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The story behind Wingdings

Posted by: Jo Briton

Categories: Typography,

Tue, 06 Oct 2015

The font Wingdings has always fascinated me – it’s a font but it’s made up of symbols – what’s that all about?

Created by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes of design studio Bigelow & Holmes, Wingdings was created as a tool for the pre-internet era, providing users with high quality, resizable images that did not take up much space on their hard drives.

In the early '90s, it was one of the first times people realised fonts could break through to the mainstream.

As protégés of legendary designer Hermann Zapf, Bigelow and Holmes drew from Zapf Dingbats and created three fonts—Lucida Icons, Lucida Arrows and Lucida Stars, designed to harmonize with text and similar proportions to Lucida, which they had previously designed. 

The breakthrough came when Microsoft bought the rights to the three fonts in 1990 and combined them into a single font—Wingdings, which was included in a beta test of Windows. The name, Wingdings, combines an old printing term “dingbat” with “Windows”.

As today, Wingdings was occasionally misunderstood. While it was intended to be picked apart, used individually for a splash of imagery, users interpreted it as an unusual font for writing words.

The future of fonts like Wingdings, which occupy a weird space between pictures and text, is impossible to predict. Will emojis become the main means of communication? Will people ditch text altogether?

Read more at Vox to find out more about the history of this surprisingly popular font.

Source: Vox