My Beef with Comic Sans
Boo me all you want. But I can’t stand comic sans.
I cringe at every email signature, every business sign, every website homepage that uses that typeface.
Yes, the font is ugly. Yes, the font is childish. But no, that’s not why it makes me sigh with despair.
Why would someone create such a spiteful font? Here’s the story.
Back in the 90s, while Vincent Connare worked at Microsoft, he received a beta version of Microsoft Bob, a software package designed for younger users. This package featured a dog named Rover that “spoke” to the user through message balloons – but the font was Times New Roman.
That font won’t do, said Connare. It doesn’t suit the comic situation.
He took it into his own hands to design an appropriate font for the talking dog. Comic books were his inspiration for what we now recognize as comic sans.
But the font wasn’t finalized in time for the release of Microsoft Bob. So it was released in the Windows 95 Plus Pack and later bundled in versions of Windows 95 and the comic movie program 3D Movie Maker.
And yes, it’s still included in Windows and Mac OS programs.
So, why all this love for such a goofy font? Connare shares his thoughts in this interview:
“Regular people who are not typographers or graphic designers choose Comic Sans because they like it. It’s as simple as that. Comic Sans isn’t complicated, it isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t the same old text typeface like in a newspaper. It’s just fun — and that’s why people like it.”
He goes on to say that comic sans haters are just jealous they didn’t invent the typeface…
But I’m not the only one whose skin crawls at the sight of it. In fact, there are many vocal haters of comic sans.
Like Holly and Dave Combs, the creators of Ban Comic Sans. They sum up my sentiments towards the font:
“While we recognize the font may be appropriate in a few specific instances, our position is that the only effective means of ending this epidemic of abuse is to completely ban Comic Sans.”
Comic sans is fitting for comics or picture books where the situation is playful. But when it leaks into professional scenarios like business cards or resumes, it becomes tacky.
The problem isn’t with the font. The problem is with how the user uses comic sans.
Take a hard look at your writing. What is the genre? Who is the audience? What is the intent of the content?
Then ask yourself: Is comic sans appropriate here?
Ninety-nine out of 100 times, the answer is no.
If the genre involves superheroes, the font can stay. If the font is in the near vicinity of professional, stick to a sleeker typeface.
Do you like comic sans? Share why you like or dislike the font below.
Ugh ugh I hate comic sans with a passion. Been meaning to write a blog post about it for ages.
Finding something written in comic sans is like walking through a craft fair and finding That One Stall. You know the one. Everyone else is selling gorgeous little figurines and kitschy earrings and amusing resin door stops, and this stall is filled with pot-holders. Poorly-sewn potholders, made of Wal-mart orange polyester, ringed in scratchy chemical lace. Yes, the owner worked hard on them; that doesn’t make them better.
And that is what comic sans is. In the wonderful, exciting world of typography, you chose *this*?
Ahem. I have strong feelings about that font. But you have it right, it’s just plain awful.
I’m so glad that you agree! The one that gets me the most is when employees use comic sans in their email signature. There are so many other fonts to show your talents and professionalism!
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I look forward to reading your future posts.
[…] Learn the history of the different fonts we write in, from Old English to Comic Sans […]
[…] all have a grammar rule or writing tool that gets under our skin when used incorrectly. My beef is with comic sans. His beef is with […]