#63 Upper & Lowercase (do you know which “case” this refers to?)

Download hi-rez image to print & frame.


#63 Upper & Lowercase
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing & framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

UPPER & low­er­case, as in cap­i­tal & “small” let­ters, are called upper & low­er­case for a rea­son. It’s not because they are taller & shorter.

Upper & Lowercase job cases.The terms “upper” &low­er­case” orig­i­nated in the ear­ly days of hand-​​​set type where each char­ac­ter was cast on a sep­a­rate piece of met­al & stored in shal­low draw­ers known as job cas­es. Fre­quently there were two cas­es (draw­ers) for each font, one placed on top of the oth­er while com­posit­ing type. The upper case con­tained the majus­cules. The low­er case con­tained the minus­cules (these are the prop­er terms, though not heard much anymore).

This illus­tra­tion has the cas­es reversed — low­er­case is on top — to clear­ly show the var­i­ous sizes of indi­vid­ual com­part­ments need­ed to accom­mo­date the quan­tity of each low­er­case let­ter used for the aver­age com­po­si­tion. (The upper­case com­part­ments are all the same size.) There are more e’s used in the Eng­lish lan­guage than any oth­er let­ter, hence e is stored in the largest section.

Our friend the amper­sand is stored in the upper case (bot­tom in this illus­tra­tion), near the low­er right cor­ner: bot­tom row & sec­ond box in — see it?

Proof­read­ers’ marks

The red lines & dots in Amper­Art #63 Upper & Low­er­case are proof­read­ers’ marks. Although today’s man­u­scripts are proof­read & edit­ed with high­lights, tags & “sticky tag” call­outs — or just edit­ed direct­ly in the word pro­cess­ing or page lay­out pro­gram — there’s noth­ing quite like proof­ing a hard copy print­ed page — you know, paper, not pix­els. That’s usu­al­ly where the last elu­sive typo will be dis­cov­ered. (Anoth­er trick is to read the proof upside-​down.) Proof­ing hard copy is done best with a red pen & a set of good old-​fashioned proof­read­ers’ marks. Here’s a rather com­plete list:

Upper & Lowercase & many more proofreaders' symbols.


Upper & LowercaseCan you fig­ure out what the red proof­read­er’s marks in #63 Upper & Low­er­case mean?
Note: the design shows the final result after the request­ed revi­sions were car­ried out.
1. Close up (pull let­ters tighter together).
2. Make this a cap­i­tal (upper case) letter.
3. “Stet” — let stand, ignore changes, revert to original.
4. Change to lowercase.

Online ref­er­ence from Edit Fast, a ser­vice for writ­ers: online proof­read­ers’ marks chart.

Tri­va: See where it says “insert lead” & ”take out lead”? Most writ­ers & design­ers today know that “lead­ing” is the term for space between lines of type. But why is it called “lead­ing”? When type was set by hand (or even by machine, but still cast line-​by-​line) space was increased between the lines by insert­ing a flat strip of lead which var­ied from 14 point in thick­ness up to 12 points or more. Beyond stack­ing sev­er­al strips of lead for a very large blank space, blocks of wood were fre­quent­ly used. These strips real­ly were made of lead, which is why many com­pos­i­tors end­ed up with can­cer. (Many press oper­a­tors became alco­holics from inhal­ing the ink & sol­vent fumes. But that’s a dif­fer­ent department.)

Upper & Lowercase & all sorts of other edits!

Uh-​oh. The red pen.

This is how messy a page can get if an ama­teur writer is being red­lined by a pro­fes­sion­al edi­tor. This pho­to shows a gal­ley proof, so some of the proof­read­er’s marks might also indi­cate type­set­ter’s errors (typos) & artis­tic adjustments.

This image was “bor­rowed” from a won­der­ful­ly enter­tain­ing sto­ry on how copy edit­ing used to be. Read it here. Writ­ten by a Lon­don edi­tor, the term you’ll be read­ing is “sub-​editing” or “sub­bing,” not copy edit­ing as we call it in the US. Fiona Cul­li­nan’s mem­oirs of the days of when copy & paste meant razor blades & rub­ber cement are pure joy. Brings me back to the days of real gal­ley proofs & the “repro­duc­tion com­put­er.” Thanks, Fiona.

Image © Periodical Training Council training material.


Commas, dashes, upper & lowercase, syntax, spelling, &c.

The Fru­gal Editor

If you’re a writer on a bud­get — or if you’re just a com­pul­sive DIY­er — you can proof & edit, your­self, with a fan­tas­tic, thor­ough guide on self-​editing: The Fru­gal Edi­tor by Car­olyn Howard John­son. I high­ly rec­om­mend this valu­able & fru­gal invest­ment; see a few pages on ama​zon​.com.

The Fru­gal Book Promoter

Once you edit your book, you might want to sell it — right? Car­olyn’s flag­ship book in the Fru­gal series is The Fru­gal Book Pro­mot­er. See it here. This book is the most com­pre­hen­sive guide on self-​promoting (or with inex­pen­sive help of oth­ers) I’ve ever read. Just the one state­ment “start pro­mot­ing your book now, even if it’s not pub­lished yet, even if it’s not writ­ten yet!” is worth the price.

Yes, I designed the cov­ers (you’ll see that if you vis­it the ama­zon links) but I was pas­sion­ate about the project because both books are incred­i­bly thor­ough & help­ful, writ­ten by a bril­liant & delight­ful author & publisher.


 listen up!Print shop was my favorite class in junior & senior high. I print­ed my own busi­ness cards, greet­ing cards, & fly­ers (which I kept pre­cious­ly safe in a stor­age facil­i­ty for over 50 years, intend­ing to share my child­hood cre­ations with you in an arti­cle like this…until they were all auc­tioned off Feb. 8, 2014 & are now in a trash heap some­where along with thou­sands of oth­er bits & pieces of my life, career, art­work — & my soul). My desk is a mess right now — pens, mark­ers, papers & books are every­where* & I guess I’ve had the same bad habit of not putting things away since my ear­ly years. You see, the type that I set my fly­ers & such with in print shop should have been called not upper case & low­er­case, but “floor case.” Because I pied (print­ers’ term for spilled) more type than I set, & nev­er went back to pick it up off the floor. I just pulled more type out of the cas­es. My poor print shop instructor!

*But all my Cray­olas are in the box where they belong.

Production notes for #63 Upper & Lowercase:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: InDesign
Fonts: Garamond, Franklin
Ampersand: Franklin
Credits for #63 Upper & Lowercase:
Job cases: Unknown
Proofreaders’ marks: Pearson Higher Education (pear​son​high​ered​.com)
Mark-​up page: Fiona Cullinan, design​ersin​sights​.com © Periodical Training Council training material.
Cover of The Frugal Editor: I designed it — see the book here.


Relat­ed arti­cle in the Print­ing & Pub­lish­ing series:
#93 Work & Turn

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#76 Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose & –do you remember the lyrics?

corn cob pipe & button nose


#76 Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing and framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

& two eyes made out of coal.

Mer­ry Christmas!
Hap­py Hanukkah!
Hap­py Kwanzaa!
and for a few dear friends of mine…
Bah Hum­bug!

Frosty the Snowman

a corn cob pipe & a button nose & two eyes made out of coal”

I chose this frigid but fun lit­tle guy to wish all my Amper­Art friends a Hap­py Hol­i­day Sea­son. I don’t think Frosty has any reli­gious pref­er­ence — well, maybe he wor­ships the Ice Man.

For this Amper­Art piece I could­n’t quite remem­ber the lyrics — I just recalled “a corn cob pipe & a but­ton nose & some­thing some­thing some­thing”—so I pulled up the ani­mat­ed short that I’ve always heard about but nev­er seen: Frosty the Snow­man by Bass/​Raskin Pro­duc­tions (1969). I was delight­ed to hear one of my favorite voic­es nar­rat­ing the sto­ry — Jim­my Durante. (Paul Frees, the voice of Dis­ney’s Haunt­ed Man­sion Ghost Host, Lud­wig Von Drake, and Boris Bade­n­ov of Rocky & Bull­win­kle, is fea­tured as San­ta Claus himself.)

Here are the full lyrics:

Frosty the Snowman
Writ­ten by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson
Orig­i­nal­ly sung by Gene Autry & The Cass Coun­ty Boys
Released Decem­ber 14, 1950

Frosty the snow­man was a jol­ly hap­py soul
With a corn­cob pipe & a but­ton nose
& two eyes made out of coal
Frosty the snow­man is a fairy­tale they say
He was made of snow but the children
know how he came to life one day
There must have been some mag­ic in that
old silk hat they found
For when they placed it on his head
he began to dance around

Frosty the snowman
was alive as he could be
& the chil­dren say he could laugh
& play just the same as you& me
Thumpi­ty thump thump
thumpi­ty thump thump
Look at Frosty go
Thumpi­ty thump thump
thumpi­ty thump thump
Over the hills of snow

Frosty the snow­man knew
the sun was hot that day
So he said
Let’s run &
we’ll have some fun
now before I melt away
Down to the village
with a broom­stick in his hand
Run­ning here & there all
around the square saying
Catch me if you can
He led them down the streets of town
right to the traf­fic cop
& he only paused a moment when
he heard him holler “Stop!”
For Frosty the snow man
had to hur­ry on his way
But he waved good­bye saying
Don’t you cry
I’ll be back again some day
thumpi­ty thump thump
thumpi­ty thump thump
Look at Frosty go
thumpi­ty thump thump
thumpi­ty thump thump
Over the hills of snow

If you want to watch the 1969 ani­mat­ed short, click on Frosty’s hat:


I wish all of you, my loy­al sub­scribers, vis­i­tors, and amper­sand fans around the world, a warm and won­der­ful hol­i­day season…
except for Frosty — a jol­ly freez­ing cold one for him & his corn cob pipe & but­ton nose.

 Note on design: 

I fre­quent­ly have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to apply my for­mu­la for “aha!” design, which is luck + tal­ent = damn good design. Take a look at the lyrics in Corn Cob Pipe & But­ton Nose. There is at least one “o” in each line! That gave me the idea to use Frosty’s body for each “o.” Though it appears there might be miss­ing or hid­den let­ters, they’re all there. We (Frosty & I) have just turned every “o” into a snowball.


Production notes for Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Typographic styling: There are no letters missing or hidden by Frosty’s body. Each “O” is rendered as one of his snowballs.
Font: KB The End Is Broken
Ampersand: the finest wool, of course
Images for Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose:
Snowflake background: psd​graph​ics​.com (hundreds of free hi-​rez images)
Top hat: cli​partbest​.com

#1 Art & Design

#1 Art & Design

#1 Art & Design
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing and framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

This is the piece that launched AmperArt: #1 Art & Design.

It was cre­at­ed as a post­card con­cept to show­case my graph­ic design tal­ent — specif­i­cal­ly con­cept, lay­out, let­ter­ing, typog­ra­phy & exe­cu­tion — to agen­cies & mar­ket­ing departments.

AmperArt Issues

I nev­er did com­mence that post­card cam­paign, but did post the first few designs on an ear­ly blog.* After receiv­ing a lot of pos­i­tive com­ments I real­ized there are a lot of amper­sand fans out there (I call them amper­fans) so decid­ed to cre­ate more of these lay­outs, each fea­tur­ing “the amper­sand as fun & fab­u­lous art,” as the slo­gan now pro­fess­es. After more exhuber­ant response, I cre­at­ed a web­site ded­i­cat­ed just to the amper­sand, Amper​Art​.com, vow­ing to cre­ate & release one Amper­Art design per month. I keep all the orig­i­nal art­work safe­ly in a “dig­i­tal vault” so it can be repro­duced at its orig­i­nal size, usu­al­ly 20″ x 30″, should any­one ever ask for a large giclee to hang on their wall, or if I ever get the crazy urge to exhib­it the Amper­Art col­lec­tion in a gallery. For now, though, each cre­ation is for­mat­ted into an 11″ x 17″ poster, issued free with each release. The files are high res­o­lu­tion, suit­able for gallery-​quality print­ing. Here are some print­ing & fram­ing ideas.

Concept for #1 Art & Design

The idea behind #1 Art & Design is to rep­re­sent the fun­da­men­tal shapes & col­ors in art: “art” is spelled with cir­cles, tri­an­gles & squares (actu­al­ly a cropped rec­tan­gle and a 4‑sided trape­zoid for added inter­est). The col­ors are pri­maries and sec­on­daries, with neu­trals for the type and back­ground. The word “design” is sim­ply what I do best in the world of design: set type. I chose Hel­veti­ca, as it is not only been the most com­mon sans-​serif fam­i­ly for decades, it is tru­ly beau­ti­ful in its sim­plic­i­ty and mod­ern struc­ture, espe­cial­ly in the hands of a pro­fes­sion­al typog­ra­ph­er (no exam­ple of that here except in darn good kern­ing). Com­ple­ment­ing Hel­veti­ca is anoth­er mod­ern type­style of the serif vari­ety, Cen­tu­ry School­book. Why are the shapes not giv­en a dimen­sion­al shad­ow effect (which would seem to be a giv­en)? Because the amper­sand is the star of the show!

AmperArt: shorten that name

Amper­Art start­ed as “Ordi­nary Phras­es & Amper­sands Extra­or­di­naire” — in short, com­mon phras­es with an amper­sand in the mid­dle. That will be the for­mat I fol­low for my month­ly series, to be ren­dered & issued until I can no longer push a pen­cil or paint a pix­el. Kind of a long url, don’t you think? So I came up with Amper­Art. (AmpArt is short­er and cool­er but it sounds like an inked up sound sys­tem; plus I think it was taken.)

I have also cre­at­ed a few oth­er pieces which are not phras­es, such as Amper­ma­tions (shown here). Even­tu­al­ly I may design a line of greet­ing cards (fea­tur­ing the amper­sand, of course), appar­el (prob­a­bly just T‑shirts), jew­el­ry, & cre­ate objets d’ amper­art for sale on the web­site & per­haps in gift shops. I’d like to pro­mote oth­er artists & design­ers, too — as long as their work con­tains an ampersand.

But for now, Amper­Art is just a free month­ly dose of “the amper­sand as fun & fab­u­lous art.” I hope you res­onate with one of these pieces every so often, whether in top­ic, style, col­or, or sto­ry. Or maybe you’ll enjoy every sin­gle one, sim­ply because you’re a fun & fab­u­lous “amper­fan.”

*Art & Design is not my actu­al first con­cept lead­ing up to Amper­Art; that was Sun­ny & Hot, pub­lished June 23, 2011 on my per­son­al blog (defunct) before I turned the con­cept of “fea­tur­ing the amper­sand as fun & fab­u­lous art” into a series. It was fol­lowed by Black & White (the basis of most visu­al ideas), then Red White & Blue (for Inde­pen­dence Day). Art & Design was then cre­at­ed as a “title piece” to intro­duce the new ongo­ing project called Amper­Art & its web­site, Amper​Art​.com. I renum­bered the first sev­er­al works for logis­tics rea­sons. Art & Design was actu­al­ly the third or fourth design I cre­at­ed in the series. My first cre­ation, Sun­ny & Hot, was inspired by a very hot day in the begin­ning of sum­mer way back in 2011. It is assigned #6 in the series.

National Ampersand Day


After sub­mit­ting a request to Nation​al​Day​Cal​en​dar​.com, I am proud to announce Amper­sand Day is offi­cial. At my sug­ges­tion, it is observed on Sep­tem­ber 8 of each year. I chose that date because most of the let­ters & the numer­al 8 can be twist­ed (with a bit of cre­ative license) into an amper­sand. Here’s a list of ideas how you can cel­e­brate Nation­al Amper­sand Day. Let me know if you can think of others.

chaz sez ...

I think I’ll have to send out those Amper­Art post­cards as orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed, to mar­ket my tal­ent to the agen­cies and cor­po­ra­tions which rec­og­nize and hire the work of a pro­fes­sion­al design­er. Late­ly I’ve been find­ing it more dif­fi­cult to find work over the Inter­net, com­pet­ing with crap agen­cies such as Elance and Upwork, who attract bargain-​basement clients and ama­teur “design­ers.”

The com­put­er is a boon in the cre­ative realm: no more inky logos; no more wait­ing for velox­es and stats; the abil­i­ty to kern my own typog­ra­phy; direct-​to-​press effi­cien­cy; and free, instan­ta­neous deliv­ery of art­work over the Inter­net instead of expen­sive couri­er services.

On the oth­er hand, where it seemed mag­i­cal to cater to clients half way around the world in real time (even if it meant set­ting the alarm clock for 3 a.m.) the Inter­net is now invit­ing com­pe­ti­tion from third-​world coun­tries. I am now com­pet­ing with “design­ers” whose work is sub-​par and whose rates are as low as $1 per hour. No exag­ger­a­tion. The worst part is that the clients that hire these ama­teurs don’t know any dif­fer­ence; the price is so attrac­tive they don’t real­ize it’s hurt­ing their brand’s image and credibility.

Most of my pro­pos­al writ­ing these days is spent demon­strat­ing the dif­fer­ence between mediocre and accept­able design (let alone stel­lar design) and try­ing to con­vey the val­ue of per­ceived qual­i­ty, whether on a con­cious or sub­con­cious lev­el. Here’s a com­pi­la­tion of hor­ren­dous logos pro­duced by one of the “pro­fes­sion­al design firms” on these online “cre­ative” agencies.

Off to buy some post­card stamps…

Production notes for #1 Art & Design:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Helvetica, Century Schoolbook
Ampersand: Century Schoolbook

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!