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5 Typefaces Designers Hate

1. Comic Sans

Look, this typeface was fine at first. It was created by Microsoft for a comic-themed children’s videogame, but it wasn’t used, so instead Microsoft added it to its pre-uploaded library. Now, Comic Sans has its place: amateur comic strips, a clown’s business card, anything meant to be read by a child. But it’s been so misused that seeing it even in the right context brings up rage-inducing flashbacks of every time this typeface has been used just so incredibly inappropriately.

 

2. Arial

Don’t. Just use Helvetica.

Arial was created by Microsoft specifically to resemble Helvetica, so that they wouldn’t have to pay licensing fees. Using Arial is like wearing an obvious knockoff purse: it’s just poor taste.

Take this quiz comparing the two if you want to test your keen typographical sense:

http://www.ironicsans.com/helvarialquiz/index.php

 

3. Trajan

It’s not really a bad typeface. It’s not even ugly. But it’s just been so overused that it no longer means anything, and it’s boring. Let’s give it a break, shall we?

 

4. Lithos

Are you a Greek restaurant? If not, you shouldn’t use this typeface. If you are, you also shouldn’t. As appropriate as the faux-Greek style feels, I promise you it’s not. It is, unfortunately, too Greek to use for anything that isn’t Greek, but not Greek enough to be used for anything that is.…

 

5. Papyrus

Simply put, it’s tacky. It’s become the new Comic Sans: easily recognizable, often misused, and has a cult of haters. There are blogs dedicated spotting its use: http://www.papyruswatch.com/

Of course, the worst offender?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVhlJNJopOQ

What this video fails to mention is that not only was Papyrus used in the promotional materials, the whole damn movie was captioned in it.

4 Comments

  1. aburke20 wrote:

    The examples that you posted for the usage of Comic Sans are ridiculous. Why would you ever use Comic Sans on the side of an ambulance, not to mention a gravestone? As for Helvetica, I think this is another typeface that should be avoided. As a result of young designers not being informed about typography, the majority of them rely on using well known typefaces, such as Helvetica. Instead of using Arial or Helvetica, I recommend using Avenir.

    Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
  2. atowner wrote:

    I didn’t know they captioned all of Avatar in Papyrus! Woof, I have no idea what they were thinking with that one.

    Fun fact: Comic Sans is really useful for people with learning disabilities, since each of the letterforms is its own particular shape! That being said…these examples are inexcusably bad. I cannot think of a worse place for Comic Sans than an ambulance. Good grief.

    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  3. bscott15 wrote:

    Is it ok to admit that I had used Papyrus on one of my projects when I was back at NOVA? I look back and wonder “what was I thinking?”

    For Helvetica and Arial. I think these are the “go to” typefaces for lazy designers who don’t want to research other options and stick to what they know. Open Sans is a good alternative that would give the design a fresh look.

    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  4. jcruz12 wrote:

    I agree with the five typefaces you mentioned. People need to start choosing a different typefaces that describes them or at least fits the theme of what they are using it for. I mean, I know there’s Times New Roman and we have to use that for school and professional work, but still.

    Also, Arial is a free version of Helvetica? This is the first time I’ve heard of this. Why is Helvetica a typeface to pay for? Is it fancy, because it kind of looks too simple and plain to be payable? This is ridiculous!

    Friday, February 16, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

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