Sunday, January 17, 2010

Comic Sans: The #1 Hated Font?

A funny Illustration by Nebojsa Cvetkovic

There has been a lot of talk lately about the #2 graphic-designer-hated font, Papyrus. Just check out the response to this blog post at prtty shtty. (The letter is hilarious and very witty, but the responses from various designers are even better!)

This got me thinking...where did Comic Sans come from? Well, according to Wikipedia...

Comic Sans is a casual script typeface designed by Vincent Connare and released in 1994 by the Microsoft Corporation. It is classified as a casual, non-connecting script, and was designed to imitate comic book lettering, for use in informal documents. The typeface has been supplied with Microsoft Windows since the introduction of Windows 95, initially as a supplemental font in the Windows Plus Pack.

1994? I thought it was older than that...oh well, I remember using it on countless grade school projects...I think it just naturally jumps out to kids.

Connare had already created a number of child-oriented fonts for various applications, so when he saw a beta version of Microsoft Bob that used Times New Roman in the word balloons of cartoon characters, he decided to create a new face based on the lettering style of comic books he had in his office, specifically The Dark Knight Returns (lettered by John Costanza) and Watchmen (lettered by Dave Gibbons).
So this is where it got its makes so much sense...comic...sans

The Boston Phoenix reported on disgruntlement over the widespread use of the font, especially its incongruous use for writing on serious subjects, with the complaints focused around a campaign started by two Indianapolis graphic designers, Dave and Holly Combs, via their website Ban Comic Sans.
Who would use Comic Sans for serious subject matter? It is obviously a whimsical child-like font, which would definitely look out of place on say, a cigarette warning label.

So, if everyone supposedly hates it so much, why is it still around? I think Vincent Connare answers this question beautifully when he says "Because sometimes it's better than Times New Roman, that's why".

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