110 Type Ornaments to Use in Your Book (Plus a Free Download)

by | Oct 8, 2018

Using type ornaments in your book design can add a pleasing pictorial element to your typographic pages.

Depending on the tone you’re trying to establish with your design, there’s likely to be a choice of ornaments that will complement the other choices you’ve made when selecting fonts and the overall design direction for the book.

I’ve written elsewhere about finding fonts with ornaments included in their character sets, and there are many fonts dedicated to symbols, pictograms, or other designs that work as ornaments in books. Probably the best known of these is Zapf Dingbats.

One of the reasons type ornaments make a perfect complement to the rest of the typesetting in your book is because they are vector art, just like all the other characters in the font. This means they can be scaled to any size, and that they will fit perfectly on a page of regular, alphanumeric typesetting.

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Making Charts of Ornaments

When I’m designing a book for a client, I’ll often include one design that makes use of an ornament in the chapter opener or as a text break.

Inevitably, some clients say, “Hey Joel, this design looks great, but are there other ornaments I could choose from?”

That’s why I made up a PDF of some of my favorite ornaments for use in books. I called it “55 Sample Type Ornaments for Use in Books.” I know, not too original, right?

type ornaments
This worked well for quite a while until one client said, after perusing the 55 selections, “Don’t you have any more?”

Well, there are literally thousands of these kinds or ornaments. So I went back and created another set of ornaments, “55 More Sample Type Ornaments for Use in Books.”

All together, these 110 ornaments in a handy chart format makes it easy for an author to quickly find one that will work in her book.

Wouldn’t you like that?

I thought so, and that’s why I’ve combined both charts into one PDF you can download right now.

You aren’t going to be surprised to learn that I now call it “110 Sample Type Ornaments for Use in Books.”

The two charts in this download show the ornaments and identify which font each comes from. Some of these fonts are free, some are paid, but I’ve included links to all the fonts so you can see them for yourself.

PDF Download and Font Links

Download your copy of 110 Sample Type Ornaments for Use in Books by clicking this link: 110 type ornaments, or just click the image below:

type ornaments

Free fonts:
Entypo
Fertigo Pro
IM Fell Flowers 2
Modern Pictograms
Nymphette

Paid fonts:
Adobe Garamond Pro
Adobe Wood Type
Chaparral
Directions MT
Minion Pro
Warnock Pro
Wingdings (You may already own this font.)
Zapf Dingbats (You probably already own this font.)
Zapfino

Attention: I have been unable to track down the Bugg font, even though I have it on my system. If you know where to find a downloadable version of this font, please let me know in the comments. Do you know any fonts with great ornaments that I haven’t mentioned here? I’d love to hear about them.

Want to know more about formatting your book for print or eBook distribution?

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27 Comments

  1. E. S. Elias

    Thank you! Finding this article is so timely. I am currently typesetting my debut for paperback and having the ” *** ” just is not making the cut.

    Reply
  2. Taryn

    Sorry if I’m being dumb, but when you click on the dingbats, nothing happens. How do you choose one and use and download only one? Cleary, I’m ‘new’.

    Reply
  3. Michele Orrson

    Newbie here! I am self-publishing my first book and want to use a zapf dingbat symbol as a section break. Are there licensing limitations around using this one symbol, or is it free to use? I can’t find any information on that and am a little afraid of violating licensing rules.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Michele, you can use that Zapf Dingbat symbol as you like. This font has been distributed freely on millions of computer systems and I don’t think you have anything to fear from the “font police.”

      This is from Wikipedia: “The (Zapf Dingbats) ITC glyph set is included in Unicode and it is one of the “Basic 14″ typefaces guaranteed to be available for PDF files. ZapfDingbats, the PostScript version of ITC Zapf Dingbats, is distributed with Acrobat Reader.”

      Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Georgia, thanks very much, but I removed the link since it points to the delightful Jane Bugg font, a script typeface, not the ornament Bugg font I’m looking for.

      Reply
  4. Joel Friedlander

    Here’s another (paid) ornament font that popped up in the trackbacks to this article:

    Art Nouveau Ornaments

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Kenzie,

      Thanks, that’s a new one for me but I’m going to add it to my collection.

      Reply
  5. Jen

    Ooo. I love the ornaments! I ended up making a little scene divider of an anchor from a commercial font I licensed because my story has something of a nautical theme. I ended up making it a very lightweight PNG using Photoshop so it would show up in my Kindle version.

    Ornaments are the type of thing which can be easily overdone, but judiciously used they add style and flair. Thank you for the list!

    Reply
  6. Jeanne Felfe

    Thank you so much. This is quite timely since I’m at the beginning stages of formatting an anthology and each participant gets to select which flourish they want for their story.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Jeanne,

      Sounds like these charts could be a perfect solution for that anthology.

      Reply
      • Jeanne Felfe

        The anthology is ready and stunningly beautiful using your template Inspire. I choose to use nymphettes for my scene breaks and unfortunately, when using Calibre to create the epub and embedding fonts, it added a space to the file name. The epub won’t pass the validation step in Draft 2 Digital. I don’t know what else to do unless I change to some other ornament set.

        Reply
  7. Christine

    Joel, how do you access the ornament/glyph, since they are hidden? I see you have an letter and number on your ornament chart but I can’t figure out how to use it to get to a particular ornament.
    Thanks,
    Christine

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Christine, the row and column numbers were included simply as a reference, so a client could communicate easily which ornament they preferred. You will need to open a Glyphs palette or symbol palette to find the individual symbols within each font.

      Reply
      • Christine

        Thanks for the help! I’ll see if I can find that.
        Christine

        Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for the link, but that’s a different font, kind of distressed script. This one is simply “Bugg” and only has symbols.

      Reply
  8. Colleen Chesebro

    I tried to use these with the Kindle Create program and it doesn’t recognize them. Thought you might like to know that since CreateSpace is now gone.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Colleen,

      It may be that some of the ornaments are not recognizable by Kindle, or that some fonts are not supported. But there ought to be many that are part of fonts we use every day for books. Thanks for the head’s-up.

      Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Christine, enjoy.

      Reply
  9. Harald Johnson

    Great post, Joel! And thanks for the PDF.

    Tip for Indies: When I had to decide on the scene break ornament/symbol for my new historical novel (the print version), I came up with an idea: why not add all the symbol-font options already available on my iMac to my dummy proof book I would be ordering from CreateSpace? (FYI: Before anything, I wanted a dummy “test book” that included various samples for fonts, sizes, leadings, chapter openings, TOC styles, margin widths, folio styles, etc. in order to get a sense for how the finished book would look and feel in my (and the reader’s) hand. This was a full-size book with mostly blank pages that I ordered as an Author Copy.)

    So I did a two-spread for every Zapf Dingbats and Wingdings (1-3) keystroke option in InDesign. Then when I got the printed book back, I just reviewed them all and picked the one I ended up using. (Actually, it turned out to be a combination of two keystrokes in Windings 3.) It was a valuable test for me.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Harald,

      Creating a “dummy” or specimen book is a great idea, and one I’ve done myself on some projects. And going all the way through to a printed book is truly a “best practice.”

      Reply
      • Harald Johnson

        Yep. And make that “So I did a two-page spread…” in my original comment. ;-)

        Reply
  10. Olga Godim

    Thanks for the list. It could be very useful.
    I have a font on my computer called Old Retro Labels with similar ornaments. I downloaded it for free a long time ago. Not all of its dingbats are usable, but some are.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Olga,

      Thanks for the tip, Old Retro Labels is new to me.

      Reply

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