#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.

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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

#103 Long & Short

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)

 

When type is set to resem­ble the mean­ing of the words, it is called a typogram. Parts of this Amper­Art piece fit that descrip­tion: the words “long” & “short.” Oth­er exam­ples are “addddi­tion” and “scrma­beld.”

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, pianopron​to​.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 14 point to 36 points (approx. 12 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 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 #103 Long & Short:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font family: Bodoni
Ampersand: Bodoni Oldface Italic
Credits:
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 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!