The History of Wingdings Font and why it Still Exists

Have you ever seen a font in Microsoft entirely made out of random symbols like arrows, circles, and inverted triangles? Isn’t it strange how people decide to create this bizarre font that seems unreadable to most people? This font that we are talking about is the Wingdings font.

Wingdings is a font that was initially developed by Microsoft in 1990. This font includes various symbols that are a combination of glyphs (a symbol that has a specific shape, design, and intends to represent a particular character) from Lucida Icons, Arrows, and Lucida Stars. Despite this font’s distinctive appearance, Wingdings font is really something else. It was the first font that caught most people’s attention then; eventually, it became part of the popular culture.


The Wingdings font is really never meant to be used for writing sentences. This font’s purpose is to be used during the pre-internet days as a unique tool. Before the internet was made, people find it hard to look for images. Even copying and pasting images are very difficult tasks to do. The hard drives before cannot support large image sizes, and the images have poor quality. With the help of Wingdings font, people in the past were provided with high-quality images with sizes that can also be changed; besides, it does not fill up their hard drives!

Two typography experts named Charles Bigelow, and Kris Holmes were the ones that made the Wingdings font happen. They were also the creators of the Lucida font. In 1990, the two thought that their Lucida font needed something that would complement the letters, so they started creating another font set, which is the Wingdings font. Wingdings font was originally divided into three separate fonts. These are the Lucida Icons, Lucida Arrow, and Lucida Stars. However, these three were formulated into one font that would match the texts and were created with proportions similar to the Lucida font. People who use the Wingdings font could then pick their desired icon by typing the assigned letter to the character. With this, users could design and animate their documents without distressing about the large file size and the poor image quality.

Soon after Lucida Icons, Lucida Arrows, and Lucida Stars’ creation, Microsoft decided to buy the fonts’ rights then merged it into one font that they called the “Wingdings” font. They included this font in the beta test of Microsoft Windows in the year 1990. However, not all the fonts were included due to the company’s floppy disc release’s very limited storage size. Yet, despite the limitations on the release, a cultural phenomenon was made.

The name “Wingdings” came from the word “Windows,” Microsoft’s name, and “dingbat,” which is an old printing term. The new name of the font has added a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm. With the help of Microsoft Windows, the Wingdings font became more popular with people and users.

wooden background, inverted letters and characters, unorganized blocks


If you do not know the history of Wingdings font, you would likely be very confused as to why this font even exists in the first place. Users usually misunderstood this font as something odd to use for writing words and sentences. Some people also have theories that this font conveys hidden messages and the symbols were codes for something. Some also say that the font conversion process failed, which is why the font was created. However, in reality, Wingdings font was intended to be used one at a time for a variety of icons and images that would animate your documents.  

Because of these theories and all the ideas of people about creating this font, Wingdings font became a hit and impacted popular culture. As time passes by, additional icons and images were created from Wingdings; example of this is Webdings that Vincent Connare designed, the person who also designed the Comic Sans font.


A lot of icons from Wingdings font were inspired by different historical sources. Icons like pointing fingers and hands were found in medieval documents and ancient roman signals and motions. Inventions in the 20th century, like airplanes and computers, were also included in the Wingdings font. Most of the font’s floral icons were inspired by the flowers in Bigelow’s and Holme’s garden. Other icons were also inspired by Renaissance printings. This means that Wingdings font was not only created and inspired by modern sources but also goes hundreds of years back to the historical era.