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The Complete History of the Wingdings Font

There are few things in this world that I wanted to do more than write this entire article in Wingdings. Unfortunately due to readers’ browser capabilities and the fact my editor would likely never touch something I wrote ever again, I’ll have to stick to normal text. Life just isn’t [FINGER POINTING RIGHT] [HAND MAKING THE PEACE SIGN] [WHOLE HAND] [SUN], you guys!

The history of the Wingdings font is a surprising one and explained quite well in a recent video by Phil Edwards for the Vox YouTube channel. The font was made famous (if fonts can be considered as such) by Microsoft when they acquired a collection of “dingbat fonts” created by typography experts Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes. Dingbats were special characters and symbols used in printing presses to add a bit more flair and excitement to areas of printed pages in a time when re-setting to a fancier font was far too time consuming and expensive. Microsoft named the font Wingdings as a portmanteau of Windows, dingbat and – as Edwards explains it – “the party-like feel of a wingding.” (Who doesn’t love a good font party?! Let’s all get [THUMBS DOWN] [SUN] [CROSS, [SKULL AND CROSSBONES] [INDIFFERENT FACE]!)

Depending on how old you are, the seemingly silly collection of pictograms that we occasionally used for effect have a long history in the evolution of the printed word and were essentially the world’s first emojis.

What are your favorite Wingdings characters? Are you more partial to Webdings? Can you speak in Wingdings? Let us know the the comments below!

HT: Laughinsquid
Image: Vox

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