Skip to content

Dash of Inspiration – Who Are You Calling a Dingbat?

January 16, 2012

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Who Are You Calling a Dingbat?

A couple years ago I had no idea what the computer industry was talking about when they used the term ‘dingbat’, but I’ve since learned they are fonts with symbols, shapes or artwork in the positions designated for alpha or numeric characters on the keyboard.

Though I DO NOT recommend using the majority of the Dingbat Fonts you find as is on your greeting cards, they can offer your imagination a very creative outlet.  Here are some ideas for having dingbats in your artist’s toolbox.  In my book there are two types of fonts which fall into this Dingbat category.

1. Those I mentioned above, which are true dingbat fonts so there is an ornament/character which completely replaces the normal keyboard output.  So instead of an A when you hit that on the keyboard, you get an Alligator for example.

2. The other I tend to put in the dingbat category because you certainly shouldn’t type a whole word using these Letter+ Ornament types of fonts.


You many find these types of fonts fun, but trust me, your cards are not likely to be accepted if you use them in excess on your card fronts.  However,using them sometimes for the first letter of a holiday such as Christmas, Easter or Valentine’s Day can offer a special touch when combined with the right font to compliment the overall appearance.

Here are some FREE downloads:

101! U Decorated My Heart

101! Rose Cards


AlphaShapes Xmas Balls


Dingbats are fun if you look at them as an additional source of creative elements.  It’s as easy as pie!  Remember that fonts are very much like Photoshop Shapes in that you can make them as large as you need to and most will look great.  So try this process to make Dingbats individual elements you can use in your design work.

  1. Download a Dingbat Font and Install it (if you don’t know how to install fonts on your computer, ask Google and find easy instructions based on your current computer’s operating system)
  2. In Photoshop, create New file (preferably transparent background) at the size you want and 300 resolution.
  3. Choose the Text Tool and the Dingbat Font you installed.
  4. Make the size of the font very, very large – I typically use 300 to 800 in order to fill my new transparent file.
  5. Type the letter A and you’ll see the ornament that represents the letter A for this dingbat font.  Also check lower case, which in many dingbats has a whole second set of characters.  Repeat this for all the letters your dingbat font shows as having characters.
  6. To save the character you produced, Rasterize the layer and voila –  you have a new design element large enough for any of your uses.  Color them, do whatever you can think of with them.  They are now no different than Free Clip-art!

Here are some FREE Downloads:



Karate Chop

So off you go to find some fun additions for your toolbox! Nearly all font houses carry dingbats, and . . . ALWAYS be sure to ONLY download FREE COMMERCIAL USE dingbats!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2012 11:07 am

    As always wonderful advice Doreen.
    Thank you for the links!
    Janet Lee

  2. January 16, 2012 1:03 pm

    Doreen, you think of everything! Thanks so much.

  3. January 16, 2012 3:21 pm

    Doreen,Hi again, since my above post a couple of hours ago, your Dash of Inspiration today led me into creating and uploading 5 new cards for review! Thanks again for your Inspiration!

  4. Gail Pepin permalink
    January 16, 2012 5:26 pm

    Thanks, Doreen. What would we do without you! We all appreciate your advice.

  5. January 16, 2012 6:12 pm

    Thank you Doreen. I’m a self-professed Font FREAK and LOVE finding new ones!!

  6. January 16, 2012 10:10 pm

    got some FUN images, thanks!

  7. July 16, 2012 11:39 pm

    Thanks so much Doreen, cool fonts. Rosie Cards

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: