’s always a story behind the artwork & a colophon of production notes, fonts & credits.



#104 Time & Time Again

 104 Time & Time Again
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-quality printing & framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Know anyone who screws up, arrives late, forgets something…time & time again?

AmperArt #104, Time & Time Again, is about those people. The term could just as easily refer to a car that just won’t start first thing in the morning, or a computer program that keeps crashing, but it usually refers to people—& especially negative instances such as always being late, forgetting to stop at the cleaners, or getting the facts wrong. Time & Again could also have been the title, but Time & Time Again just sounds so much more worthy of a good reprimand or pink slip.

See the scenario?

This AmperArt design, #104 Time & Time Again, presents a common scenario, especially in the workplace. Can you figure it out? Well, I know you can because only the brightest people subscribe to AmperArt.com, and that means you. But if you’re in a hurry here’s the answer:

Scenario: In AmperArt #104, Time & Time Again, there is a “team” of ampersands, comprised of 5 members: red, blue, green, yellow, purple. Each row of ampersands represents a group meeting. As you can see, all are present at every meeting except one of the team, Mr. Red. He shows up now & then, missing most meetings time & time again.


That meant I was in trouble. Otherwise I was “Charlie” or more recently “Chaz.” I’m also called “Chuck,” “Char” & “Hey Asshole” but never Charles, unless I’ve been a bad, bad boy. I can still hear Mom reprimanding me: “I’ve told you time & time again!” Was I trying out my new Crayolas on the walls again? Who knows, but the phrase still rings clear in my memory.

The dreaded pink slip

Time & time again an employee is late or does a lousy job, until they are “canned,” “let go,” or “given the pink slip,” all of which mean you’re fired! (No, the pink slip doesn’t mean you’re given the title to a new car for being late.)

"I'm what?!!"The “pink slip” has become a metonym for the termination of employment in general. According to an article in The New York Times, the editors of the Random House Dictionary have dated the term to at least as early as 1910.¹

The phrase most likely originated in vaudeville. When the United Booking Office (established in 1906) would issue a cancellation notice to an act, the notice was on a pink slip (“The Argot of Vaudeville Part I” New York Times, Dec. 16, 1917, p.X7.) Another possible etymology is that many applications (including termination papers) are done in triplicate form, with each copy on a different color of paper, one of which is typically pink.¹

In the UK & Ireland the equivalent of a pink slip is a P45; in Belgium the equivalent is known as a C4.¹

Another theory:

The very earliest example we have is where a pink slip is a note sent to a typographer indicating that he’s made a mistake. If he got enough of them then he would be fired. Yet another intermediate one in 1905 where a pink slip is specifically a rejection letter from a magazine. So a writer would submit a story, & it would get a pink slip back, meaning that the story was rejected. So clearly there is something going on at around this time where pink slip is being used to refer to various kinds of rejection.²

The term is an Americanism. In other countries they have different colors to refer to dismissal from a job. In Germany the expression is to get the blue letter. In the French military, you would be dismissed with a yellow paper, carte jaune. ²

So typographers were given the pink slip? Time & time again I’ve issued the month’s AmperArt just under the wire. Better get this edition out on time before I’m canned.

Please comment here.


chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.

Production notes for #104 Time & Time Again:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font family: Gill Sans
Ampersand: Gill Sans
Reference text (verbatim & edited):
¹Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_slip_(employment)

²Jesse Sheidlower is an editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary. From https://www.marketplace.org/2009/04/09/world/tracing-origin-pink-slip
You may repost the AmperArt image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#103 Long & Short

103 Long & Short
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-quality printing & framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

In a nutshell
The gist
Summing it up
The long & short of it

I’m sure scholars of the English language have written lengthy essays on the origin & evolution of the phrase “the long & short of it” but here, simply, is the long & short of it:

This expression, originally stated as “the short & long of it,” dates from about 1500; later “the long & short of it” was established by the end of the 1600s. It is also stated “the long & the short of it.”

Source: The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary

The long & short & condensed & italic

AmperArt #103, Long & Short, features typography set in just one type family, Bodoni, but with many styles. It is a beautiful & versatile typestyle, having many variations designed by several foundries over the years. This piece has purposely been set with fonts from four different foundries.* (See type terminology below.) 

Demonstrating just how versatile Bodoni is—how one type family can render so many personalities—Long & Short was set as follows, indicating style (followed by designer or foundry):

103 Long & Shortthe, of it set in Bodoni Condensed Italic (Berthold)

LONG set in Bodoni Poster Compressed (Adobe)

SHORT set in Bodoni Black (Bauer)

set in Bodoni Oldface Italic (Berthold)


Bodoni, typographer

1818 Manuale-Tipografico, Bodoni
The 1818 Manuale-Tipografico specimen manual of Bodoni’s press, published after his death.

Bodoni is the name given to the serif typefaces first designed by Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813) in the late eighteenth century & frequently revived since. Bodoni’s typefaces are classified as Didone or modern. Bodoni had a long career & his designs changed & varied, ending with a typeface of a slightly condensed underlying structure with flat, unbracketed serifs, extreme contrast between thick & thin strokes, & an overall geometric construction.

When first released, Bodoni & other didone fonts were called classical designs because of their rational structure. Bodoni’s later designs are rightfully called “modern” but the earlier designs are now called “transitional.”

In the English-speaking world, “modern” serif designs like Bodoni are most commonly used in headings & display uses & in upmarket magazine printing, which is often done on high-gloss paper that retains & sets off the crisp detail of the fine strokes. In Europe, they are more often used in body text.

Bodoni, printer

Bodoni page decorations
Proofs of page decorations from the Bodoni printing house

Although to a modern audience Bodoni is best known as the name of a typeface, Bodoni was an expert printer who ran a prestigious printing office under the patronage of the Duke of Parma, & the design of his type was permitted by & showcased the quality of his company’s work in metal-casting, printing & of the paper made in Parma.

Writing of meeting him in the year 1786, James Edward Smith, English botanist and founder of the Linnean Society, said:

A very great curiosity in its way is the Parma printing office, carried on under the direction of Mr. Bodoni, who has brought that art to a degree of perfection scarcely known before him. Nothing could exceed his civility in showing us numbers of the beautiful productions of his press…as well as the operations of casting & finishing the letters…his paper is all made at Parma. The manner in which Mr. Bodoni gives his works their beautiful smoothness, so that no impression of the letters is perceptible on either side, is the only part of his business that he keeps secret.

Dazzle (not what you think)

The effective use of Bodoni in modern printing poses challenges common to all Didone designs. While it can look very elegant due to the regular, rational design & fine strokes, a known effect on readers is “dazzle,” where the thick verticals draw the reader’s attention & cause them to struggle to concentrate on the other, much thinner strokes that define which letter is which. For this reason, using the right optical size of font has been described as particularly essential to achieve professional results. 

[And for other reasons as well, fine typography should be entrusted to a professional designer. Yeah, that would be me. —Chaz]

Bodoni, busy

Bodoni has been used for a wide variety of material, ranging from 18th century Italian books to 1960s periodicals. In the 21st century, the late manner versions continue to be used in advertising, while the early manner versions are occasionally used for fine book printing.

  • Poster Bodoni is used in Mamma Mia! posters.
  • Bodoni is one of the two typesets that is used by Hilton Hotels for restaurant or bar menu content.
  • Sony’s Columbia Records (owned by CBS from 1938 to 1989) also utilizes Bodoni for their wordmark.
  • Nirvana’s logo is written with Bodoni (specifically Bodoni Poster-Compressed).
  • Bauer Bodoni Black is used for Carnegie Mellon University‘s wordmark.
  • Bauer Bodoni Roman is used for Brandeis University‘s wordmark.
  • Tom Clancy used Bodoni font for the artwork of all his affiliated works until his novel Dead or Alive.
  • A variation of Bodoni called “Postoni” is the primary headline font for The Washington Post newspaper.
  • Bodoni was the favorite typeset of Ted Hughes, UK Poet Laureate, 1984–1998.
  • Roman Bauer Bodoni is used in Slow Food‘s logotype.
  • Bodoni has been used in Manila Bulletin‘s headline text until the early 2000s.
  • Bodoni is used for the English translation of the logo for the Ghost in The Shell series.
  • Bodoni is used for the current logo of Time Warner.
  • Bodoni is used in THX‘s early trailers like Broadway & Cimarron.
  • The logo for the Canadian teen drama series Ready or Not is in Bodoni Poster-Compressed.
  • Book covers by Chaz DeSimone for Piano Pronto (see next headline).
Source: Wikipedia

Bodoni by Desimone for Piano Pronto

A few years ago I was commissioned by Jennifer Eklund, a charming client, to design her Piano Pronto logo & piano instruction books. Talented in her own right as a pianist & publisher, Jennifer also has a keen sense of design & visual style. She fell in love with the typeface Bodoni when I presented it as a complement to her logotype and as the main title font for her books. The front and back covers of her Primer are shown here. Two fonts are used for the cover, one being Bodoni Black. The back text is primarily Bodoni, showcasing bold, regular and italic.








If you have ever wanted to learn piano, Jennifer’s course is one you’ll really enjoy. It features“accelerated learning for all ages & all stages.” See all her piano instruction books and listen to some beautiful piano music at her website, pianopronto.com.



*Type terminology

“Foundry” of course is usually associated with metal works, & that’s exactly how type was produced for the first couple hundred years after moveable type was invented by Gutenberg. The term “foundry” is still used to designate a font publisher.

The term “font” used to mean something very specific, not just a typeface. It was the package of metal type that was one type family (Bodoni, Garamond, Helvetica, etc.), one weight (regular, light, book, bold, black), one style (roman—meaning upright, italic, small caps, etc.), & one size (6, 8, 10, 60, 72 point). That was a single font; i.e. Helvetica | bold | italic | extended | 36pt.

“Leading” is the space between lines of text. In the days of hand-set type & metal linecasting machines, strips of metal ranging from 1/4 point to 36 points (approx. 1/2 inch) or more were inserted between lines of type. (Anything thicker was usually spaced with wood blocks.) The metal strips were actually lead, & resulted in lead poisoning for many typesetters & printers.

“Cut & paste,” one of the most familiar terms associated with computers, used to mean literally cut the sheet of text, image or clipart with an X-acto blade & paste it in the layout with rubber cement or hot wax, to be photographed by the camera for offset platemaking. (& hold your breath to see if anything shifted around or fell off completely as the printing emerges from the press.)

Please comment here.

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.

Production notes for #103 Long & Short:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font family: Bodoni
Ampersand: Bodoni Oldface Italic
Reference text: Wikipedia (verbatim & edited)
Manuale-Tipografico specimen: Wikipedia (public domain)
Proofs of page decorations: TypTS 825.18.225, Houghton Library, Harvard University (public domain)
You may repost the AmperArt image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!