Comic Saaaaaaanns!

Ah Comic Sans. The bane of the typographic world. As a designer I am acutely aware of the presence of Comic Sans in everyday life. Years of study and working in the industry leads you to analyse design and typography all the time. A good example is when dining at a restaurant. I always end up looking at the typography and layout of the menu. I can’t help it. Subsequently every time you encounter Comic Sans in everyday life it fills you with an almost uncontrollable rage. It is THE worst font ever made, although Papyrus and Curlz MT might come close. Comic Sans wins out because of its widespread use. You’ll see it on signs, in shop windows, in pamphlets and catalogues, on posters and even websites. It is EVERYWHERE. Some medical magazines that I have received are written entirely in Comic Sans. I am sure the author sought to use a ‘fun’ font to help make it bright and cheerful, but the end result makes me want to vomit with rage.

This is possibly the major issue with Comic Sans, its use in inappropriate situations. For example, signs for a bone marrow transplant clinic, a church, job ads, office signs, warning signs at a swimming pool etc. Comic Sans when used for children’s party invitations etc is ok (well not really, but I’ll let it slide) but sadly its use is not restricted to those applications.

Microsoft Word should bear most of the blame. Vincent Connare (the guy who invented Comic Sans) never intended it for public use. It was to be used in speech bubbles for some Paper Clip type pop up. Since then it has become a native font in MS Word. Non-designers and amateur designers, not having access to complete font sets and professional software, will often use Word to make designs for posters, pamphlets etc. Sadly, Comic Sans is used because there are simply no better options that come standard with these programs. Whereas a professional designer will consider how typographic choices will affect a final design, non designers (and amateur designers) will often choose a font because they like it, regardless of its impact on the final design. There are plenty of alternatives for Comic Sans but not all are free and it’s not something the average person goes looking for, or cares about for that matter. If that sounds elitist it is not my intention, the tools and experience just aren’t available for those outside of professional design.

I guess in the end all we can hope for is to educate the children. If we teach them early enough then who knows, maybe in 5-10 years time Comic Sans will be just a bad memory.

Posted by Cam

Further reading:
There are a whole range of reasons from a design stand point why Comic Sans is terrible if you’re looking at it and can’t express why it is so horrible. It is all explained here if you are interested: http://www.kadavy.net/blog/posts/why-you-hate-comic-sans/

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About dgmadvertising

DGM Advertising are a full service, marketing, creative and advertising agency based in Melbourne. With 11 years in the business, DGM Advertising are a boutique agency who specailise in digital content, social media and online marketing.
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