Donna Barkess, a graphic designer, University of Sunderland senior lecturer and typographer, explores how the ampersand has stood the test of time.
The symbol has been pushed and pulled around artistically by typographers, calligraphers, designers and artists and is everywhere, from company logos to our computer or phone keyboards. It is also an important character in computer coding.
Donna explains: “Arguably the most expressive and versatile of symbols, the ampersand evolved from the Latin et, meaning and. The ampersand is one of the oldest alphabetic abbreviations. By its very nature, history and definition, it is inviting and inclusive.
“Its versatility is astonishing. Whatever the designing of a new font inflicts upon it, the ampersand holds its own. Still recognisable after flourishes are added, or elements of its anatomy pruned back.
“Looking at the ampersand within any font reveals so much about the character of the typeface.”
As well as taking the viewer through the intriguing life and times of the ampersand, Donna has created an exhibition that also features the work of many local and international artists and designers, who have submitted pieces of artwork to celebrate the beauty and versatility of the ampersand.
Donna says: “The work on show is wonderfully diverse. There are pieces generated from a hand-built drawing machine, letterpress experimentations, calligraphic submissions, to name a few.
“So for ampersand lovers, typographers, designers, folks interested in typographic characters, we invite everyone to come and appreciate this big character. It is simply gorgeous!”
‘And per se and’ will be open between Thursday, October 22, and November 12, 2015at the University of Sunderland Design Centre Gallery, City Campus, Chester Road.
For further details, please contact Claire Ould at the Design Centre, on 0191 515 2442.