You know those things everybody loves to hate? – things like Core, Nickleback, Nicolas Cage. And, of course, Comic Sans.
If you think you know anything about fonts, odds are you’ve laughed scornfully at a poster that committed the most deadly of design sins of using Comic Sans. You probably did this pretentiously to your friends or, really, anybody that would listen. You can find several websites, t-shirts and clubs devoted solely to banning Comic Sans.
I know I frequently make fun of the font. Heck, I did yesterday.
But this most-loathed font? It deserves some respect.
Comic Sans was created by Microsoft typeface designer Vincent Connare. He was inspired to create the font when he noticed a trial copy of a Microsoft software package that was created to be user friendly. But the software package used Times New Romans- a font Connare thought seemed too severe and serious for its purpose. His solution was creating Comic Sans based off of the lettering used for graphic novels.
Though it wasn’t used for this particular software, it was used for a later Microsoft project. When it was included as an available typeface in the Windows 95 operating system, Comic Sans spread like the plague.
Every church, school, small business and grandmother used Comic Sans for every purpose. And so, comically, the font that was developed to better fit a context was misused in all of the wrong contexts.
The world got fed up with the overuse of Comic Sans, and a worldwide cult-like hatred of the font exploded.
But the world owes something to this bullied font. Comic Sans started a revolution. People started caring about typography. Twenty years ago, no one thought about fonts. Now, everyday people use fonts intentionally to convey an emotion or to capture a desired tone.
If you’ve never thought about what font you use, I promise, you are influenced by people’s font choices whether you know it or not, so, at the risk of sounding overdramatic, use your fonts for good.
Even Comic Sans can be used for good. There is a time and a place for Comic Sans. Good luck trying to find that time or place, but it’s out there.
And Connare, the designer of Comic Sans. You’d think the poor guy would have entered a witness protection program by now, but he takes the ridicule surprisingly well. He often uses it as a conversation starter at dinner parties.
So the next time you start to ridicule this persecuted typeface, pause and remember what it’s done for the world, and then go ahead and make fun of it because it really is pretty silly.