"The dark horse of the keyboard, the ampersand exists to join things together, yet remains set apart. Whilst everyone can read and understand the ampersand, or the & symbol, how many of us know where it came from?
Alistair Sooke traces the history of the funny little character that has quietly given joy to so many, from a bored medieval scribe right the way through to a modern day digital font designer. Delighting type designers throughout the centuries as a chance within a font to create a small piece of art, it is a joyful moment in a functional resource. Speaking to Ampersfans Alastair enters into a world of letterpress, punchcutting and typography and discovers how the ampersand can be found at every step of the way, bringing a joyful flick of a tail to the dullest document.
If you thought the ampersand was a bright young thing in the world of type, you couldn't be more wrong; first credited to Marcus Tiro around 63 BC, combing the letters e and t from the Latin word 'et'. Fighting off competition from his nemesis, the 'Tironian Mark', Alastair then tracks the ampersand to 16th Century Paris where it was modelled in the hands of type designer to the King, Claude Garamond, then back across the sea to William Caslon's now famous interpretation, designed with a joyful array of flourishes and swirls. Alastair will discover how the ampersand became a calling card for many typographers, showcasing some of their best and most creative work.
A simple twist of the pen, the ampersand has managed to captivate its audience since print began, in Ampersfan Alistair tries to pin down this slippery character down once and for all."
(BBC Radio 4 Programmes, 2012)
Alistair Sooke (2012). "Ampers-Fan", Producer: : Jo Meek & Gillian Donovan, A Sparklab Production for BBC Radio 4, Last broadcast on Monday, 16:00 on BBC Radio 4.
"To me watching the films of Jean-Luc Godard is like watching a white Rauschenberg painting or listing to John Cage's '4:33': it isn't something I do for entertainment. They're historically significant because he broke all the rules in the book, but I just don't enjoy watching them. Since I only add titles from films I've seen myself there weren't many Godard films present in the Movie title stills collection.
On december 3rd, Atelier Carvalho Bernau released a free typeface to celebrate Godard's 80th birthday. The typeface was inspired by the title sequences of Godard's 'Made in U.S.A' (1966) and '2 ou 3 choses que je sais d'elle' (1967). When I started googling I found surprisingly few stills or videos from Godard's films, that's why I decided to add the most interesting ones to the Movie title stills collection.
I've located almost all films from the earlier part of Godard's career and took all stills containing typography: titles from the opening title sequences, intertitles and end ('Fin') titles. Like silent films Godard used lots of intertitles, which make his films much more typographic than other films from the '60s and 70's.
It's quite interesting to see the designs evolve. In this digital age it's refreshing to see type that isn't made on a computer: the imperfect and handmade look of the letterforms, the bad kerning, the large gaps between letters and words, the justified blocks of text, the awkwardly dotted capital I's. Even when he used an existing typeface - like Antique Olive in 'Week end' (1967) - the letterforms look as if they were cut out with an Exacto knife.
Sauve qui peut (la vie) (1980) is the last film featuring custom typefaces. In his later films Godard used existing typefaces like Futura, Univers, Helvetica and Garamond."
(Christian Annyas, 16 December 2010)