In Defense of Comic Sans

Comic Sans is a widely talked and babbled about font with much criticism. Some designers disapprove its usage and some have even started campaigns to ban this font. You must be surprised by this kind of extreme reactions by designers and end users but it’s true. Once a major player in Typography is now left aside to die. Let’s have a sincere discussion in defense of the Font Family’s step-child.

Honk if you love Comic Sans

Anyone who has used a computer has seen the font called Comic Sans. Even if you don’t know it by name, you would probably recognize the shapes of the letters on sight. Why? Simply put – because it’s everywhere.

Where You Will Find Them

The Simpsons Movie

Billboard signs blow it up to words with letters several feet tall. Businesses use it for in-office paperwork and documents. Instant messengers love it for its clean san serif look. Web sites both professional and amateur have utilized it as a fun and friendly font that doesn’t look overly cold or official. Businesses have printed signs with it.

Car tires have it embossed in raised letters on their sides. People have had their tombstones engraved with it. In 2004, the Royal Canadian Mint even produced a special edition 25 cent coin featuring it.

What Is Your Opinion?

With Comic Sans being so widely-used by so many different kinds of people, one would expect everyone to think of it fondly, or at least respectably. Instead, the mere sight of the font’s familiar rounded letters can inspire impressive amounts of rage and hatred. A web search on Comic Sans will bring up dozens if not hundreds of pages of blogs, web sites, essays and more professing how much people despise little old Comic Sans. There is even a site with a petition to ban it!

Why do people hate it so much? More importantly, if the average person can’t stand the sight of Comic Sans, why do so many people still use it?

comic sans

Who Used It Successfully?

One of the most common responses from Comic Sans haters is that they think it is used improperly. The font was invented in 1994 by Microsoft designer Vincent Connare, and was originally intended purely for use as a font for the words in comic books’ word balloons. It was based on the hand-done lettering in several comic books that Connare had in his office at the time, and was designed just to be used in a children’s program that Microsoft was working on.

A surprise inside every box!

That program, Microsoft Bob, later fell through, but the wheels of fate had already started turning for the then-humble Comic Sans–it was packaged in several other Microsoft programs, including Windows 3D Movie Maker, before eventually becoming a part of Microsoft’s default font set in Windows from the 95 version onward.

Be Creative, Make It Your Own

Because it’s free and comes with Windows, the Comic Sans has been used in thousands of amateur web sites, which may explain why a lot of professionals shun it. Other reasons include the beliefs that Comic Sans is cheap, childish, stupid or ugly looking, poorly-designed, inappropriate for use in any serious capacity, has bad default kerning (the space between lines of text), has poor quality in printed work, is just plain over-used, or all of the above. According to its creator, Comic Sans was never intended for print, widespread use, or even to be distributed with anything beyond Microsoft Bob.

I'll help you to find a better font

Considering its humble beginnings, Comic Sans’ success is impressive; continued mass usage of the font speaks more of love for it than all of the complaints against it combined.

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  • Cocktail Dresses

    Not only is Palatino Sans a completely new typeface, it is also a completely new interpretation of the entire sans serif genre.

    • David Johnson

      Yeah…because most of the world’s just itching to replace something they got free without even having to do anything with something they have to pay $65 for…

      I’m sure designers – people to whom paying for fonts is normal – will use it. But if you think it has a chance to replace more than a single-digit percent of Comic Sans usage, well…

  • Habibies

    heheheh………… love u to forever ;)

  • Kristi

    In defense to all typefaces who get shunned… all typefaces have the potential to be successful. The success portion comes from the designer. Who cares if the default kerning is off? Go into illustrator and move it around yourself. That’s part of the designer’s work!

    However, I’d like to point out that, Helvetica is slowly becoming the new comic sans… we see helvetica EVERYWHERE. According to one of the pieces of advice they give is “DON’T USE FUCKING HELVETICA!” Another one is “Don’t follow fucking trends.” Helvetica is a trend. Be original. Be fresh. Reinvent. Do work.

  • Perry Clease

    Just don’t use it for body copy, especially when it is magenta on cyan. Otherwise it is fine

  • Houston web design

    Nice article, but this font should be used only when needed.
    It suits, but when used at suitable place.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  • ez

    Bob was not a children’s program. It was… well nevermind (read it: It was not a children’s program. Comic Sans is terminally ugly and you’re damn wrong.

  • Annu

    In defense for comic sans, I want to ad this.

    People started campaigns against the font, not coz the font is bad, its only coz wrong use of it at times.
    I have seen in my experience many dtp operators (who are not actual designers) find comic sans good looking and free flowing and since its hard for them to differentiate between good font and bad font, they end up making something without proper judgments.

    thanx for sharing.


  • Midge

    It’s not the average person that can’t stand the sight of comic sans, it’s those who understand for what it was made, and who know that it certainly does not exemplify a “clean san serif look.” It’s a sloppy, asymmetric and rather embarrassing font that has no place in any professional design.

    Just because a font is widely-used doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good font to use. That’s like saying that swear words are widely-used and therefore they should be respected. Mass usage of the font speaks more for ignorance of typography and a lack of creativity. Most people simply don’t care for fonts and don’t give any thought to their selection, just picking one from the two or three of which they know the names.

    Trends really have nothing to do with whether or not a font should be used. People shouldn’t stop using comic sans because it’s a trend, but they should stop using it because it’s awful and messy in nearly every situation.

    Also, you’re confusing kerning and line-spacing. Kerning is the space in between each character.

  • Keri

    Poor Comic Sans. At least consider his side:

  • Katrina Costedio

    Comic Sans I can handle when executed properly. I can identify with typography induced rage, however, because even a glimpse of Papyrus makes me want to go all Rocky Balboa on your ass.

  • Nimbus Maximus

    “In defense of Comic Sans?!”

    Go back to Russia, commie.

  • David Johnson

    Oh for pete’s sake, it’s a damn *font* – try to just relax.

    The reason it’s used so much is – as stated – it’s free and everyone has it. You want everyone to use a different font, fine, make it free and make sure everyone has it.

    The reason it’s used so much on the web is that designers know everyone has it…so if they use it on a website, it won’t default to Courier or something. Again, you want them to not use it so much, make sure everyone has the alternative…or get that whole “send the fonts with the webpage” thing working (again, for everybody).

  • Brandon

    My wife uses Comic Sans all the time.

    She is a grade 2 teacher, and this is one of the only stock fonts that she can find that uses proper letters for teaching printing. I think she mentioned especially the letters a and g.

  • Blogger Guy

    Great article but I dont think you have turned me into a comic sans lover :)

  • Mary

    It will probably come as no surprise to Brandon’s wife that Comic Sans is one of the few fonts recommended by several dyslexia associations, inluding the British Dyslexia Society, and by organisations dealing with people who have problems with their sight. A case of substance over style, I feel.

  • Sinbad Konick

    Be Creative and Make it Your Own…Nice say..

  • Joseph

    You totally put it they way it should….. in defense of comic sans

  • Pavan Somu

    Myself I am also in love with the comic sans fonts and it’s simply wonderful to see them gathering here. Plus, there are fonts I haven’t seen before!! The list is good, good and really good.

  • Jai

    Hahah! I love how the title was made. Very nice! Thanks for this great share!

  • Satya Thakur

    The font is as such very good, but shouldn’t be used for professional purposes like presentation or resumes.

  • Simon Clark

    After reading this article, I have come to one conclusion. It is the Justin Bieber of fonts. Everyone knows about it, it’s successful, yet its a hideous monster of westernised society, disguised as youthful and fun; and everyone with taste hates it.

  • Prabha

    The Comic Sans font is such a beautiful font and it should not be banned rather it should be used it wherever necessary.