Did Mormons invent Wing Dings?

Wing Dings font...

Wing Dings font...


A little while ago, I was talking to a non-Mormon coworker.  He, of course, knew I was Mormon, and as we were talking, he said (in all seriousness): “I heard that Mormons are the ones that invented the Wing Dings font as a secret language”.

In case you’re not familiar, Wing Dings are a font available in Microsoft Word (since version 3.1) that renders letters as symbols.

I thought it was amazing that somehow, somewhere, somebody started this rumor.  I couldn’t help but laugh, as I took the opportunity to explain the inaccuracy of his understanding.

First, to set the record straight, for everyone out there wondering if Mormons invented Wing Dings… no, we didn’t.  In fact, Microsoft created Wing Dings by combining characters licensed from Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes (both Type designers).

But while this particular misconception was harmless (cute, even), many are not.  Many are created as propaganda and are proliferated around the internet (and conversations), and can become a great stumbling block to genuine people seeking the truth.

And so I renew my invitation… to all those who have questions about Mormonism, who have heard things that sound suspicious, ask (here).  We’ll answer you together. 

As Joseph Smith said “The standard of truth has been erected.  No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing.  Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, and columny may defame.  But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent.  Till it has penetrated every continent, swept every country, visited every clime, and sounded in every ear.  Till the work of the Lord shall be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall say ‘the work is done’”.



11 Responses

  1. You’re friend seems to have had a chance encounter with Deseret, which wasn’t a ‘secret language’ but a phonetic alphabet to aid Mormon immigrants who could speak but not write English. It’s included in the Unicode standard.

    Of course, the only way you can properly spell things in the Deseret phonetic alphabet is to sound as if you were from Spanish Fark.

    The Daseret Alaaphabet.

  2. LOL. Yeah, I explained to him about the phonetic alphabet they used to teach English, I too figured somehow the one had merged into the other. Sort of like that game where you get in a big circle and whisper something to the person next to you, and on down the line till the end, when he blurts out the sentence to see how much it’d changed.

    By the way, I’m still laughing at the “Spanish Fark” reference… Good ‘ol Marmans in Spanish Fark!

  3. Just an FYI:
    The name Wingdings was not created by microsoft but was used in typesetting. The typesetters needed a way to space text out but if you put in a Blank block it tends to leave a smudge, often with defined edges.
    To improve the printing quality… Remove smudges and make the print look nice they created type that was not letters but the flurishes and simple designs we see next to parts of the text. The typesetters called this wing-dings, as they were dings-type blocks that did not hold letters that went on the wing of the text.

    God bless,

  4. Awesome, I didn’t know that.

  5. ditchu:

    where did you get that bit of malarkey? I’ve been a printer in all kinds of shops for over 40 years, from hand-set type to today, and I never heard of Wingdings until Microsoft made that font.

    We called them “dingbats” in the olde days, and typographers still call them that.

    A “wingding” is also sometimes used as a term for a wild party.

  6. I just know that “dingbat” was a term my mother always used to call me. I wonder how that originated????

    “You little dingbat”… I can just hear her now.

  7. Will,
    Thank you for the correction.
    It is “Dingbats” That i was thinking of. Sorry for the mistake.

    I didn’t know about “windding” being a party but I did hear of “shindigg” and that always sounded like it hurt to me.

    God bless,

  8. A mormon invented the TV, I don’t hear people whining about that, except for parents who have couch potatoes for kids…

  9. As long as we are talking about inventions…
    It is a little known fact that most inventions are created by Schottsmen. At least 53-59% of all inventions since the 1500’s in my last estimation.
    From Bell to MacAdam and beyond.

    Did you know why roadways and Airport landingstrips are often called Tarmac? The may who invented “Blacktop” Asphalt was MacAdam, and tarmac is a short from of “Tar of MacAdam.”
    If he was Mormon or not I am unsure. :)

    God bless,

  10. .

    Deseret was invented just to learn English — it also was intended to help the leadership filter what was available to read. It seems a little chilling from 2009, but there you go.

    My wife did a bunch of research and wrote a paper on why it failed (ends up there were a LOT of reasons).

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