#161 & Per Se &

#161 & Per Se &
#161 & Per Se &
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.

Okay, this is one of the weirdest titles I’ve issued—
does & per se & even mean anything?

It sure does mean some­thing! In fact, it’s what my Amper­Art series is all about. 

Chil­dren’s primer by Marin­da Bran­son Moore , pub­lished ‘1863. Vis­it web­site.

& per se &” is how we used to describe the last let­ter of the Eng­lish alpha­bet — no, not z, but fol­low­ing z — when it had 27 char­ac­ters. Yes, the Eng­lish alpha­bet was once 27 let­ters long (actu­al­ly, 26 let­ters & 1 sym­bol) up until about the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tu­ry. That last char­ac­ter was none oth­er than our favorite char­ac­ter — drum­roll — the fun & fab­u­lous ampersand. 

In recit­ing the alpha­bet, after z, schoolkids would say “&, per se, &.”

Per se” means “by itself,” so the stu­dents were essen­tial­ly say­ing of the &: “…x, y, z, and, by itself, ‘and’.”

Maybe if & was still part of the alpha­bet it would have been includ­ed in allow­able sym­bols for urls. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the amper­sand & sev­er­al oth­er use­ful glyphs (such as # and +) can­not be used in a url, but they should be. I can’t even use the amper­sand in the names of Amper­Art posts, such as would be “amper​art​.com/​#​1​6​3​-​&​-​p​e​r​-​s​e-&” or “amper​art​.com/​l​a​u​r​e​l​-​&​-​h​a​rdy.” I have to set­tle for “amper​art​.com/​1​6​3​-​p​e​r​-​se-” or “amper​art​.com/​l​a​u​r​e​l​-​h​a​rdy.” And many com­pa­nies can’t even dis­play their names accu­rate­ly in a url, such as “good&plenty,com” or “arm&hammer.com.”

Why is it called an ampersand?

Say “& per se &” 50 times real fast & you’ll see (or hear) how it even­tu­al­ly slurred into the sound “amper­sand” – & stuck, as the name for the sym­bol that was once part of the alpha­bet. It may have fall­en off the ABC’s but today is part of near­ly every large law firm; is short­hand for “and;” is heav­i­ly used in name brands (don’t miss the post cel­e­brat­ing Nation­al Good & Plen­ty Day in Octo­ber); and, of course, the fun & fab­u­lous lit­tle squig­gle inspired this Amper­Art series.

National Ampersand Day is September 8 and this is why:

Mostly ampersands!

It was appar­ent sev­er­al of the char­ac­ters in “Sep­tem­ber 8” can be clev­er­ly dis­guised as amper­sands when cer­tain fonts are used, as shown above. Read about Nation­al Amper­sand Day (& for you typophiles, see the call­out of fonts in the above graph­ic) here:

LMNOP

Here’s a ver­sion of The ABC Song on YouTube. Two things amaze me about this. First, in every ver­sion it is sung as if lmnop is the name of one sin­gle let­ter. You prob­a­bly grew up singing it like that, and so did I. Now I know why — that’s how it’s sung on YouTube. (Gotcha! There was no YouTube when I was grow­ing up.) Why are kids taught to sing it like that? It’s absurd. Sec­ond, lis­ten close­ly (if you can get through the hideous song) & you’ll hear not one, but two amper­sands — nei­ther, of course, at the end, as a 27th char­ac­ter. It goes “A B C D E F G H I J K lmnop Q R S T U & V W X Y & Z…”


Concept & design

161 original design

This Amper­Art piece went through a cou­ple iter­a­tions. The orig­i­nal con­cept, above or at left, was the fin­ished design (so I thought), com­plet­ed a week ahead of Nation­al Amper­sand Day, 2020. 

But then I had an idea for some addi­tion­al, rel­e­vant design which I am very sat­is­fied with (& proud of). Got that done, too (it’s the fin­ished piece fea­tured in this post, which you can down­load here for framing). 

I believe if a bet­ter idea comes along, at least try it. I won’t set­tle for design that is real­ly, real­ly good when it can be per­fect. That’s one thing I admire about my idol, Walt Dis­ney. He would scrap a near-​finished project so he could start over with the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy or a bet­ter concept.

In this case, the back­ground you see in this first iter­a­tion is just a fan­cy pat­tern. I real­ized, hey, this is about the amper­sand end­ing the alpha­bet, so why not include the first 26 let­ters too? It turned into a very enjoy­able task of cre­at­ing true graph­ic design with typog­ra­phy, one of my favorite types of art. True, that usu­al­ly means com­mer­cial art, but at least to my eyes it’s still art. (I admit I can’t draw more than a stick figure.)

Cre­at­ing the design for #161 And Per Se And took awhile due to the revi­sions, but noth­ing com­pared to try­ing to write the sto­ry, try­ing to explain what the title means. 

On top of that, a few days before release date I hit a record for con­cur­rent con­tin­gen­cies (air con­di­tion­er quit com­plete­ly & pow­er black­out due to heat wave) & emer­gen­cies (cat was pant­i­ng way too hard) as the heat wave hit 110 degrees. I just could­n’t fin­ish writ­ing the sto­ry by 6am Sep­tem­ber 8, Nation­al Amper­sand Day.

So here it is, Amper­Art #161, cel­e­brat­ing the fun & fab­u­lous amper­sand with the ori­gin of its pro­nun­ci­a­tion, & per se &. Issued one year lat­er. With the fin­ished new design. Before any emer­gen­cies post­pone it again.


National Ampersand Day Logo

This is the offi­cial logo for Nation­al Amper­sand Day, designed by Chaz DeS­i­mone for Nation­al Day Calendar.

Dear amper­sand fans, thank you for check­ing out Amper­Art, my month­ly project which takes a com­mon phrase (okay, & per se & isn’t that com­mon), adding some art­work, & turn­ing the whole thing into a cel­e­bra­tion of the fun & fab­u­lous amper­sand. If you haven’t sub­scribed yet, head over here.

Cel­e­brate Nation­al Amper­sand Day here!


Production notes for #161 & Per Se &:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Fonts, text: Garamond, Helvetica 
Font, ampersand: Garamond (rotated but not distorted)
Credits:
Primer: https://​doc​south​.unc​.edu/​i​m​l​s​/​m​o​o​r​e​/​m​e​n​u​.​h​tml
Alphabet song: YouTube https://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​7​5​p​-​N​9​Y​K​qNo
Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Visit DesimoneDesign.com

Chaz sez...
Want more?
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
Read the blog:
des​i​monedesign​.com/​c​h​a​z​-​sez
Desimone Design
Desimone Design

#170 Long & Scraggly

#170 Long & Scraggly
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.

I got arrested exactly 23 weeks ago to the minute (it’s 11pm here)

I got arrest­ed on a Fri­day night, Feb­ru­ary 19, 2021, at exact­ly 11:00 pm.

I was on my way home after hav­ing way too much fun. At the super­mar­ket. Choos­ing cat food. (Have you seen all the design­er col­ors on the cans these days?) 

I’m okay. Although I still couldn’t shave or lay out in the sun for awhile.

Get­ting arrest­ed and spend­ing sev­er­al days and nights in jail would be worth the hap­py end­ing of the whole ordeal. This was the per­fect exam­ple of a “hap­py acci­dent” — there were actu­al­ly two on that night. The sto­ry starts a year ago, or when­ev­er the pan­dem­ic started.

No sun, no shave

Short­ly after the coro­n­avirus became a pan­dem­ic, my gym closed and so did my nud­ist club where I enjoy absorb­ing rays that feed ideas for my design projects. (Yes, that’s what my clients pay me the big bucks for — lay­ing out naked at the pool.)

I hate shav­ing, just as much as I hate tying shoelaces. I own san­dals and vel­cro work­out shoes and slip-​on dress shoes — no laces. The only rea­son I shave is so my face does­n’t get a tan line when I lay in the sun. (Oh yeah, that’s anoth­er rea­son I don’t go in the sun any­more — the face masks.) Hon­est­ly, I do not shave for client meet­ings, con­fer­ences, par­ties, you name it. Only to lay out in the sun. So…no sun, no need to shave. I grew a face full of long & scrag­gly hair dur­ing the pandemic.

Time for sunshine

Okay, enough is enough. I want to get back into the sun, even if it’s not at my club or the beach. I can lay out at home; it’s get­ting hot again. Besides, I jump every time I feel a spi­der crawl­ing on my neck, but turns out it’s always just a few stray beard hairs brush­ing against my skin. And I’m tired of dunk­ing my mous­tache in my coffee.

I found a decent pair of clip­pers to do the rough cut, and I ordered a 5‑star-​review elec­tric shaver for my pre-​sun shaves. (After a year of bliss — no shoe laces & no shav­ing — I abhor the thought of using a man­u­al razor again.)

Shave or shop?

Last Fri­day the clip­pers and shaver arrived by FedEx. (Great sto­ry about the awe­some FedEx logo, col­ors, entire brand­ing sys­tem, in an upcom­ing issue.) I was excit­ed to final­ly get rid of this long & scrag­gly facial fun­gus, but had to decide whether to head to the mar­ket for cat food or squeeze in a quick trim. Man, did I make a great decision! 

I knew sub­con­cious­ly that my quick trim would eas­i­ly turn into sev­er­al hours, so I skipped the shave and went to the store. Good thing, because with all those col­ors and fla­vors of cat food to choose from, I checked out just as the store was get­ting ready to close. But that’s not the best part of the deci­sion — read on.

Fly right through—not

Dri­ving home just before 11 pm, there was a police check­point up ahead. No prob­lem, every­thing’s in a nice lit­tle fold­er in my glove com­part­ment, and I’ll be feed­ing the cats in fif­teen minutes.

Dri­ving sober: ✔
Cur­rent reg­is­tra­tion: ✔
Prop­er insur­ance: ✔
Valid license: ✔

…or so I thought.

Sir, your dri­ver’s license is expired.”
“What? No it’s not.” I real­ly meant that.
“Expired Decem­ber 20th.” Whoa — I total­ly for­got to renew it on my birth­day!

Towed away

I have hard­ly ever been so sur­prised, in such dis­be­lief. I don’t want to blame every­thing on the pan­dem­ic, but it has caused days, weeks, months, to run togeth­er in a blur. (As my friend says, “Every­day is Blurs­day!”) I had not thought about my dri­ver’s license renew­al since get­ting the notice in the mail a few months before its expi­ra­tion. And quite frankly, I hard­ly remem­bered it was my birth­day last December.

So here I was in the mid­dle of the night (almost) with the prospect of my Jeep get­ting impound­ed if I could­n’t get some­one to dri­ve it home for me before 2 am. 

If any­thing upsets me about the whole sce­nario, is that they will not allow you to dri­ve home on your own, with some­thing like a “go straight home and don’t dri­ve again until your license is renewed” per­mis­sion. It’s not like I would be dri­ving under the influ­ence, or the head­lights were out, or any­thing else that would make a short dri­ve unsafe. Hell, one would dri­ve as care­ful as pos­si­ble! To call a cou­ple friends — yes, it takes two, one to dri­ve their own car back home while anoth­er dri­ves my car with me in the pas­sen­ger seat — real­ly both­ered me. Good thing they’re good friends. Or were. 

Once I got home I fed the cats, worked through the week­end, did not dri­ve, and showed up to be first in line at the DMV Mon­day morn­ing. In fact, I stayed up all night Sun­day so I was sure to leave on time. I arrived at 4 am, and the next car to show up was­n’t until 5:30! Some­how, I was wide awake, and sort­ed a bunch of papers that I brought with me. Also cleaned out the car while I was wait­ing for the place to open. They opened at 8 and I was out of there by 8:20 with a new dri­ver’s license.

Since the DMV is 25 miles from my home, I made sev­er­al stops on the way home, spend­ing near­ly all day on an extend­ed errand. When I got home in the late after­noon I hit the bed and was asleep instant­ly. (After I fed the cats again.)

Saved by the cats (and police)

I use the term hap­py acci­dent a lot, but this inci­dent is the per­fect exam­ple, or two. Dark clouds (two of ’em — run­ning late and being arrest­ed) with sil­ver linings.

  • If I did­n’t have to buy cat food, I would have shaved off my beard last Fri­day. I would not have encoun­tered the check point and would have shaved off my beard Fri­day night. 
  • If I was­n’t run­ning late, I would have shaved it off before I left. 
  • And learn­ing that my license was expired, I real­ized I could­n’t shave it off at all…until after I vis­it the DMV

I can’t shave it off until I renew my dri­ver’s license — and I almost did! (I want this long and scrag­gly beard in my DMV pho­to. Why? Let’s just say it’s why peo­ple call me Chaz the Spaz.) As soon as I get back from the DMV it gets shaved off. My face will be bare and naked for the sun, final­ly — and no mask required if I’m tan­ning at home.

So as soon as I get home, off with the beard.

…or so I thought.

Still can’t shave

I still had the beard and mous­tache 3 months lat­er. You see, I want­ed the lat­est & great­est Real ID ver­sion of my dri­ver’s license, with my hor­ren­dous beard and mous­tache (which was very long & scrag­gly by that point — again, Chaz the Spaz). The license I got right after the arrest was a nor­mal dri­ver’s license, not a Real ID. You need to bring a lot of paper­work for that: birth cer­tifi­cate, sev­er­al doc­u­ments to prove your address, and Social Secu­ri­ty card. That last one was the hang-​up. I brought every­thing with me on that Mon­day, but when I pulled out my SS card it was my Cost­co card, which looks very sim­i­lar. I always keep my Social Secu­ri­ty card in my wal­let, but it just was­n’t there. So I could­n’t get my RealID. Just a nor­mal license so I could legal­ly drive.

It took over 3 months for my SS card to arrive, but when it did I raced (not real­ly, offi­cer) to the DMV, got there at 5am this time, still no one else in line, got my RealID, and raced home (I think I real­ly did) to shave this mop off my face. And lay in the sun. 

Prove it

Okay, you’re dying to know why I want the beard on my dri­ver’s license, aren’t you? 

Just to mess with any­one who asks for my ID and then does a double-​take between the over­growth on my license and my live in-​person clean-​shaven face. (Clean-​shaven for me includes a few days’ stubble.) 

I don’t like it when I’m asked some­thing, I give them an hon­est answer, and then they still want proof. That’s call­ing me a liar. So screw ’em. They want to mess with me, I’ll mess with them.

Gonna get some sun. Well, not right now. It’s going on 11pm.


Production notes for #170 Long & Scraggly:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Photoshop
Fonts: Variex, Helvetica
Ampersand: Helvetica
Credits:
Photo: iPhone selfie (Chaz’s beard, not the ampersand)

Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Visit DesimoneDesign.com

Chaz DeS­i­mone is the cre­ator of Amper­Art and own­er of Des­i­mone Design. He was adding ser­ifs to let­ters when he was just a lit­tle brat scrib­bling on walls. Now he’s a big brat and his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophis­ti­cat­ed, log­i­cal, cap­ti­vat­ing results. Con­tact him at chaz@​desimonedesign.​com to dis­cuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.

Chaz sez...
Want more?
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
Read the blog:
des​i​monedesign​.com/​c​h​a​z​-​sez
Desimone Design
Desimone Design