The Comic Sans font. It’s probably among the most hated typefaces in the world, alongside several familiar ones (we’re looking at you, Times New Roman). And it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t get a lot of love, especially from the graphic design community.
AlphaGraffix.com, a design firm based in Oklahoma, predominantly uses fonts other than Comic Sans. And apparently, the typeface is infamous enough that some people are actively trying to have it banned. It even has a website (BanComicSans.com), which stresses that Comic Sans’ massive misuse caused it to garner such hate.
A Brief History
Vincent Connare of Microsoft created Comic Sans in 1994. It was originally intended for use with Microsoft’s ‘Bob’, a program envisioned to provide user-friendly interfaces for Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, and Windows NT. Connare based Comic Sans’ design on the lettering from comic books he had in his office: Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. The former was lettered by Dave Gibbons; the latter by John Constanza. Connare neve
r specifically intended to release Comic Sans for the public at all.
The Origins of The Hate
According to experts, much of the hate that Comic Sans gets relates to its grave misuse. An article on BBC points to two qualities believed to the origin: it’s too ubiquitous and it looks irritably simple, as if it was designed by a toddler and not by an experienced professional. Helvetica (the font often hailed as a ‘better’ version of Comic Sans) is equally simple in looks, but still has an air of sophistication with it.
How misused is Comic Sans? Very. At times, this unremarkably simple font has been seen in serious or formal circles, like business documents—a place where it does NOT belong. The single biggest issue that people have with Comic Sans is that it portrays an immature, extremely informal, childish mood. Now, imagine that font that seems like it’s throwing unreasonable smirks at you, and it’s being used on a warning sign. No matter what happens, it just wouldn’t work. At all.
The hate doesn’t only cover aesthetics, either. Experts dislike Comic Sans criticize the font for specific technical drawbacks. For instance, the font’s kerning and weighting are inconsistent, making text appear terrible in large or small concentrations. Even comic book artists wouldn’t touch Comic Sans (ironically).
Comic Sans deserves the hate it has contracted, and experts themselves have spoken. So, when you choose to design (or have something designed) for any purpose, avoid the font at all costs. People may not notice anything ‘hip’ or out of the ordinary in your design, but you save yourself from the stigma.