Why "wingdings"?

andrei_herakles's picture

First of all, if this is in the wrong forum let me know or move it accordingly. Secondly, I'm sorry if this is a weird question to ask, but I am wondering what is said about the wingdings series from IBM platforms ca. Windows 3.1 - But in thinking about issues of design construction and use of negative space in lettering, how do the dingbat symbols composing the wingdings series stack up?

Are these symbols chosen based on popularity, familiarity, etc. What are the reasons for iconographic preference given to certain symbols over others, and how were they finally decided upon as "canonical" wingdings? How often are you using symbols from the original Wingdings lineup?

What are these symbols, who was involved in the designing, and how did it all come about?

oldnick's picture

AFIK, Wingdings were Microsoft's answer to Zapf Dingbats, with the addition of several computer-related icons. With either typeface, the scissors and checkboxes sometimes come in handy...

andrei_herakles's picture

Zapf himself?

Si_Daniels's picture

As I recall most (or maybe all?) the dingbats in Wingdings were designed by Bigelow and Holmes.

dberlow's picture

I thought there was one icon font that was "an answer" to MS need to "cover" Zapf Dingbats, and WingDings was a separate extended effort to offer more icons n such?

andrei_herakles's picture

thanks for the feedback here folks. Seems there is still some uncovering to be done as to who is responsible for all of those web images, Its a good start here though. I hadnt heard about Bigelow and Holmes or Zapf Dingbats yet so I am pleased already, thanks again!

vinceconnare's picture

WingDings was definitely designed by Holmes & Bigelow way before Win3.1 it was finished when Microsoft and IBM were testing font technologies for 'Presentation Manager' back about 1989-90 because we had to test hint them in Intellifont for Apple!


and I can tell you for sure the glyph order was always the same up until the final Release Candidate of Windows 3.1. We printed out the Ikarus outlines and had them in a book for the production process. When Windows 3.1 shipped we found that Microsoft added the Windows logo to the final glyph position and this was probably why other glyphs were moved. I later found out (when we were doing Webdings) that the legal department 'hit the roof' when they found out the Windows logo was added. They told me DEFINITELY NO you can not put the Internet Explorer logo into Webdings.

andrei_herakles's picture


Si_Daniels's picture

>They told me DEFINITELY NO you can not put the Internet Explorer logo into Webdings.

Oops :-)

vinceconnare's picture

The Motorola StarTac, Midi keyboard, Dave Cutler's Microsoft Toyota Atlantic race car, and the TwoTone Ska man all gone.

gregh's picture

The original plan for Windows 3.1 was to ship a large set of the Lucida® fonts from Bigelow & Holmes. But alas, those were the days of 5-1/4" floppies and we ran out of space for those fonts on the Windows disks. Three of the fonts from the Lucida collection were Lucida Arrows, Lucida Icons, and Lucida Stars. We decided to take some of the glyphs from each of these fonts and combine them into one font, Wingdings.

The rest of the Lucida fonts shipped in parallel to Windows 3.1 in the Microsoft TrueType Font Pack for Windows.

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