Paul Mathis is an Australian restauranteur known for his many original eating ideas, including vegetarian offering Soul Mama, sustainable seafood establishment SOS, and locally grown 100 Mile Cafe. Now he’s turning his attention to typography, or at least trying to create a new symbol for the word “the”.
Acknowledged as the most commonly used word in the English language, it’s a word that Mathis feels could be made more convenient when it comes to texting and other forms of shortened communication.
The idea came from the fact “and” has it’s own symbol in the form of the ampersand (&), which ranking only fifth made him ask why the most common word in the English language hasn’t been given its own yet.
It’s quite a departure from his usual realm of business, where he has built an empire encompassing 10 businesses. Regardless, he has invested about $75,000 of his own money in it so far.
You can see the new symbol in the picture above. Effectively, a ligature created for the letters “T” and “h” so they take up less space and more importantly, characters.
Currently available through Google Play, Mathis has had trouble getting his app into the Apple store, something he feels would result in more people getting involved. While he’s aware it’s unlikely to change the world, he feels his creation would at least make things a little bit easier for people using the app.