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Series: tattoos, Series: typography

Typography &Tattoos

So, I’m a major geek. This may not come as much of a shock to you, considering I have a blog about books, things related to books, type, words, writing, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (quick – 10 points for naming that movie!), but I am.
How much of a geek am I? I watched the documentary film Helvetica (about the font) on a date and loved it. (Granted the date was with a librarian, which really should get me more geek points, but you get the idea. She loved the movie, too.)
Honestly, though, I highly recommend checking out both the film and the soundtrack. Since I’ve seen the film, I’ve spoken with others, some younger (20s), some older (older than 20s), who have loved it. If you live in the area, Pleasant Street Video in Northampton has it.

Now, the point really is that watching this movie reminded me of my love for (of? – correct grammar?) fonts, which in turn reminded me of my love for (of?) punctuation. That particular love was fostered by the best-selling Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (which, if you haven’t read, is fabulous, hilarious, and will probably make you love punctuation, too; or at the very least will clarify some points that may have been bugging you – with or without your knowledge – for most of your life).

Remembering my love of (for?)
punctuation made me remember my desire to get a punctuation-inspired tattoo. I’ve recently gotten my first tattoo and am showing all signs of becoming an addict. This sounds more frightening than it really is. It took me about 5 years to get the first tattoo; 3 of those years were spent in the actual planning/design phase.

So, I’m wracking my brain for what kind of punctuation tattoo I might want. A period? No, that could be mistaken for a freckle *ahem*excuse me, beauty mark, so that’s out. Same with a colon, a semi-colon, ellipses, comma, even the dash and parenthesis. None of these are unique enough to be recognized as what they are when not used as actual punctuation. So, which – the exclamation point? the question mark? Too much of a statement. The statement is the tattoo itself, not some deeper meaning behind the punctuation. An exclamation point could mean I take life in this EXCITED!!! and CONSISTENTLY JOVIAL!!! sort of way. A question mark could mean I am constantly questioning, theorizing, testing the waters, forever asking what is the meaning of life? Not that I don’t feel, act, and do all of those things on occasion, but that’s not really the message I want to be sending to those who see the tattoo.

Then, in a flash of staggering genius (10 points for naming the title of the book I got that from), it came to me. The Ampersand. The and (&) sign. Perfectly designed, perfectly proportioned, perfectly a statement and not a statement, perfectly perfect.

And so, the hunt is on for the most perfect ampersand sign to get tattooed.

Herein lies another problem, one with which I could use your help. Do I go fancy or plain? I want to get the tattoo right below, partially in, really, my hairline on the right side of the back of my neck, sort of behind my ear, but not too close, more toward the back of my head, but not in the middle of the back of my neck.

Picturing it yet? Let me know if you are.
I’d love to have your advice.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Typography &Tattoos

  1. The King and I was a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, wouldn't you say? I love the thought of an ampersand tattoo, both the physical design of one and as well as the subtext. Well, I guess in this case the subtext is literally the subcutaneous tissue, but you know what I mean,

    Posted by Emily Crowe | February 7, 2009, 3:32 pm
  2. 20 points for you!And thank you for reaffirming my idea. While I was putting on socks this morning, I realized I had also wanted to get something tattooed on the inside of my left ankle. Now I'm thinking I don't have to choose just ONE ampersand, I can get TWO! Oh, the possibilities!

    Posted by Rebecca Fabian | February 7, 2009, 3:43 pm
  3. I guess being of the "Older generation", I think of tattoos as being too permanent. For instance when you were 5 and decorated your bedroom in pink and painted princesses on the wall, that was the right thing to do. But what about when you turned 17 and preferred something a little more Goth? Well, heck, you painted over all those lovely pink princesses and made the room over in black. At 29, you decide that Goth is no longer your thing and make it over in a zen style. This all sounds good and right to me. But having to live with the princesses or Goth or Zen on your arm until you die at 93 just seems a bit short sighted.So there you have it, my opinion for the day:)

    Posted by Planet Frugal | February 12, 2009, 6:57 pm
  4. Oddly enough, despite my tattoo plans, I agree! It was a real struggle to get the first – I, who don't even put bumper stickers on my car because my feelings for a particular one may be too temporary, now have a tattoo and am considering more. It's strange how feelings can apply to certain practices and not to others.Lastly, my father (who is of the "Older generation") confessed he preferred the tattoos to the piercings (of which I have 9 – mostly in my ears). Try figuring that out!Thanks for your opinion 🙂

    Posted by Rebecca Fabian | February 12, 2009, 7:18 pm

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