Comic Sans isn’t evil, maybe

Pax Arcana

Comic Sans is at once the most overused and despised font in the, um, fontosphere. Originally developed to mimic comic book lettering, Comic Sans has become the go-to typeface for the typographically tone deaf for more than a decade.

bancomicsansThere are even groups dedicated to eradicating Comic Sans from usage.

But according to the Wall Street Journal, the anti-Comic Sans movement may be just as ignorant as the ruddy-faced secretaries and HR reps who use the font for every memo and letter they write. Vincent Connare, creator of Comic Sans, says he’s not to blame:

“If you love it, you don’t know much about typography,” Mr. Connare says. But, he adds, “if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby.”

A quick check with the bold-faced and italic Mrs. Pax Arcana confirms this notion. The problem is not with the font itself — but with the rampant and widespread misapplication of it. Blaming the font itself is like blaming beer and the Pope for spread of the Irish population. Okay maybe that’s a bad example.

Anyway, it’s not Connare’s fault:

Mr. Connare, 48 years old, now works at Dalton Maag, a typography studio in London, and finds his favorite creation — a sophisticated typeface called Magpie — eclipsed by Comic Sans. He cringes at the most improbable manifestations of his Frankenstein’s monster font and rarely uses it himself, but he says he tries to be polite when he meets people excited to be in the presence of the creator. Googling himself, he once found a Black Sabbath band fan site that used Comic Sans. The site’s creators even credited him. “You can’t regulate bad taste,” he says.

You can if Congress passes any of the bills I sent to them anonymously over the past 15 years.

Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will [WSJ]



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4 responses to “Comic Sans isn’t evil, maybe

  1. Is your wife part of this group?

  2. I thought the actual origin of the Comic Sans font was more interesting when I read this piece, “Microsoft Bob” which I guess was a project for Bill Gates’ future wife Melinda.

    Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer named Bob as “one project we had undertaken … where we decided that we have not succeeded and let’s stop”.

    “Despite being discontinued before Windows98 was released, Microsoft Bob continued to be widely panned in reviews and popular media.

    Additionally, some designs of the Bob cartoons are still used in other Microsoft products:

    Bob’s face is used in Windows Live Messenger as a “Nerd Smiley”

    Will and The Dot are now Office Assistants (Will was only in Office 97).

    The yellow dog “Rover” can be found in the search function of Windows XP

    Rover’s animations (like typing on a computer) inspired the Office Assistant “Rex”

    Rocky, an animated dog, appears in the Microsoft program Greetings Workshop. The filename for Rocky is Rover, as in Microsoft Bob’s Rover.”

  3. Joseph Kennerly

    Ironic, isn’t it, that in the midst of all of this discussion of propriety in writing, appears one of the most misused language artifacts existing today: the symbol representing a ban comprises a circle with a slash in it going from upper left to lower right. How many times, including in this article, do we see it reversed with the slash from upper right to lower left? It’s easy to remember – the NO-NO sign contains the backslash, as Micro$oft uses in their broken directory delineations, as (\). This does not nearly eclipse, though, the ubitiquous misuse of the verb comprise (look it up), which I have used correctly here.

  4. The ghostbusters disagree with you:

    And while you’re right about rampant misuse of the verb comprise, you’re hilariously wrong about the spelling of “ubiquitous.”

    Thanks for playing, though.

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