Poem typeset with generous use of decorative dingbats around the edges (1880s). Dingbats are not part of the text.

In typography, a dingbat (sometimes more formally known as a printer's ornament or printer's character) is an ornament, a glyph (roughly, character) or spacer used in typesetting, often employed to create box frames (similar to box-drawing characters) or as a dinkus (section divider).

In the computer industry, a Dingbat font is a font that has symbols and shapes in the positions designated for alphabetical or numeric characters [many other fonts include dingbat glyphs, but in dedicated slots].

Examples of characters included in Unicode (ITC Zapf Dingbats series 100 and others):

The advent of Unicode provides allowed commonly used dingbats to be given their own code points (unique binary code). Although Unicode fonts (Unicode compliant font) may contain glyphs for dingbats in addition to alphabetic characters, non-compliant fonts that have dingbats in place of alphabetic characters continue to be popular,[citation needed][needs update] primarily for ease of input. Such fonts are also sometimes known as pi fonts.[why?][1]

Some of the dingbat symbols have been used as signature marks, used in bookbinding to order sections.[citation needed]

The Dingbats block (U+2700–U+27BF) (under the original block name "Zapf Dingbats") was added to the Unicode Standard in October 1991, with the release of version 1.0. This code block contains decorative character variants, and other marks of emphasis and non-textual symbolism. Most of its characters were taken from Zapf Dingbats. The block name was changed from "Zapf Dingbats" to Dingbats in June 1993, with the release of 1.1.[4][5]

The Dingbats block contains 33 emoji: U+2702, U+2705, U+2708–U+270D, U+270F, U+2712, U+2714, U+2716, U+271D, U+2721, U+2728, U+2733–U+2734, U+2744, U+2747, U+274C, U+274E, U+2753–U+2755, U+2757, U+2763–U+2764, U+2795–U+2797, U+27A1, U+27B0 and U+27BF.[6][7]

The block has 40 standardized variants defined to specify emoji-style (U+FE0F VS16) or text presentation (U+FE0E VS15) for the following twenty base characters: U+2702, U+2708–U+2709, U+270C–U+270D, U+270F, U+2712, U+2714, U+2716, U+271D, U+2721, U+2733–U+2734, U+2744, U+2747, U+2753, U+2757, U+2763–U+2764 and U+27A1. [8]

The Dingbats block has four emoji that represent hands. They can be modified using U+1F3FB–U+1F3FF to provide for a range of human skin color using the Fitzpatrick scale:[7]

Additional human emoji can be found in other Unicode blocks: Emoticons, Miscellaneous Symbols, Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs, Supplemental Symbols and Pictographs and Transport and Map Symbols.

The following Unicode-related documents record the purpose and process of defining specific characters in the Dingbats block:

The Ornamental Dingbats block (U+1F650–U+1F67F) was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0. This code block contains ornamental leaves, punctuation, and ampersands, quilt squares, and checkerboard patterns. It is a subset of dingbat fonts Webdings, Wingdings, and Wingdings 2.[10]