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Instead of Comic Sans, Why Not Try Something Else?

Comic Sans Pro Type Spec

The history of Comic Sans is interesting reading. Most designers hate the typeface. Personally, few things make me queasier than hearing someone say, “I like Comic Sans,” or worse, “I used Comic Sans in a recent design.” The typeface is poorly designed, and it has also become cliché. Yet it remains popular.

Many people love Comic Sans. I even had a teacher who printed out his math tests in it—and as strange as that sounds, taking a test that was not in Georgia or Calibri was refreshing. Comic Sans has become so popular that several years ago, Microsoft released the Comic Sans Pro font family, complete with additional glyphs, swashes, and other features.

Why do people like Comic Sans? It does have a quirkiness that’s different from Times New Roman, Arial, or other standard choices. Few other pre-installed Microsoft fonts both have a handwritten quality and are legible in a paragraph. (Ergo, Comic Sans’ appearance on my math tests.)

But we live in a world with hundreds of free fonts online, some of which are fairly well-designed. Instead of Comic Sans, why not try a better-designed typeface with neither historical baggage nor an outspoken base of designers who hate it?

If you like Comic Sans’ familiar rounded, legible, marker-like style, here are three similar options from Google Fonts, available for free download:

  • Itim is not as legible in paragraphs, but its style is very similar to Comic Sans.
  • Delius has legible, balanced letterforms with a bit of flair, though it includes few special characters or diacritics.
  • Pangolin is fairly legible in paragraphs, but it looks more handwritten and has a fun, puffy outline.

What do you think about these fonts? Have you found any better alternatives to Comic Sans?

Delius Type Spec from Google Fonts