Like any ancient symbols, we can find a lot of theories about the heart shape origin. Let’s dive right in.
Our first theory brings us back to Greek and Roman times in the 6th & 5th century BC and an ancient plant called silphium. The silphium grew from a perfectly heart-shaped seed and was extremely popular in the ancient times. Why you may ask?
Greeks and Romans loved the plant, because it served as a spice for cooking, but more importantly it was used as a contraceptive!
The silphium was also believed to be a gift from the god Apollo, which is why it was associated with a certain expression of love. Sadly, due to few contraceptive alternatives and the plant’s popularity, the silphium went extinct around the 1st century AD.
Staying on the topic of plants, it has been argued, that the heart shape is related to the Ivy plant. Ivy leaves were most commonly associated with Dionysus, the god of wine, passion and all things sensual.
Another theory states that shape is modeled after breasts, buttocks or other “sensual” parts of the human body. Truth is, the origin of the heart shape is not as romantic as previously imagined. The heart shape’s most likely origin dates back to the Middle Ages. As open-heart surgery was not really an option back then, artists and scientists tried to draw hearts the way they were described in ancient medical writings.
As the heart has always been tied to emotions, the shape was eventually used as a symbol of romance and love. You may have noticed that not all the typefaces have the heart symbol in their typefaces. Indeed, this symbol doesn’t belong to any standard glyph set and it’s up to the foundry to add it or not.
But don’t panic, as a Valentine’s day gift, here is a selection of our top 5 fonts that include a heart symbol:
Tuner by Production Type
We couldn’t have missed this opportunity to express all the love we have for our partners and friends from Production Type! Check out this brand new font designed by Simon Renaud!
Digestive by Jérémy Landes
Introducing Digestive, an original titling typeface by Jérémy Landes from Studio Triple. The perfect match for extravagant lovers!
Input Mono by David Jonathan Ross
Here is Input Mono by David Jonathan Ross, a monospaced typeface showing love to coders.
Bely by Roxane Gataud
Please welcome Bely by Roxane Gataud, a straightforward font drawn to perfection.
Winco by Ramiro Espinoza
Have a look at Winco by Ramiro Espinoza and its sharp heart symbol.
By Ramiro Espinoza – re-type.comBy the way, do you know how to make the heart symbol on your keyboard?
A special mention to Milieu Grotesque who designed the most original tofu (you know this little square thing appearing to replace missing characters). Yes we saw a lot of tofus browsing the web to create this list!
Tell us in the comments if you want to highlight a quality typeface with a heart in its characters set. We are also open to talk about any other historical origins of the symbol that we might have forgotten!
We ❤ you!