Ampersands: Working with Text

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The best ampersands for graphics.

9652324_f260When you’re working with text, especially for decorative graphics, the chances are that you have some  beautiful ampersands installed on your computer. Don’t simply use the ampersand that comes with the font you are using – experiment.

Below you’ll see some examples and these will give you some idea of how a couple of words in a basic sans serif font can bring the ordinary to life.


See a few favourites below – in alphabetical order.

Caslon Bold

The ampersand developed from the letters ‘e’ and ‘t’. (‘Et’ means ‘and’ in Latin). You can see this in the Caslon ampersand below. It flows beautifully.9652334_f1024

Courier New

This is very unlike the previous example. This is a very light ampersand with a certain delicacy. It hovers between having an old-style typewriter feel and a modern, crisp look.

Garamond Italic

To me, this is the best of all ampersands. Note that this is the italic version. The regular one is also well-crafted but the italic is perfect for adding flair and movement.


Impact, seen below, is a very no-nonsense ampersand. It’s functional and dominant but also very stable and bold. It has a look that is reminiscent of the nineteen sixties so ideal for nostalgic work.9652380_f1024


See Lithos below. It’s light and airy. The two arcs that make up this ampersand intersect wonderfully. It has a modern look with a strong touch of elegance.9652390_f1024


At first glance, this is rather like the previous example in shape. But you can see that it differs quite a lot – it has much more elegance. If you think that it looks rather as though it should be carved on stone, you’re right.This font  was based on Roman carving.


You can see the origins of the ampersand in this example from Trebuchet. This is a  classical look but also has  a hint of fun.

Enjoy ampersands

Make the most of these beautiful symbols when you are creating graphical text. See some of the fun you can have with them below.



Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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  1. I love ampersands. Weird, I know, but I admire their history, elegance and brevity. My favourite from above is Trajan. It reminds me of someone stretching out in a comfortable chair. Garamond Italic reminds me of a lizard’s head leisurely grabbing an insect and swallowing it down. Thanks for the article; very interesting – and a visual treat.

    • Thank you Colin, it’s good to know that I’m not alone in my love of ampersands! I love your interpretations of what they look like. Don’t you think that the Courier New ampersand looks like a dog begging for a treat?

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