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Comic Sans (aka: Public Enemy #1, How To Fail In Graphic Design, Oh God That Font, Get That Thing Away From Me, Why Your Design Fails In The First Place, etc.)

Yes, yes… I know for my first examination of horrible fonts, choosing this font to pick on is like shooting fish in a barrel. It goes without saying that in the world of graphic design, Comic Sans is an absolute joke; a complete punchline to the testament of horrible typographic selection and design choices, up to the point where there are websites dedicated to banning the font once and for all. Other fonts may be considered bad to use and frowned upon by many graphic design professors and professionals, but I don’t believe that any font has come close to the monumental level of utter wretchedness that Comic Sans calls its “legacy”.

However, as much as I could heap insult upon insult on Comic Sans, I’m going to take a step back and examine its roots and history; to find out why it was created, what the intentions were behind it, and how it became the twisted abomination that we all know it as today. Am I taking this too seriously? Probably; but I’d like to hate something for my own reasoning, rather than because everyone else around me hates it (although I will agree that it’s easily one of the ugliest and most amateur-looking fonts I’ve ever seen, but that’s beside the point).

Comic Sans: Making serious businesses look silly since 1995.

Comic Sans MS (or Comic Sans for short) was designed by Vincent Connare (who also designed the equally frowned upon font Trebuchet MS, so this isn’t a good sign to start) in 1995. Labeled as a casual script typeface (the Sans in the title short for sans-serif), it was based on fonts that were used in American comic books, specifically The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. Its purpose, besides imitating said lettering, was that so workers could use it in informal documents. Comic Sans debuted with the introduction of Windows 95, on Microsoft Word, and has been a common staple in just about any software office program one can think of.

Comic Sans: Ruining your Wedding Day and your love life since 1995.

Aside from the fact that people overuse it way too many times when they want to be “fun”, or “zany” in their flyers and invitations, Comic Sans just looks completely unprofessional. Even comic book artists are disgusted by its usage, as there are countless other fonts available on sites that cater to people who need material to create their web-comics. I don’t know what else I can possibly say to emphasize how terrible Comic Sans is; there are plenty of fonts on both the Mac and PC that are better sans-serif typefaces (like Helvetica…), and it’s usually the first thing many graphic designers look for when a client comes to them, asking for a re-design. I don’t know if it’s stretching to say that Comic Sans is the pinnacle of a failed design, but I think it honestly comes close.

Comic Sans: Causing signs to look stu- ah, you guys know the rest.

One Comment

  1. Yang-Gee Alexander Nam wrote:

    Imitating bad hand writing results in bad fonts. I don’t really have a hatred towards comic sans, but I do agree it is a rather counter-intuitive font type. I saw one independent movie that actually used this font type which already left me with several warnings how bad this film was going to be.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink