In my story, I'm using the font WingDings to represent the language for the alien race.

Should I be using something different or am I ok with using WingDings to represent a constructed language? Any copyright problems I should be worried about?

I'm using WingDings because I find it easiest to use as an alien language for my alien race called 'KrimGuards'.

  • 3
    Hello @Wilco and welcome to Writers SE. It is not clear what you're asking. I know WingDings as a font in word processors, not as a "language". If you mean the font you use when writing, I suggest you to edit your question. Otherwise, please add some reference to what is the "WingDings" language, for those who don't know.
    – FraEnrico
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 7:08
  • @FraEnrico Thanks. I'm new to the whole forum thing so excuse me if it's not that great. I'll edit it now. Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 23:29

2 Answers 2


[Not a lawyer], but even so I don't think copyright is the biggest potential issue.

You could go the whole hog and invent a character set (as Iain M. Banks did for the "Culture" series (http://omniglot.com/conscripts/marain.htm)), or represent the spelling with standard Roman characters. The important question is whether, and if so how, you're expecting your readers to be able to interpret the symbols.

And here's the pitfall - some readers will want to do that, and they're likely to feel cheated if they can't, or if the alien language is nothing more than a transposition into a commonly known character set. These will be the readers who have most invested themselves in your work, so are probably those you least want to lose or disappoint.

I wouldn't use WingDings. The exception to this is if the story's logic holds, and there is some reason the alien race adopted WingDings, or that they were the inspiration for the person on Earth who created that character set. Otherwise, it could end up looking like a bit of a shortcut.


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    Dat klingon xD but yes I agree... I don't think I could take the story seriously if all of a sudden hearts and boxes and random icons started appearing as dialog. As you said I would feel cheated that they didn't want to put effort into creating something realistic and then wonder about the quality of the story. I would much rather read a text say "they spoke in a language we did not understand" vs "*%#*Y$#$#%^@". It just looks... tacky. Hell make up your own words. You don't need to have it as a full blown language but you can make up some words here and there as needed.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 17:54

This isn't a hard rule, but generally, if I do not want the reader to know what is being said by the aliens, I tend to just say they are conversing in an unknown language. If I want their dialog to be understood by the reader, but not the characters, I'd use dialog in "" format, and add somewhere which language is being spoken. This is from a comic book writing style which would contain an editorial note about the language actually being spoken.

The problem with using actual foreign languages in written words is that the reader needs to understand everything from the POV you've selected. Alien gibberish in gibberish languages is difficult to read as you now have long chuncks of dialog that are unintelligent. D.C. Comincs does pull this off from time to time as they have two substitution cyphers that represent Kryptonian and Interlac. These alphabets have a one to one correspondence to the Latin Alphabet, and are still using English words (though it's implied it sounds nothing like English). These are used either to show the two characters in scene do not know what's going on OR that one character is swearing in their native tongue (often a real swear word that often isn't kosher if it used the English Language.). They don't dialog for extended lengths of time in this manner. These ciphers are also definately copyrighted, but you could make your own alphabet and draw the symbols. Pretty sure you can then make your own font.


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