Ligatures

Ligatures. Until last week in typography class, I had no idea what that word meant. It’s one of those things that is seen everywhere, but you don’t know what it’s called. “Ligatures are two or more characters linked together as one unit. The ampersand is a ligature originated as a letter combination for the French word et (“and”) in medieval manuscripts.” (Carter 33) I must also admit that until last week, I didn’t know where the ampersand came from either. Self-professed dork that I thought it was really interesting.

Ligatures are most unique and interesting (in my humble opinion) when found in logo design. I am fascinated by logos that have letters and characters that effortlessly flow into one another, yet still have readability. I’ve often wondered how designers were able to manipulate certain typefaces to create ligatures. After the past few days of tracing letters and typefaces for Project 2, I now know. It takes just that…several days of putting together similar points or parts of letters and characters (and 50+ thumbnails doesn’t hurt either). After spending hours studying two or three different typefaces and each specific character for this project, I am amazed at the peculiarities of each typeface. How similar each letter is to one another, yet how different the lower case and upper case can be from each other. I’m beginning to look at type from a whole different perspective. That’s cliché, I know.

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