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 Comic Sans and all its weird and wonderful uses.
Where did Comic Sans come from?
Comic Sans was designed by Vincent Connare (who himself, now hates Comic Sans) to be used 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 of the illustrative style.
Why do designers hate Comic Sans?
While we can’t speak for all designers, we think the general consensus isn’t so much that there’s anything inherently wrong with Comic Sans, it’s just that people use it in inappropriate places.
It was designed to be used for comics, animations, family and child-friendly uses. Not 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!”. Comic Sans is also considered the least trustworthy font.
If you want some more entertainment and great examples, simply 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 absolutely a time and place for Comic Sans, and it’s somewhere none of us, not even Connare, ever suspected.
Comic Sans is an incredibly readable font for people with dyslexia.
As accessibility in design becomes more of a concern (as it should) designers really need to consider how Comic Sans plays a role in accessing information to 15-20% of the population. That’s a huge number of people that have dyslexia 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 Sans to our arsenal to reach a broader group of people, then we think there are probably some great ways to use it strategically.