6

Should the ampersand be on the first or the second line of a title?

Or does it depend on the length of each line?

enter image description here

  • 1
    First one gets my vote, but the ampersand has nothing to do with that choice. The overall length of both lines does. In the first example they are both of near equal length which looks more pleasing to my eyes. – Marjan Venema Mar 3 '13 at 10:29
  • 1
    I read them slightly differently: Fish and Chips vs Fish....and chips – Ben Brocka Mar 4 '13 at 0:04
  • Is it just me? I've got the urge to see both words on one line... – Deer Hunter Mar 4 '13 at 3:04
7

There is a very similar question on Graphic Design - StackExchange, Is ampersand allowed at the beginning of line?, and here is the best answer:

There is a typographic recommendation to place connector words like "and" or "or" at the end of the line, not at the beginning of the new line. This helps to better connect the previous line to the next.

THIS IS A LONG HEADLINE AND
CONTINUES ON LINE TWO

is preferable to

THIS IS A LONG HEADLINE
AND CONTINUES ON LINE TWO

The same logic justifies also placing the ampersand at the end of the line. With an typographic element even more so this is a good practice, as a line starting with a symbol is less good for readability.

THIS IS A LONG HEADLINE &
CONTINUES ON LINE TWO

is preferable to

THIS IS A LONG HEADLINE
& CONTINUES ON LINE TWO

You can also test this by reading the first two sentences and leaving a conscious pause at the line break (where the eye of the reader has to find the next line). You'll notice that the "and" before the pause is more plausible than to end the line, pause, and start reading the new line with "and ...".

Obviously, those rules are not set in stone and always require context sensitive treatment...

  • Note that I, as author of the quoted text, have since amended my answer and actually found a reference that suggests exactly opposite. I do suppose though that in this instance (example given by OP) the choice has to be based on aesthetics, not typography. In the end, this is a design question, not a UX question. – kontur Feb 10 '15 at 10:42
2

Reduce the visual weight of & sign but keep it next to Fish. Something like that;

enter image description here

1

It will depend on the length of the title. You're touching on Widows and orphans, where you end up with one word on their own at the end of a paragraph. Shaun Inmam wrote a WordPress plugin to prevent 'widows' - which he claims are for single words on their own at the end of the line, but Wikipedia calls them orphans:

A word, part of a word, or very short line that appears by itself at the end of a paragraph. Orphans result in too much white space between paragraphs or at the bottom of a page.

However for such a short title it doesn't really apply.

For readability with this you want it on the second line. Given the time delay on switching between lines and reading the words in your head the first is 'fish and ... chips' the second is 'fish ... and chips'. The second is the correct way that you'd say it.

In design terms the first looks better as the lines then have similar length.

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