The MoBster Diaries

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mastering the Ampersand

A few weeks ago a client specified the use of ampersands when hand-addressing her wedding invitations in keeping with the design of the return address on her envelopes. Elegant Scribbles rarely uses the ampersand on wedding invitations, since we follow the more formal addressing guidelines which require spelling out the word "and," streets/avenues, and state names. I have to admit that I was a little worried about the ampersand request. That little curlicue thingy that substitutes for "and" is something I don't write well.

So I set to work practicing. First I did a little research, checking on all the symbols that can pass as an ampersand, just to see which one I could master in a fluid form of writing. The backward "s" version didn't work for me at all. After attempting writing it over and over for about 10 minutes, it became clear to me that it was never going to leap smoothly off my pen.

I moved on to a version of a backward "3." The trick to this version of the ampersand is in whatever little flourish you add to the basic symbol. The good news is that I managed to master the backward "3" quickly, neatly, fluidly. But which curlicue to add? I practiced several variations and settled on a tiny squiggle at the lower tip of the mark.

The only worry I had was that the bride-to-be might want my ampersand to match the one on her envelope. If it was a backward "s," I was in trouble. I decided not to bring it up to the client until I received the envelopes to address. Imagine my relief when the ampersand printed on the back of the envelope was almost exactly like the one I'd mastered. Whew!

Since that first ampersand request, I've had two other projects that required the use of the symbol - gift tags and place cards. I'm not sure I've really mastered it, but making friends with that little flourish-connector has really come in handy.

So, how's your ampersand today?

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