Just curious. Why do we have & as a site logo?

Yeah, I know that the site is about two things: both language and usage. But still, there are other SE sites with "and" in their names too and they don't have ampersands.

Besides, an ampersand is actually a French word, really. "Et".

  • 8
    Well, et is actually a Latin word, and ampersand is an English word. Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 17:13
  • I see. That doesn't explain much though.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 17:15
  • 10
    That's why I put it in a comment. Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 17:17
  • 2
    If you can think of a better symbol to graphically represent the English language, I'd love to hear the suggestion. (The answer might be little more than, "Nobody could think of anything better.") It's never been much of an enigma to me; it's an English symbol, and a rather cool one at that. Part calligraphy, part language, and very concise ~ plus, some of them (depending on the font), resemble an upper-case E, such as the one used as our logo. (I've always surmised that resemblance was deliberate, but that could be an erroneous assumption on my part.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 20:04
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    I'd guess that it's because the ampersand character in the (really terrific) font used in the primary logo so emphatically recalls its "literal" origin in "E", which is the intial letter of "English" -- but I wasn't around at the time. Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 20:04
  • According to this question the designer was Alex Charchar , who has a blog here; if you don't get an answer here, maybe you could get one there. Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 21:56
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    And @cornbreadninja reports, in an answer to this question, that the ampersand is drawn from a different font than the rest of the logo. Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 0:01
  • Actually? Really? It's a recognized thing to English readers and a common replacement/abbreviation for 'and'. What exactly is the problem with it?
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 1:50
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    "Ampersand, ist ein Ersatzzeichen für das Wort und (lat. et)." [de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Et-Zeichen] The ampersand is not exclusively owned by the English language. To that extent, "&" and English do not necessarily have a one-on-one relationship.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


Here's Baskerville's italic ampersand symbol, which is insanely popular around the web these days, as per cornbread ninja's answer linked to by StoneyB's comment above.

As font symbols go, I think it's rather "sexy" - & it looks a lot more like an E than that feeble effort! So although I wasn't around to vote on the matter when ELU was a mere sprog of a beta, if I had have been I would have done! It's neat!

enter image description here

  • 2
    I was around during beta, and while the design as a whole was presented for critique before it went live, it's not like we had a vote and decided, "hey, let's use an ampersand as our site logo!" Instead, that was simply a part of the design, and since nobody objected, they went with it. Personally, I love how it's a multipurpose symbol: when the title is written out, it serves as a shorthand for "and", and when it's used on its own, it's a fancy 'E'.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 5:25
  • @Marthaª: I don't suppose every aspect of each site's "look and feel" is discussed and "decided upon" by all users during the beta phase. Presumably if many people had said they didn't like the ampersand, it would have been changed. But whoever implemented it must have made a conscious decision to use that one character from a different font, and it seems like if/when we look at it, most of us agree his choice. So he'd probably have been a bit disappointed if you'd rejected it at the time - he may even be a bit disappointed that he wasn't specifically praised for making a good call! Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 14:26

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