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The Art of Type and Typography by Mary Jo Krysinski

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06.

Other Typographic Elements

Ligatures

Ligatures are two or more characters that are joined to form a single character. They are meant to replace certain letter pair combinations that space poorly when typeset next to each other, such as fi and fl.

A ligature that has evolved into a glyph itself is the ampersand (&), which is the abbreviation of et, the Latin word for “and.” It is the corruption of the phrase “and per se & (and)” meaning “and intrinsically the word and represented by the symbol &” The writing of it can be traced back to the 1st century A.D. in Roman cursive where the letters e and t were written together to create a ligature. It evolved over the next centuries to what it is today. The illustration below shows this evolution. ...

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