A Divisive Font
Comic Sans. The bane of every graphic designer’s existence. But, it’s a font we find the general public LOVES. Is it wrong to love it? Is it wrong to hate it? We’re going to unpack this famous font and all its weird and wonderful uses.
Where did Comic Sans come from?
Vincent Connare (who himself, now hates Comic Sans) designed the font for use with Microsoft Bob, a user-interface character on early Windows machines. Bob was originally programmed with Times New Roman, a very common, old, and structured serif. It didn’t feel quite right, so Comic Sans was designed with a comic book feel, more fitting to the illustrative style.
Why do designers hate Comic Sans?
While we can’t speak for all designers, the general consensus isn’t so much that there’s anything wrong with Comic Sans. It’s that people use it in inappropriate places.
Meant for comics, animations, and family and child-friendly uses, this font is frequently misappropriated.
We have seen it on legal documents, scholarship applications, corporate email signatures, and so much more. In those instances, it screams “Don’t take me seriously! I am a joke!” It is also considered the least trustworthy font.
If you want some more entertainment and great examples, Google “inappropriate uses of Comic Sans”.
When should we use Comic Sans?
We’re guilty of being part of the “love to hate” Comic Sans group. Though research shows that there is a time and place for this font, and it’s somewhere none of us, not even Connare, ever suspected.
It is an incredibly readable font for people with dyslexia.
As accessibility in design becomes more of a concern (as it should) designers need to consider how it plays a role in accessing information. 15-20% of the population has dyslexia. That’s a huge number of people that we, as designers, need to consider when creating our materials.
While designers care about aesthetics, we also care about functionality. At the end of the day, we are communicators. Dedicated to distilling information down in beautiful and usable ways. If that means adding comic fonts to our arsenal to reach a broader group of people, then there are some great ways to use it strategically.