Articles

Defending Comic Sans

by . April 15th, 2014

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Last week, we wrote an article about the common graphic design sins that some designers commit. One point we stated is the use of horrible fonts such as: Papyrus, Curlz MT, and Comic Sans. Today, we’re going to talk about more of probably the most hated font in the world that is Comic Sans. Why is the so-called font bashed very much by typographers and graphic designers alike? There’s even a website dedicated to ban it.

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Just a brief idea of what we’re talking about, Comic Sans is a font designed by the typographic engineer Vincent Connare for Microsoft and was first released on Windows 95. It was created as part of a Microsoft program for a dog’s speech bubbles.

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Many people hate Comic Sans mostly because of how unprofessional and childish it looks. According to David Kadavy, the “mismanagement of visual weight” is what caused the font to be visually unappealing. Stroke weight determines the legibility of a font. Even stroke weight equals more legible font.

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Despite of the hatred, some people argue in defense of the font.

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We came across a video by Vsauce called “A Defense of Comic Sans“. The video is made by blogger Michael Stevens and it basically gave the history of the font and several nerdy typographic trivia. He argued that the invention of Comic Sans is a major turning point in the history of typeface. He stated that Comic Sans is an evident reason for typography, that was once a very specialized art form, to be accessed by most of us.

Here are some arguments in defense of Comic Sans:

It was designed for on-screen use. 

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When used correctly on a screen, Comic Sans actually has better readability than Garamond.

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The British Dyslexia Association recommends using Comic Sans for text as it is “dyslexia friendly”.

It is Child friendly. 

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With its rounded edges and its handwritten aesthetic, Comic Sans seems friendly and accessible to children because it’s one of the fonts that looks like how we write.

Were those enough points for you? Here’s a very funny and sarcastic monologue written by Mike Lacher in the point-of-view of the font. If there is a “ban Comic Sans” internet movement, there’s also the Comic Sans Project (a Tumblr blog for Comic Sans defenders) by French designers Thomas Blanc and Florian Amoneau. The blog features various logos re-imagined using the much-hated font.

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In conclusion, Comic sans is not the problem, it’s the people who were using it inappropriately. It is not the font’s fault if we have decided to use it on documents, awnings, websites, or even gravestones.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gian (@gpbbautista) is a 20 year-old multimedia designer from Manila, Philippines. He specializes in graphic design, illustration, photography and interactive authoring. See his works on Behance or Tumblr.