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Why Wingdings Became a Font

A history behind the precursor to the emoji.

While many typeface enthusiasts deplore the idea of Comic Sans, another font and its continued existence proves to be even more baffling: Wingdings. The assortment of characters, from mailboxes to smiley faces, is seemingly random at first, but the video above examines the history behind the font and how it came into fruition. Reaching as far back as the 13th century when printing presses were used, reusable templates known as dingbats were created as shortcuts for blocks that had to be hand-carved. When Microsoft bought the rights to the font from Lucida makers Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes, it created a portmanteau of “Windows” and “dingbats” to create “Wingdings.” At a time before robust hard drives could easily process graphics, Wingdings made it efficient to copy and paste scalable images within text. Watch the video above and read the full story at Vox.

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