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This article was written on 06 Dec 2017, and is filed under cultural impact, design, humanity, society, typography.

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Donna Barkess – The Understated Ampersand

Tuesday, 3 April 2018; 6:30pm at The Water Rats, Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross.

The ampersand is arguably the most expressive and versatile of characters,  evolved from the Latin et, meaning ‘and’. It is steeped in history. Donna Barkess is going to celebrate and explore the & and its history over two millenia. Donna is a Designer, Illustrator and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sunderland.

She recently curated a successful exhibition  to celebrate the beauty and versatility of the Ampersand and garnered much fascinating information about that outwardly innocuous and ubiquitous character. ‘And per se and’ was an exhibition which explored the history and evolution of the ampersand, spanning almost 2,000 years, exploring how well 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.

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, the exhibition featured the work of many local and international artists and designers, who submitted pieces of artwork to celebrate the beauty and versatility of the ampersand.

More information can be found at:

Twitter: @DBarkess

Tickets for this event


The Understated Ampersand

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