Thursday, 11 June 2015

Why does everyone hate comic sans? | The Small Desk

Comic Sans

Long, long ago, in a distant past, where the Nokia 3310 was the most desirable phone on the market, and snake was the game that stopped you from doing your homework, I studied Graphic Design at school. Back then, I had no idea about the hate the wider world had for the now infamous Comic Sans. 

Unleashed to the world in 1995 by Microsoft, Comic Sans was designed by a man named Vincent Connare, who never meant to cause offence, upset so many graphic designers, and least of all did he expect a campaign to ban the font to materialise! 

It all started because the little dog in the corner of Word (remember him!?), who is meant to help you out, was talking in Times New Roman, and Connare thought this was just plain wrong. It was time for a more user-friendly font to be introduced and paired with this talking dog. That font was drawn together in a mere three days, and that font was, you guessed it, was Comic Sans. It was a font intended for one specific purpose, but it then got dragged into the default font packages Microsoft provided.

Those who want to 'ban' Comic Sans argue that the typeface has been used far too widely, and in the wrong context. They argue that the font is childish and casual: it cannot be taken seriously. It has become a font that is a joke in itself to the design community, and if you use it your work instantly looks unprofessional. There is even a song called 'The Comic Sans song' that has almost 400,000 views! My favourite line is: 'if you want your designs to look like they're done by little girls'!

Back in November last year Connare told Dezeen that people who don't like Comic Sans don't understand that in design you have a brief. He stuck to that brief and designed a friendly font for the dog. Little did he know it was to become one of the most widely used, and hated, fonts on the planet. 

What the Comic Sans haters want is for the font not to be used in the wrong context. It is a playful font, and should not be used for anything serious, or slightly serious, or even a little bit funny... ok, ok, what I really mean is... not at all. Nothing brings back the nineties to me like Comic Sans.


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