Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brought to You by the Letter...

Brought to you by the letter: N
Wingdings, Regular, uppercase N

Quite frankly in the font world, I think of Wingdings as a joke. I mean who actually uses Wingdings? Who even ever browses through Wingdings? Or Wingdings 2 or Wingdings 3? I sure don't. But nevertheless, as I was searching for letters for this blog post, my down arrow key took me into the land of Wingdings before I got the chance to turn around and head towards the safety of Verdana or Vitesse.

I found this "N"ugget of surprise in Wingdings: uppercase N, which is the skull and cross bones symbols. YEA Wingdings! Way to be badass. I imagine my inner, nerdy 8th grade self in 1998 repeatedly stroking the 'N' key, filling the AppleWorks document with lines of Wingdings skulls, depicting my angst nature in a single iconographic representation. Perhaps, I'd even make some of them red, to be truly artistic.

The skull and cross bones represents death, poison, danger and pirates. Can anyone think of anything else? I like this particular version--even if the nose looks a little too much like an upside down heart. And it's much better than the unicode version: U + 2620, which looks like a drawing done by an eighth grader.

Among all the gesturing hands and geometric shapes, the skull and cross bones is a fun surprise in the Wingdings typeface. It shows the designers had a sense of humor about themselves. Although, some people believe their is much, much more to be read into the Wingdings symbols. Read on for a few conspiracy theories.

Courtesy of identifont.com, squidoo.com, wikipedia.com:

Design Foundry: Publisher: Microsoft Typography
Designer: Kris Holmes and Charles Bigelow
Date: 1992
Classification: Dingbat

Wingdings now comes standard on Windows computers. It was originally named/derived from: Lucida Icons, Arrows and Stars. Apparently, when Wingdings was released in 1992, people quickly discovered that NYC in Wingdings is the Skull & Cross bones (N), Star of David (Y), Thumbs up (C), creating a suggestive message that killing/poisoning Jews (particularly NYC Jews) was a good thing.

Microsoft claims this was unintentional, and just happen to be where the symbols fell. And in later releases of Wingdings (which none of my newer computers had?) intentionally had Wingdings spell NYC with an eye (N), heart (Y), skyline (C), suggesting the ever popular slogan: I love New York. [Note: The symbol change seems to appear in Webdings.] For a roundup of other Wingdings conspiracy theories, visit to Squidoo.com/wingdings.

And in honor of all Dingbats, I thought I'd have a little fun and post this entire article in Wingdings for you above. In 1994, David Carson was the editor of Ray Gun magazine, and set an entire four page interview in Zapf Dingbats (another symbol typeface) because it (the article) was so boring. David Carson, I salute you.

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