You've seen it come between the famous dynamic duo Batman & Robin, and the infamous couple Bonnie & Clyde. Adolescents carve it into their desktops between two names to signify undying love.
But what exactly is this strange-looking symbol called an ampersand? And why would a leading design firm choose it as their name?
The '&' symbol itself was devised over 2000 years ago by Cicero's secretary, Marcus Tullius Tiro, as a cursive, one-stroke form of the Latin work for et, which means and.
As for the word ampersand, the answer may seem a bit surprising. Coined in 1835, it's an alteration of the phrase "& per se and," read "and per se and." Literally, this means "the character '&' by itself is the word 'and'."
Today, the & symbol is incorporated into the design of every new font and is part of every existing Roman alphabet. When creating a new typeface, a designer can inject his own artistic flair into the ampersand character.
So, why did this design firm choose an & as its name?
Well, we could make up some elaborate story about how this symbol helped our agency founder save some underprivileged country. But let's be serious. Put simply, during his college days, our fearless leader liked the design of the symbol in a particular font. The font is called Caslon, and it's been used in some of our nation's important documents such as the Declaration of Independence.
William Caslon, the font's creator, was a lover of music. With the Ampersand, he wanted to evoke feelings of fluidity and make it look like a G-clef. And that's what our agency founder fell in love with when he first began working with design.
It's the simplicity of the symbol he admired then, and still does today: how one simple character was created to communicate so much. It's the reason for our name. And it's the philosophy by which we live and work everyday.
The Declaration of Independence set in what was then America's most popular typeface: Caslon.