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A short film about dingbats

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You know when it seems as though you’re the only person who finds something interesting? That no one else finds quite as interesting or funny as you do? Well, we’ve been finding that a bit with our dingbats. Maybe that’s not fair.

Dingbats are those funny symbols people used to use as spacers when typesetting text manually. People still use them now, but they’ve become more decorative than serving any other real sense of purpose. For those of you who are not designers, you will probably find that you have Zapf Dingbats installed as part of your Microsoft Word.

Anyway, when Sara De Bondt set out to design our identity she thought it would be a nice idea to design our very own VE typeface, made up of dingbats. So it’s a new alphabet, inspired by the dingbat idea as way to put into practice how writing can work in a visual way.

We wrote something about it for our website explaining the idea behind them. But the thing is, other than showing our VE alphabet, we weren’t quite sure what image to use or show to go with it. We thought it would be nice to show how dingbats used to be printed but we couldn’t really find anything that worked. So we ended up finding a bizarre and pretty irrelevant video of a latte printing machine and put it up. But, and this is coming back to my original point, the problem is I suspect that Britt and I are the only two people who a) found the latte printing machine funny and b) saw how it relates (if only a little) to the dingbat text.

We were talking to designer Lucy Brown about it all and she said, “Why don’t I make something for you guys?” Lucy ended up spending a day in her studio (a beautifully restored cabin in the middle of nowhere that Lucy shares with a woodpecker) and a box of colourful buttons and here’s what she’s come up with. A very sweet, lovingly made short film about dingbats.

It’s just what we needed.

—Anna