Dingbats: Font or Fiction?

Today we’re going to be diving back into the wonderful world of Fonts, but instead of our normal fare, I’d like to head in a slightly different direction.  So before we get started, I’d like to go ahead and bring your attention to the standard accepted definition of the word font when it applies to a typeface.



noun: font; plural noun: fonts; noun: fount; plural noun: founts
  1. a set of type of one particular face and size.

late 16th century (denoting the action or process of casting or founding): from Frenchfonte, from fondre ‘to melt.’

Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “But I heard on the streets that fonts have to be letters!”  Well, that’s just not true, although I admire your tenacity in having a conversation about typeface on the streets!  So with that in mind, I’d like to move away from serifs and scripts altogether and dive into the fun world of dingbat fonts.

 Dingbat fonts have been around for quite some time, and if you look hard enough you can even see forms of them in texts going back as far as the first printing presses for books.  Although most of these took place in the margins rather than inside the main body itself.  They were simply a nice little ornamental addition that printers could add to the page for some flavor or to create a pretty boxframe.
These days, you can find dingbat fonts everywhere you look, and chances are if you’re reading this from a computer, you have a handful of them already installed!  But today we’re going to give a special shout out to the SomePics font created by Swedish artist Johan Waldenström who found his inspiration in old school hip-hop graffiti he saw around town while growing up.
If you’re interested in his SomePics font, you can easily find it here.  But even if you aren’t, I do hope that you can come to appreciate dingbat fonts for what they are: Fonts.  Sure, they aren’t as pretty as a Script, and sometimes you might find you’re missing those Serifs while tossing fun ornaments into your text.  But at the end of the day, if we can’t have fun with what we make, what good was it to make it in the first place?

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