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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.