Friday, August 29, 2008


Finally the power of paradox is gaining ground. F. Scott Fitzgerald probably captured the idea best when he suggested that "The ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function is the sign of a first-rate intelligence". Yes, that’s paradox; the insight you get from putting two unlikely ideas together and discounting neither. It’s what I like to call And/And. People who prefer Either/Or are driven crazy by it, but it is the only way I know to keep eyes and options open in challenging times. Sparks often fly but new and exciting stuff roars out of the heat generated.

Why then would I be surprised when not one but two people sent me a great design website all about the ‘and’, or ampersand, as it is officially named? The ampersand has personal meaning for me and everyone who works in our company. It serves as the glue in our name: Saatchi & Saatchi. Over the years we have taken advantage of this famous name and have used it to push our passions - Ideas & Ideas, Possible & Possible. In fact I have always thought of Lovemarks, with their embrace of Mystery and Sensuality and Intimacy, as the way to put the 'and' back into brand. Making brands more interesting, more provocative, more complex, more beautiful.

As part of that story, the ampersand has always seduced designers who have seized its sensually curved shape and odd position somewhere between a word and a punctuation mark, and rushed with it in a thousand directions. You can see some wonderful examples on the Gose Design ampersand site. Ampersands hard at work in industry, entertainment, the inevitable tattoo, holding up books in a bookcase, and of course, advertising. There are many, many sites on the Internet that look closely at the details of our world and this is a good one. Check it out, you’ll Love it & Love it.


Sophee McPhee said...

I'd never considered the ampersand that way before. I love being made aware of the beauty, mystery and magic in things I’ve always taken for granted or overlooked due to regular use.

The ampersand is most definitely a foundation for synergy & insanity through paradox. My mum and I are like ying & yang – complete opposites in almost every way. At times our differences cause us a great deal of angst. However, there are also times when our differences make us a bloody great team – a powerful force to be reckoned with!

And yes, I have the tattoo on my back to prove it:

L & S

Jonathan Gunson said...


Wind up time:

That Ampersand used to be the '&' typeface in the center of the Ogilvy & Mather logo.

Just saying. :-)