Designers have had a love affair with the ampersand for ages. It's the most beautiful shape of all the typed letters, numbers and punctuation. It doesn't judge, it just includes everyone and everything. It is the friendliest glyph on the keyboard.
But what is it exactly?
It is a representation for the Latin word "et" which means "and". The shape of the ampersand originated with the letters E and T being combined to form one symbol.
Where did the name come from?
Traditionally, in English-speaking schools when the alphabet was recited, after the letter Z was the phrase "and per se and" meaning "and [the symbol which] by itself [is] and". This last phrase was slurred to "ampersand". The term stuck and has been used since the mid 1830s.
How can I use it?
The phrase "you & me" using a beautiful ampersand is charming for cards and scrapbook layouts.
Use an ampersand to join two names together for a wedding card or a wall hanging above a family picture.
Scale the ampersand large and use one or both of the loops as a frame for a picture of people who are together.
Make a valentine card with an ampersand and a heart on the outside, on the inside write a phrase like "and that's all we need to keep you & me together."
Here are some of our favorite ampersand fonts, also used in the image above.