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Dingbats: The Hidden Font Treasure

Dingbats: The Hidden Font Treasure main article image
Posted on September 24, 2021 by Zen Watercooler

If you’re creating print on demand designs for t-shirts, coffee mugs, or even fine art prints, you can spend too much time drawing or editing illustrations. Sometimes, the perfect element to your design is hiding in your fonts! Yes—there are often special characters inside of fonts. These are known as “dingbats” or “wingding” fonts. If you search on Creative Fabrica for the term “dingbats” you will get back hundreds of results. You can select a font and these “dingbat” fonts will have special characters in there. Many other fonts will have special characters too (make sure to check the thumbnail as they will often show all of the characters, including the special ones).

For example, I uploaded the font “Dingbats Arrow” into Creative Fabrica’s Fontcloud: These special characters can be a really easy way to add elements into your t-shirt designs.

Here’s an example in Photoshop. I have a t-shirt design and I need an arrow. Instead of drawing the arrow (which is time-consuming) or using a “regular” boring mechanical arrow, I can use any of these hand-drawn arrows from the Dingbat Arrow font. I simply select the font and type in the corresponding letter. I’m going to use the capital letter E:

Your font might have a maximum value (in this case, my version of Photoshop will only allow a font to go to 1296 pixels in height). If that happens, just rasterize the font by right-clicking on the layer with the dingbat font and select “Rasterize Type”.

This changes the font into a true picture, and you can drag it larger (or smaller) as needed.

There are LOTS of special images sitting as special characters in fonts. Even regular fonts like Windows “Wingdings” has special characters like boxes, arrows, different language markers, and all sorts of neat symbols.

Don’t forget about your fonts when you’re looking for a high-quality (and easy) image to put in your next t-shirt design!

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