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Banana Republic in legal battle over distinctive ampersand

Banana republic
(Image credit: Banana Republic)

Bringing new meaning to the idea of punctuation pedantry, global apparel brand Banana Republic is being sued due to its use of typography. A super-fancy ampersand, to be exact. Pointing the finger is graphic designer and typographer, Moshik Nadav, who says that Banana Republic has been using his typographic property without permission – and on a global scale.

Believe us, we know the importance of the ampersand. With a flourish that can make or break a typeface, the 'and' sign is full of personality and the favourite of many a graphic designer (see our pick of the best ampersands right here). So we're not surprised that Nadav feels protective. But does he have a case?

Ampersand

Nadav's Paris Pro ampersand (left) next to Banana Republic's design (right) (Image credit: Banana Republic/Moshik Nadav Typography LLC)

Nadav owns typography and graphic design business Moshik Nadav Typography LLC, and has previously worked with fashion powerhouses Vogue, Estee Lauder and Harrods (among many others). In his claim, it states that the ampersand is part of his Paris Pro font family. You can see see his ampersand above, next to the all-dressed-up, ready to party Banana Republic version. 

According to Nadav's legal claim, the Gap-owned retailer failed to seek permission to use the ligature before they began using it "in extensive digital marketing and on worldwide social media platforms". Because of the scale of misuse (the legal claim says Banana Republic has 176,000 followers on Twitter and 1.5 million followers on Instagram), Nadav is filing for damages to the tune of $75,000 or more. Whew.

Banana Republic

Banana Republic has used the ligature in far-reaching campaigns (Image credit: Banana Republic)

"No other font or typeface includes the same artistic ligatures and logograms set forth in the Paris Pro FS and Paris Pro Typeface," says Nadav's legal document, which goes on to assert that "Nadav spent countless hours creating and perfecting these artistic ligatures and logograms". So, if true, it's no wonder Nadav feels aggrieved. 

We'll be keeping our eyes firmly on this case. The ampersand was fascinating enough already (in fact, the truth behind it will blow your mind), but add in a legal battle and we're hooked.

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