Monday, 30 May 2011

Public domain reading


Reading is an instinctive habit, bordering on the subliminal. Advertising, by its very nature, takes advantage of this. Everywhere one goes in a city, a person is reading all the time. It is not just the noise of a city that is tiring, not just the hustling pavement, the on-again, off-again of lights and heaving traffic. It is all the reading that one has to do.


Reading is interpreting marks on a myriad of surfaces. And nowadays, not just the marks themselves but the font those marks are printed in. Take the noble 'ampersand'.

I was stooging around waiting for 4pm one day last week, when the Angus & Coote ampersand font sowed the seed for this post. Beautiful, isn't it? And Wikipaedia tells me that this mark is a ligature of the letters 'et' which ingratiated itself into the English language around 1837. Interesting the use of around to describe such a specific year.

Here are a few 'and per se and's in assorted fonts.

15 comments:

~Cheryl said...

An "e" and "t" --- for some reason this strikes me as so profound. I just didn't know, but now, it's very clear. However, my mind read "Angus" and pictured cows; and "Coote" I read as cootie. Good thing I have one more day off before heading back to work, eh?

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful ampersands, Julie. Some others are so stylized they're indecipherable at a glance, so would hardly help anyone trying to attract public attention at an almost subliminal level.
Our internet is down until Wednesday, so Dick and I are both at the public library. I'm trying to comment on the posts by bloggers I consider friends, which list, of course, includes you, but if I miss anything, you'll know why.
-- K

Winsome said...

I've been reading a book called 'The Practice of Contemplative Photography' - basically about how mindful photography lets you see the world in a different way. This would appear to be a perfect example. Lovely.

Windsmoke. said...

I've been an avid reader of novels, magazines, newspapers all my life, but kids today seem not to be interested in reading a good novel. They've always got there faces glued to there mobile phones or computers. There's nothing like holding a good book in between your hands you can't beat it :-).

Julie said...

Winsmoke, I can understand where you are coming from ... but ...

Firstly, it is not just 'kids today' who don't read novels.

Then, when people are on their computer, how are we to know what they read. My daughter reads the 'New Yorker' on-line. I read all my newspapers online.

I, too, love the feel and the smell of a book, and hesitate to buy a kindle. However, when overseas, carting 5 or 6 books is probitive, whereas a gadget is easier.

I stand up for 'kids today' ... some of them. Probably about the same proportion as of my generation ...

I do stand up for reading, and suspect that MORE of that goes on today than in the past.

brattcat said...

& furthermore...a gorgeous and provocative post.

uncertainhorizon said...

You know you just don't think about these things until they are pointed out.

Ann said...

I had no idea but now that I do know has see its origins in some of your ampersands.

J Bar said...

Great collection of them.

Joe said...

I often wondered about the origins of the ampersand and now I know. Thanks Julie. Now I wonder why it is called an "ampersand". Such a strange word.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I laughed at this because nearly every document that passes by my desk (and there are heaps of them because it is my current job to get them branded designed etc) has &s sprayed throughout and I go through and turn them all into 'and". Drives me batty.

But in some cases it is part of the name, as in Angus and Coote and they look good when designed with flair.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

& there you go... Your perspectives as always (together with your photos) are enlightening! I am a voracious reader and do not have an electronic reader.

Bises,
Genie

diane b said...

I've learned a new word "ampersand". I have never noticed before how good is the Angus & Coote ampersand. I agree how busy one gets reading the visual pollution in cities. Funny thing is not everyone is a reader like us. BB can walk the same walk as me and not read a thing.

Gunn said...

Interesting and aesthetically pleasing post you have here:)

Julie said...

I appreciate your kind words, Gunn, and also your visit.