#160 LGBTQ&

My parents were told that I was mentally retarded.

I don’t know if it was the fam­i­ly doc­tor or the school coun­selor, but they def­i­nite­ly said I was men­tal­ly retard­ed (back when that term was acceptable).

I walked retarded-​like, as if I was going to fall over & I did not like play­ing sports (I was even afraid of the dodge ball) & I doo­dled & stared out the win­dow in class.

My dad would not stand for what he was told! He demand­ed a sec­ond opinion.

That expert said that I walked fun­ny because I was born with a sway back. He got me doing some exer­cis­es to cor­rect it. (I still don’t have the best pos­ture but peo­ple don’t laugh at me any­more.) He said I sim­ply don’t like sports. I’d rather be think­ing and draw­ing, which is why I stared out the win­dow and doo­dled. (Lat­er on that doo­dling turned into let­ter­ing & graph­ic design, but I do still over­think my lay­outs and logos…or maybe not.)

Point is, I know how it feels to be con­sid­ered dif­fer­ent. I was ridiculed, always picked last for sports (did­n’t mind that one bit), and was con­sid­ered the school nerd. I was dif­fer­ent and knew it. I had to deal with it. 

That’s why I am empa­thet­ic to any­one who is dif­fer­ent and has to deal with it. Among oth­ers, that includes the LGBTQ& com­mu­ni­ty which cel­e­brates their “dif­fer­ent­ness” every June — with pride.

June is LGBTQ& Pride Month 

That’s LGBTQ& for amper­sand fans. For every­one else it’s LGBTQ+ but it means the same exact thing. The plus sign is a just a sim­pli­fied amper­sand — see?

plus sign is just a stripped down ampersand

This Amper­Art piece was orig­i­nal­ly cre­at­ed in May or June 2020, but I got so involved in select­ing & posi­tion­ing the let­ters of the acronym, & then spend­ing lots of time research­ing the ori­gin of the flag & oth­er his­to­ry about LGBTQ&, along with relat­ed ter­mi­nol­o­gy, facts & feel­ings, that I told myself “to be con­tin­ued next year.” 

Then in 2021 I dis­cov­ered all sorts of new acronyms (includ­ing LGBTQIA& which is com­mon today, but also extend­ed ver­sions such as LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA+) & a whole slew of gen­der icons (take a look at the back­ground of the art­work), think­ing I need­ed to start over with design. But I liked my orig­i­nal art­work, how every­thing fit, & the fact it was a spec­trum of exact­ly six col­ors, same as the cur­rent LGBTQ& flag. So what to do? After heavy con­sid­er­a­tion I had the “aha” idea: Leave the main art­work alone, but add the var­i­ous gen­der icons to the back­ground. (I chose from what appeared to be an author­i­ta­tive source. If any­one wants to sug­gest more or dif­fer­ent icons I’ll glad­ly con­sid­er mod­i­fy­ing the back­ground pat­tern. I feel it’s impor­tant to be rep­re­sent­ed accu­rate­ly & respect­ful­ly. Just leave a comment.) 

Well, you guessed it: it took awhile to make those revi­sions, then to write about them & what each sym­bol means, so half-​way into June 2021 I once again shelved this piece until this month, LGBTQ& Pride Month 2022. I got back to work on the edi­to­r­i­al in mid-​May so it could be released as my May 2022 Amper­Art (which it was, today the 30th). Prob­lem was I still had the sto­ry to write & a ton of ref­er­ence mate­r­i­al to sort through, and that would take days.

History of the Flag

The orig­i­nal con­cept for the LGBT flag, designed by Gilbert Bak­er in 1978.

Picture now & 1000 words later

A pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words, they say, so I’ve decid­ed to post the pic­ture now — the final Amper­Art design #160 LGBTQ& — & con­tin­ue adding to this sto­ry as I write about each topic:

  • (post­ed 5/​30/​22) My empa­thy with those who are “not main­stream,” because I’ve always been a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than my peers (even diag­nosed as men­tal­ly retard­ed, when that term was polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect). I’m straight, but I have a lot of gay (& oth­er gen­ders, I’m sure) friends & tru­ly enjoy their com­pa­ny. I under­stand what it’s like to be con­sid­ered “dif­fer­ent.”
  • (post­ed 6/​15/​22) The his­to­ry of the first Rain­bow Flag, which is inter­est­ing & a bit amus­ing why it had to be changed slightly. 
  • The grad­ual accep­tance lead­ing up to — final­ly — the Supreme Court “affirm­ing that every human being should be treat­ed with respect & dignity.”
  • A look at the oth­er sexual-​orientation terms & icons.
  • Final­ly, my one & only rant against the LGBTQ& com­mu­ni­ty, which has to do with my spe­cial­ty, brand identity.

I can’t promise when I’ll get to these top­ics — this June or Pride Month next June, or some­where in between. But the issue & the peo­ple are impor­tant to me, so I will keep adding to the arti­cle right here. I will also send out a newslet­ter at the con­clu­sion of each topic.

The orig­i­nal con­cep­tu­al devel­op­ment for Amper­Art #160 LGBTQ&, 2020

Production notes for #160 LGBTQ&:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Programs: Adobe Illustrator
L: Benguiat Charisma
G: Dyer Arts & Crafts
B: Monoton
T: Poppl Residenz & Rockwell (modified)
Q: (custom)
Ampersand: Palatino (modified)
Background image: deposit​pho​tos​.com (modified)
Original flag reference: https://​myfopin​ion​.word​press​.com/​2​0​1​9​/​0​6​/​2​3​/​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​p​r​i​d​e​-​f​l​ag/
Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
Original flag reference:https://myfopinion.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/history-of-the-pride-flag/
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, design­er & typog­ra­ph­er, is the cre­ator of Amper­Art & 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 & his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophis­ti­cat­ed, log­i­cal, cap­ti­vat­ing results. Con­tact him at chaz@​desimonedesign.​com.

Thank you for sub­scrib­ing to Chaz’s per­son­al design project, Amper­Art. Please invite your friends — those who are fans of the fun & fab­u­lous amper­sand — to sub­scribe at amper​art​.com.

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#2 Red White & Blue

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#2 Red White & Blue
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.

If you wish to comment (and I hope you do) please comment here.

Flag Day’s 100th Anniversary

American-Flag-Waving large free

June 14, 2016 cel­e­brates the 100th Anniver­sary of Flag Day (Unit­ed States), which was estab­lished by Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son in 1916. Flag Day com­mem­o­rates the adop­tion of the flag of the Unit­ed States, which occurred June 14th, 1777 by res­o­lu­tion of the Sec­ond Con­ti­nen­tal Congress.

Red White & Blue is the sec­ond Amper­Art piece I cre­at­ed, way back in 2011. I don’t know if it was influ­enced by Flag Day or the 4th of July. I don’t even recall the con­cept behind the art­work (was the amper­sand sup­posed to resem­ble a char­ac­ter from an old parch­ment doc­u­ment?). Regard­less, I recent­ly dis­cov­ered it was nev­er offi­cial­ly released. So here is Amper­Art #2, Red White & Blue — final­ly unveiled on the 100th anniver­sary of Flag Day.

Clever concept, clashing colors

I have sev­er­al opin­ions about the design of the Amer­i­can flag — from a con­cep­tu­al stand­point, to a col­or stand­point, to a brand­ing stand­point. In order to get this “lost art” pub­lished today, Flag Day, I’ll save those com­ments for lat­er, & will add them to this arti­cle right here (& let you know when that hap­pens, if you sub­scribe to Amper​Art​.com).

But one thing I must state now, because it is fas­ci­nat­ing to me as a design­er, is the dynam­ic nature of the flag’s design, evolv­ing as the nation grows; & how clev­er­ly the stars have been (near­ly impos­si­bly) arranged to accom­mo­date the ever-​increasing num­ber of states. I applaud the clev­er­ness of each iter­a­tion. (I won­der if Bet­sy planned on that.)

38_stars2Here is a com­plete chart of the flag’s iter­a­tions. Quite inter­est­ing are the 1837 “Great Star Flag,” the star con­fig­u­ra­tions for the years 1847, 1877, & the 1890 43-​star flag which must have caused the design­er to pull out some hair. The next year, 44 stars, was most cer­tain­ly a wel­come sim­ple challenge.

Plan­ning for the future, you can also see the 51-​star flag if a new state is added (hmm…who would that be? Could there be a par­cel of land some­where in the shape of an ampersand?)


I pledge alle­giance to the flag of the 
Unit­ed States of America 
and to the Repub­lic for which it stands, 
one Nation under God, indivisible, 
with lib­er­ty and jus­tice for all.

The Pledge of Alle­giance, writ­ten by Fran­cis Bel­lamy, a bap­tist min­is­ter,  was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in The Youth’s Com­pan­ion on Sep­tem­ber 8, 1892. In its orig­i­nal form it read:

I pledge alle­giance to my Flag 
and the Repub­lic for which it stands, 
one nation, indivisible, 
with lib­er­ty and jus­tice for all.

Note there is no ref­er­ence to Amer­i­ca nor to God. Bel­lamy antic­i­pat­ed that the pledge would be used by any coun­try, not just the Unit­ed States.

In 1923 – 24 “my flag” was changed to “the flag of the Unit­ed States” & in 1924 “of Amer­i­ca” was added (so immi­grant chil­dren would know which flag they were saluting).

In 1942, the pledge’s 50th anniver­sary, Con­gress adopt­ed it as part of a nation­al flag code. Some state leg­is­la­tures required school stu­dents to recite the pledge. In 1943 that require­ment was dropped, as some reli­gious groups were not allowed to idol­ize a such a symbol.

On June 14, 1954, Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­how­er signed the bill approv­ing the words “under God.”

Bel­lamy went on to become an adver­tis­ing executive.

Read more about the Pledge of Alle­giance, includ­ing the debate over the words “under God,” at Smith​son​ian​.com, which pro­vid­ed the above his­tor­i­cal information.

If you wish to comment (and I hope you do) please comment here.

Flag Day is everyday (somewhere)

June 14 is Flag Day in Amer­i­ca. I’m sure all or most oth­er coun­tries have des­ig­nat­ed days to cel­e­brate their flags. Flags in gen­er­al are mean­ing­ful, col­or­ful, sym­bol­ic & fun. So here is a com­pi­la­tion of the world’s flags to enjoy as a piece of art in itself, also to give hope that we can all live in har­mo­ny someday:


If you wish to comment (and I hope you do) please comment here.

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.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 #2 Red White & Blue:
Original size: 10x15 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: unknown
Ampersand: Custom design by Chaz DeSimone
Flag against sky: stock
38-​star flag: UShis​to​ry​.org
Flags of the world: GraphicStock
You may repost the image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!