Comic Sans Reactions

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Last week I blogged about the font Comic Sans, after seeing an article about it and its creator published by the Wall Street Journal. Lots of people saw the original, and quite a few saw what I wrote, as it was linked to the discussions on various sites. I read them with interest and often amusement. I’d say more than half the reactions to the discussion were along the lines of, “I can’t believe anyone would bother to talk about, much less complain about a font!” But there were a few comments on the other side, either passionately for or against the use of Comic Sans, that I found entertaining. My favorite is this one by “PeckhamWry” on guardian.co.uk, a British newspaper site:  

Another reason “font fundamentalists” (like me) despise Comic Sans is that it has, in its own badly constructed way, become the establishment. People who use it think they’re being wacky, zany, informal, far more interesting than dull professional designers with their Futura and Helvetica, their Bembo and Didot. But really they’re just using yet another Microsoft product; it’s the typeface equivalent of the office joker – a deep conformity hidden under a cheap veneer of kookiness and cliche. It’s a joke you’ve heard a thousand times that wasn’t even funny the first time. It’s a Trainspotting poster in a student flat, a leprachaun hat on St Patrick’s day

If Comic Sans was music, it would be a Cheeky Girls song played on the tinny speakers of a mobile phone on the top deck of the 171. If it was a painting it would be a cheap laminated reproduction of The Scream. If it was food it would be a limp, damp sandwich at a motorway service station. If it was a book, it would be The Da Vinci Code. If it was a wine, it would be warm Jacob’s Creek chardonnay in a plastic glass at some godawful corporate bonding session. If it was a politician it would be William Hague in his baseball-cap wearing days.

Furthermore, Comic Sans is difficult to read – its irregular geometry produces no proper colour (WARNING: nerdy typographic terminology alert) which the eye needs to distinguish characters. This is especially a problem when people set large bodies of text in this face.

Truly, it is a boring, nasty little font that has insidiously inserted itself into our lives, and like the cancer it is, must be eradicated through painful measures. If you ever get emailed anything serious set in this face, refuse to read it. If you get an invite to a party that uses Comic Sans, don’t go – it will be full of people doing David Brent impressions.

I know someone who was fired by email, set in Comic Sans. I think that’s probably grounds for taking a case to an industrial tribunal.

There’s also a good discussion on the Digital Webbing lettering forum, where some other letterers get to have their say. 

A few people seemed to think I was “angry” about this issue, which is far from the truth, I just thought it made an interesting subject to analyze. I’m not on the “Ban Comic Sans” bandwagon, in fact I didn’t even know about it until reading the WSJ article.

A few more good comments are at the Subtraction site. And there are plenty more, but that’s enough on the subject from me, I think.

3 thoughts on “Comic Sans Reactions

  1. Marjorie

    I can’t find the link right now but I saw a letter (also to the Guardian, as it happens) from a teacher saying that she has found many dyslexic children find it easier to read than other fonts. (But your quote is more entertaining!)

  2. Myran

    Although it’ll never become as widespread as Comic Sans, I’m terribly disheartened to see that the horrible, evil (in its bland way) typeface Sand has slowly crept it’s way into products designed by what I would assume to be professional designers. Don’t they see the ugliness of this font? The indecisiveness, the half-hearted faux-edginess? On the other hand, it provokes me, so I suppose it might be art.

  3. Pingback: Various and Sundry: DVDs, Tech, HDTV, and More » Blog Archive » Return of the Link Dump

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