Why You (Probably) Hate Comic Sans

By Jess C on 18 December 2019

Ahh, Comic Sans… the font that everyone loves to hate.

 It’s one of those rare, universally unpopular things in life – the typeface equivalent of the word “moist”. A font that’s so disliked, clashing factions would probably lay down their arms and hold hands to share a collective complaint.

 But when Vincent Connare invented Comic Sans in 1994, he never set out to offend anyone.

Created especially for some of the first Microsoft home computers, the typeface was intended for cartoon characters’ speech bubbles that would pop up to help users navigate Microsoft Windows for the first time.

 Now, over two decades later, Comic Sans occupies a dubious place in the design community… mostly acting as the hate object for the visually literate. But whether you love it or loathe it – chances are, it’s probably loathing – there’s no denying its important place in visual culture. For a typeface, it’s achieved an astounding level of fame. And the world’s most disputed font has continued to be used regularly and recognised, not just by creatives and designers, but by anyone who’s ever opened a Word document.

 When recalling his creation, Connare commented, “Cartoon dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman. My original idea was that it was going to be used for kids. It wasn’t made for everybody to like it.” But surprisingly, Comic Sans soon began spreading like wildfire – appearing on everything from newsletters to websites, on advertisements and even in the legal letters of Trump’s former attorney. When two typographers started a “Ban Comic Sans” movement in 2002, it had the noughties equivalent of ‘going viral’: with many other designers starting to voice their disdain for the zany font.

 You know things are getting a bit out of hand when you get invited to speak at the Design Museum in London and certain “type traditionalists” protest against you being there.

I mean, damn.

So whether you feel that Comic Sans is the typeface that manspreads across paper in uncomfortable strokes thicker than necessary, or that it’s the fun-times font that doesn’t warrant all this hate: I’ll leave you with this quote from its creator: “If you love Comic Sans, you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans, you need a new hobby.”

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