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There’s Nothing Funny About Comic Sans

Comic Sans

This week’s guest writer for the Weekly Report is Jr. Graphic Designer AJ Stuit, a font fanatic who believes typography is more expressive than the Mona Lisa. If you can’t tell, she’s pretty sarcastic. 

As a graphic designer, I often find myself scrolling through the endless selection of fonts that I’ve collected over the years (my MacBook weighs five pounds more than yours, I’m betting). So many fonts look neat and pretty and sophisticated. Others are bold and brash and bodacious. One, in particular, makes designers everywhere cringe — Comic Sans. When I look at this font I ask myself, “Wow, is it 1995?” 

Well, it was designed by Vincent Connare in 1994, and was originally meant for use in a cartoon character’s speech bubble. But it exploded in popularity, partially due to its high ranking in a list of alphabetical fonts and because it’s been a mainstay of every Windows-based system for 25 years.

YES, Comic Sans is very legible. It has legitimate uses. Elementary school teachers use it for hallway bulletin boards, along with another childish font CurlzMT. Comic Sans can be beneficial to kids who have reading disabilities because it resembles handwriting. But this common classroom usage is most likely a large reason that the design-inclined put it on the naughty list.
Designers typically place Comic Sans in the “Do Not Use” category, except for very special cases. The below fonts are more examples of fonts you shouldn’t use. #Ever

In reality, no font is truly bad — it’s just not right for the job. Curlz MT is meant for birthday cards for little girls. Jokerman is meant for business cards…if you’re a professional rodeo clown, and Papyrus should only be used for movies called Avatar.

and last but not least…

If you’re communicating with kindergartners, then by all means, drop some Comic Sans on the coloring page design, but it should never be used on company-wide memos or your website. From my perspective, design is a method of communication and expression, not a set of absolute laws that MUST be followed NO MATTER WHAT. So, do we advise against these fonts? Yes. Should you break our rule and use them anyway? Sure, go for it. I’m AJ, and that’s my #TwoCents.