Jessica Helfand | Essays

The Global Curse of Comic Sans

"Ban Comic Sans," illustration by Dave and Holly Combs, 2004

Ah, Spain, homeland of Dali, land of bullfighting, tapas and epic siestas. Visitors to Barcelona and the Costa Brava are somewhat obligated to acclimate to the mysterious Catalan dialect, a cross between Spanish, Portugese and pidgin Esperanto, where every third word seems to begin with the letter "X." In this coastal region slung just below the Pyrenees, one might expect to see evidence of the enduring cultural tensions between Spain and Catalonia — different kinds of signs or symbols, for instance — but on the surface at least, no such rift is exposed. Instead, the country clings to a visual language that celebrates the goofy: this is a country awash in Comic Sans.

"Goofy" is a subjective classification, often targeted by typographic elitists (Gadget and Sand come to mind) but in all fairness, Comic Sans is in a class all its own. And Microsoft's not the only culprit: "Ban Comic Sans" Founder Dave Coombs attacks Apple's lookalike typeface, — Chalkboard — on the grounds that it's a poseur font, lacking the angular components which offset the vertical stress of the main strokes in the lowercase characters such as m, n, and h.

None of this, however, stops the public from loving it. In Typophile's online forums, a designer rightly observes that the vast majority of laymen love Comic Sans. "Why do you think it's all over the place?" he asks. "No 'decent' corporation cares what a minority of specialists thinks."

And he's right. Who cares if a small minority of deeply principled letterform diehards care about the wanton proliferation of a font that single-handedly throws typographic evolution back, say, a few thousand years or so?

Clearly, there's no accounting for taste.

Some time ago on the web, the Comic Sans Appreciation Society (designated by an "I-heart-comic-sans" banner prominently positioned on its home page) proudly noted that Comic Sans was at one time the font of choice over at NASA. (The implicit suggestion here is that once we start colonizing on planets other than our own, Comic Sans will be the common currency.) NASA has since upgraded its online typography — though not, it should be noted, the type on it's kids' site.

On this particular topic I have my own Comic Sans pet peeve, which is that it has become the default typeface for anything associated with children: every school newsletter, every ad aimed at kids, everything that smacks of the 12-and-under crowd. It used to be that just a wobbling baseline did that (I guess it suggested that real children couldn't possibly be expected to write straight, so they couldn't be expected to read straight either) but once Comic Sans came along, there was enough wobbliness in the letterforms themselves to leave the baseline just as it was. After years of rigorous brainwashing, my children are mercifully Comic Sans averse, just as they know that anything with 4% real juice isn't actually juice and that Barbie's feet are orthopedically deformed. Cartoon characters — and the typefaces that accompany them — are all very well and good, so long as they come with good typography.

Which brings us back to Comic Sans.

On his website, Comic Sans designer Vincent Connare offers a public apology. "Comic Sans," he admits, "was never designed as a typeface but as a solution to a problem with the often overlooked part of a computer program’s interface, the typeface used to communicate the message. The inspiration came at the shock of seeing Times New Roman used in an inappropriate way." (No doubt Stanley Morrison was already turning in his grave over that one.) A quick search on Flickr reveals that Connare is one of the most prolific posters in the Comic Sans Pool: his documentation of its wide dissemination across Europe and the United States certainly reinforces the font's ubiquity, leading one to conclude that there is, apparently, no inappropriate way to use Comic Sans. Which is maybe what makes it so inappropriate.

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Graphic Design, Typography

Comments [74]

I completely agree with what you're saying Jessica. It is an awful font, to non-design people, it looks like a "playful" font. People that don't have an eye for these things, think that lack of structure means playful, which is a hoax. I also pronounce Apple Chancery as a horrible font that's overused and abused by anyone that gets a hold of a design program or computer for that matter. The swashes alone, feel like knives driven into my kidney, repeatedly. Thanks for the article Jessica.

a fellow ugly font hater,


Perhaps it's all in a name. The list of fonts on any given computer has to be in the dozens (at least). A non designer might settle on which ever font sounds as though it'll do the trick.

"I need a fun font for the invite to my son's play," I think to myself looking at the myriad of possibilities Word affords me. "Oooh! 'Comic Sans,' that sounds fun. And sophisticated too!"

Another one that really gets my goat is Impact designed by Geoffrey Lee. It was a favorite with many of my fellow design students back in the day. Favored for it's... impact?


It's not surprising I guess. The names Gotham, AkzidenzGrotesque, News Gothic, Dante, Sabon, do little to describe the well considered proportions of strokes and counters paces.
Ian Searcy

And he's right. Who cares if a small minority of deeply principled letterform diehards care about the wanton proliferation of a font that single-handedly throws typographic evolution back, say, a few thousand years or so?

I hit the floor laughing over this because it's so true.

excellent article.

However I have to wonder why fonts like Comic Sans/ Sand/etc. are so popular too the Non-Designer.

Maybe it's a way to add some humor, humanity (a butt-ugly humanity at that) into the endless blah-ness of modern life.

If you're going to have to type up a report about how widget X has increased output by 2.2% over a period of 5 holiday sessions, setting that report in Comic Sans is in my opinion a kind of futile cry for meaning and worth in a otherwise lacking existence/ content.

Same thing applies to those lovely Myspace pages set in comic sans and cluttered with photos, music, videos, etc. etc. Ugly as hell but still falls within the rubric of "futile cry for meaning and worth in a otherwise lacking existence."

So is the problem Comic Sans, or the blah-ness of most people's existence/ the world?
Thomas Jockin

If one is a populist designer one must love comic sans. It seems to be an elitist point of view (and a trendy one at that) to assume hatred for this innocent font. let people use it all they want, we know better as design pro's, but does it really kill you to see some grandma typesetting a birthday party flyer meant for ten toddlers in comic sans? why don't you spend some time tackling real issues, or promote a better font, or get people to stop bundling it in software.

The "non designers" know it's ugly and they're slapping us in the face (sorry) for all the intrusive advertising and graphic garbage we shove down there throats everyday. I heard a rumor that these same "non designers" hold secret meetings to discuss the purchasing of knock off sneakers, designer furniture and purses.
Tony B.

Francisco, I don't believe "populist designer" and "Comic Sans Defender" necessarily go hand-in-hand. While I do feel more at ease with Beatrice Ward's theories than Microsoft's, I don't honestly think I land in the "elitist" camp. Nonetheless, I will rush to Jessica's side, carrying a flag, in a heartbeat. Comic Sans, as a typeface, does physically bother me. It's literally uncomfortable to look at. Happy, friendly, perhaps, but unresolved and unconvincing, I say. Sort of on the order of this poor sap. And I'd also say the usage of Comic Sans has done more to damage its reputation than the actual design ever could. It's not the widespread use that does it; it's more to do with how very inappropriately it's typically used out in the lab that is the real world. Just say no to Comic Sans.

In fact, why doesn't somebody design an alternative we can all live with? Something that makes the masses happy and warm, and doesn't make us cringe? It's a challenge (and perhaps an interesting social experiment)! Anyone willing to accept?
Don Whelan

I'd love to see some photographic evidence (as cringe-inducing as it might be) of this proliferation of Comic Sans in Spain. I spent a month in Barcelona back in 2004 and I can't say I was struck by any rampant abuse of that particular font.

If you want a good laugh, check out this "loving" tribute to another oft-maligned typeface:
I heart papyrus.

And of course, Flickr's comic sans group, to which Vincent himself often contributes.

I dont feel the problem is that Comic Sans is used per-se, but that it is hideously overused for a large number of tasks. As a font for kids 'entertainment' and attention, comics and other child-like themes it is very effective, however its miss use is indeed single-handedly throws typographic evolution back, say, a few thousand years or so?

I myself can't seem to come to terms with why that font, over the thousands of others, is used near constantly... Its hardly attractive or fit for many purposes IMO.

On a recent visit to Cornwall, I saw everything from pub menus, arts & crafts fairs, under age drinking signs and road diversions all set in that loving font, Comic Sans. A superb, expensive restaurant had its sumptuous dishes loving laid out in that font. Even my manager at my previous job, PC World :/, set out all his staff memos and formal notices (including disciplinaries) in Comic Sans.

It got to the point that I said the infamous words 'Comic Sans must die' so many times, it just needed a clance at my friends for them to know what I was thinking... I'm done now! ;)
Kieren messenger

This is a great article and the same thing is happening here in Australia. A collegue and I were at an Apple seminar and they pulled up the 'chalkboard' font and we both audibly cringed in unison and half the class turned around and stared at us.

"What?" we ask. "We hate that font" ....

I also found that a lot of beginner classes for things use that font in presentations, I wonder if that is how it gains part of its popularity. It's not a chalkboard anymore, they need to stop thinking it is.

Comic Sans, please go away!
Jamie Madden

I have no design background, so you can count me as a design layman, and I positively hate Comic Sans. I agree with the article completely: I've been sadly seeing the font more and more frequently. Fortunately, here in Portugal we still don't have it on many public displays. However, ever since my company sent me an official IRS form entirely in Comic Sans, I've been having trouble taking my taxes seriously...
Joao Gil

You know what, I almost want to see a poster made from only Comic Sans and Lens Flare in Photoshop, any takers?
Erik B

The prevelance in children's graphics is interesting in light of another cluster of over use I've seen - human resources memos. The "humanizing" effect others have referred to is probably in play here, but also an attempt to inject a sense of fun as a alternative to the most common business tyepface - Times New Roman. In this sense, these non-designers are grabbing at the same straw so many pros do - pretty something up if you don't have the time/inclination to make the underlying content valuable.
Todd W.

There is also a another free font that's been overused (good dog or something like that)... i don't think that people are stupid or have bad taste... They just don't have many good looking fonts for free...
Who would pay 100$ for a font to make a birthday party flyer or search over the net for hours to fint a decent type?

May be designers, should use sexier names and release better fonts for free... then people would use them.

Of course it's irritating to see bad looking bevels, rainbow distorted fonts... but hey guys, it's also the fun part of it, that can sometimes give us inspiration to create better designs...

A good post with a very bad intro: catalan is a language no a dialect as you wrote. And Catalonia is nation without state, like Scotland or Quebec. For all of us, catalan language is important piece of our culture. Don't let the bad topics, and in this case an offensive one , distort good points.
Fins aviat...

Great post, though it is interesting how many times this topic appears and results in the same discussion. I would agree with those above who note that it is most likely a symptom of being both free, and packaged with an operating system.. I don't buy that the intent is malicious, or even that there is a 'love' of the font among non-designers, rather within the scope of the typefaces immediately available to a user without having to purchase or download a new font, comic sans comes closest to communicating the desired feel.

I can't help but think that if we really cared about the overuse of comic sans, someone might step up to design a more favourable alternative and endeavour to have it bundled with some ubiquitous bit of software.

speaking of this effect, it may not be long before we are saying the same about Rosewood..
ben millen

I'm one of those that have been guilty for writing memos to children (I'm a teacher) in Comic Sans. Personally, I don't like it. I hate relying on the same font over and over. The problem for me is the "g" and the "a". When young children are learning to write, it's hard to get them used to that squiggly thingy called a "g" but resembling some sort of insect, found in most other fonts. Likewise with the "a". But slowly I'm letting it go, and will only go back to comic sans now when I've exhausted all the other legible ones.
John Mutford

I actually see Algerian a lot more often than comic sans...


I actually see Algerian a lot more often than comic sans...



You get it, Jessica.

It is also the preferred typeface of all those freakie people like the secretary in Office Space. Someone got a case of the mondays?

"Maybe designers, should use sexier names and release better fonts for free...then people would use them"

I think Dogmatheque made a good point here, as a Designer I've lost track of all the sweet fonts that I've managed to somehow get hold off over the years but for a non designer faced with word, and the default font choices, I do fear that their choice of fonts may be limited.

I personally feel that if in doubt use Arial but then I'm not a 40 year old mother of two making a birthday flyer ;)
Tony Goff

No puedo estar más en desacuerdo, Barcelona una ciudad invadida por el mal gusto?? La typo Comic pot todas partes?? No sé dónde ha estado el articulista, pero no en Catalunya...y por cierto, no es un dilecto el catalan, es un idioma, como el español o el inglés...la ignorancia no solamente está en la estética por lo que veo.
Sin acritud sea dicho de paso ;)

Oscar, here's a perfect example.

Jessica Helfand

Incredible, another sad case of of 'type fascism' on DO. Leave 'Comic Sans' alone - it's a classic, it may not perfect, but who is?.... How pleasantly surprised I was to discover that a 'Comic Sans group' exists - there's hope! - If you don't like it you don't have to use it, so shut up! Freedom of choice, I say - if graphic designers were really so good at what they do then people out there would know of the many other alternatives available, THEN perhaps it wouldn't be used so much.

It's been my observation that most folks in business simply lack the ability to separate one font from another, be it serif or sans serif.

I have put Times New Roman next to Trajan Pro and folks in my office have not been able to tell the difference. Ditto for Helvetica, Myriad, Futura, etc. It's amazing to me that these fonts can be observed as being identical even to an untrained eye.

With this in mind, I have to say I understand why so many people gravitate toward hideous fonts like Comic Sans (Papyrus is another obvious example): they're the only fonts that look different to them.

Your mileage may vary. This is just what I've observed.
Erik Ratcliffe


ken frederick

It's legible, not awkward, has its own character (somehow) - this is what I normally call a "good font".
Connaire is not responsible for the massive misuse of that type.



Well done, Jessica! In related news, here's my recent post about the Georgia typeface, spurred on by a recent IHT article about the font.
Armistead Booker

From the perspective of handwriting analysis, Comic Sans does indeed represent humor, gaiety, sweetness, childness, etc. albiet all in a very mainstream, watered-down, sort of way. So subconciously, its mass appeal is more than understandable.

Although it represents a utopia I don't care for, I neither like nor dislike it. It is what it is. And who knows how lauded it may be 50 years from now, when time tempers us and nostagia makes us find Comic Sans enchanting?

And anyhow, Papyrus is more revolting.

The whole first paragraph is unbelievable. To say that catalan is a spanish dialect is the same as saying that Comic Sans belongs to the Akzidenz Grotesk typographic family. And of course there's nobody "obligated to acclimate to the mysterious Catalan". Will you ever say that the people that visit Paris "are obligated to acclimate to french"?

I agree that it's just a matter of looking for a font that looks like *something*.

Having been nailed by I heart Papyrus I've been initiated into the world of the font-elite. However, I have NO patience to look at hundreds of fonts. Serif or not, they all look so similar I get bored very quickly. I don't have the facility to be ably to identify a good font from a bad one when the differences are so subtle. I'd rather let the people who actually know and care about fonts decide for me.

I'd like a "manual of style" sort of guide of font-elite-approved typefaces for various purposes. I'd rather the font nerds out there offer some easy tips or just fix my font for me rather than mock me for my ignorance. Although I guess mocking is more fun.

Starting an article with topics about Barcelona as the, bullfighting, tapas and epic siestas is just a desmostration of a complete ignorance, and a very bad taste comming for someone who writes for "Design and culture". Is like to talk about the ignorance, arrogance, and bad taste of americans just visiting NY one weekend. Barcelona is today one of the favourites professional destinations in europe for architects, designers, writers, artist...ComicSans?, well, the only person taht you mention in your article "Dalí" relaunched the type Bodoni as a selfdistinctive sign. He also spoked Catalan, a language older than Spanish and spoken by more people than some european countries. Barcelona has forbitten the bullfights long time ago, and the only bullfight who is still popular in Spain in San Fermines, in wich each year die someone just because is drunk. Always american, by the way.

I can't find this cover of a Creative Review which dates back to like 2 years.. Made in comic sans and it was sick!

For me, the misuse is central to my dislike of Comic Sans. I often feel that perhaps the world would be better off if the Adobe suite and MS office hadn't made it so easy for any Joe to fire up a desktop and call himself a designer.

Can anyone give me a logical reason as to why comic sans shouldn't be used? Jessica mentions that no corporation cares what a minority of specialists thinks. But they rightly shouldn't if said specialists' knowledge is based purely on opinion. Imagine if one day, all the marine biologists in the world got together and decided that it was absolutely inappropriate to study humpback whales. And, when asked for justification, the only reasons they could give are: 1) that the whale is over-studied, and 2) too many people study humpback whales in inappropriate ways. As absurd as it sounds, the general populace wouldn't be able to do anything about it. They couldn't just go out and get a boat and observation equipment and start studying the whales themselves. They have neither the funds, nor time to undertake an endeavor like that.

Now consider the same scenario with a typeface. All the designers in the world could say that comic sans should not be used for (insert your reasons here). If those reasons are not based in logic or fact, chances are, the average person will disregard the designer's opinion if they happen to like the typeface. And here is the difference: the average person has the ability to disregard the designer's opinion. Unlike mounting a whaling expedition, John Doe has the ability to circumvent the designer by employing no other tools beyond a drop-down menu in Microsoft Word.

Maybe comic sans is just a scapegoat for our feelings of powerlessness...

It's used a lot because it's a friendly and free font -- and what's more, it's one of the few fonts that are supported by default on the web. So, if you don't want to use Comic Sans on a website targeted at younger children, what font would you recommend? Georgia and TNR are hard to read on the screen, Arial is fine but a bit cold for kids ... there are no other choices, really. If you had to create a standards-compliant, child-friendly website in a world where 90% of your site's visitor use a PC, what font would you use?

Catalan it's not a dialect, it's a language like english, spanish or french! It is spoken or understood by as many as 10 million people who live not only in Andorra and Spain, but also in parts of France and in the city of Alghero in Sardinia, Italy.

"a cross between Spanish, Portugese and pidgin Esperanto" WTF!!!!

It's incredible that a writer of "design and culture" can say such things about Catalonia. I see you've spent some days in a "tourist topics region" without wanting to know nothing about the region you were visiting.
The example link you've provided is nonsense: yes, it talks about Catalonia, but is written by Richard Walker (not a catalan name, sure) and the domain is from UK!
Bad taste design is everywhere throughout the world. You can't say is a particular region's monopoly. For example bancomicssans.com, the organized reaction against Comic Sans, is based in Ontario and I don't believe that Ontario has all his newspapers, traffic signs, letters, etc. in Comic Sans.

It's incredible that a writer of "design and culture" can say such things about Catalonia. I see you've spent some days in a "tourist topics region" without wanting to know nothing about the region you were visiting.
The example link you've provided is nonsense: yes, it talks about Catalonia, but is written by Richard Walker (not a catalan name, sure) and the domain is from UK!
Bad taste design is everywhere throughout the world. You can't say is a particular region's monopoly. For example bancomicssans.com, the organized reaction against Comic Sans, is based in Ontario and I don't believe that Ontario has all his newspapers, traffic signs, letters, etc. in Comic Sans.

Catalan a dialect!!!????
Please, don't say such a thing! A dialect!!?? LOL
Please, think before writing!

Very interesting article, shame about the supposedly funny comments about Catalan at the beginning, which show ignorance of enormous proportions. Catalan is a language on its own right, spoken by millions of people and with a remarkable literary tradition.

However, I must admit that I enjoyed every word of it. Many Catalans very often tend to annoy the rest of us Spaniards with their bloated self esteem and snooty claims of exceptionallity, singularity and superiority (our friend Père above seems to be a good example of it). Reading such a wild and blunt piece of tosh has been really liberating.

come on guys!
don't be cruel about the authors ignorance about languages and culture!
She seems to be an English native speaker, AKA a monolingual person who probably brutalizes a bit of French and tries hardly to pretend she is cool and educated while wraping a glass of expensive (not necessarilly good) wine. And who besides her clients or employers can be blamed for her having to travel on a hooligan budget and therefore just know Catalonia from the perspective of an alcoholic looser?
If design and academics were better paid she for sure would have had more time to read and get to know. It is true that we tend to forget that poorly educated Americans have to visit "Europe" in trips that cover 10 countries in 6 days. She was lucky and smart enough to get to travel like a true lowest class Englishman and enjoy costa brava's idilic paradises like Lloret, Calella or Platja d'Aro.
Glad to know Yale and NYU are not the places where to study design, art or culture.

cheers (going to take a siesta)

I found the 'Ban Comic Sans' stuff very funny. At the school where I work, I felt insulted to be given serious policy documents printed in Comic Sans. For children, however, Comic Sans is strongly recommended for its legibility and is apparently helpful to dyslexics. Perhaps all the over-use and the inappropriate use was forgivable if not justified?

Then I started to wonder if visually aware adolescents weren't going to feel patronised, being served kiddie-comic lettering all the time. Like Joao with his taxes, how could we expect youngsters to treat ideas and information seriously? Inappropriate typography is the undermining of subject-matter.

So I decided on a different tack, I opened up Comic Sans and tried to see what could be making it more readable, accessible and friendly than other typefaces. I looked at spacing, weight of strokes, the shapes of individual letters, the non-symmetry of characters like p and q, and it became my starting point for the font Lexia Readable.

I made the decision to remove the irregular comic book style, what is often perceived as 'wackiness' or 'awkwardness', and replace it with tidier, cleaner, still slightly hand-drawn strokes that owe more to the typefaces used on dance flyers and fashion packaging. That decision may have been flawed - the comicky unevenness may be the very quality that improves legibility, but the kiddiness had to go to produce a more grown-up, less condescending font.

Download K-Type Lexia Readable, the regular and bold weights will be free forever. It may never have the ubiquity of Comic Sans unless Microsoft decide to package it, but dyslexia.com picked up on it straightaway and Macmillan publishing in New Zealand has commissioned two italics, so that's a start.
Keith Bates

....so people like comic sans because it is round and friendly looking? What about Avant Garde or Century Gothic instead?
glittering poppies

oh yes.....and then there's Arial Rounded MT Bold which was very trendy for a while (still is?) I used to spot it a lot (or something very similar) in style magazines such as Dazed & Confused....I've always felt it had a 'comic sans' feel to it - which is why I've been reluctant to use it in my designs ;)

....so I think there are already lot of alternative fonts out there if people are looking for a 'warm, friendly' font....I just think there is a lack of education.
glittering poppies

hey guys.. i m an architecture student... so i come from a sort of design background... but i dont get all this fuss about a font! there have been times when i have submitted my important research papers and reports in comic sans font and have been crititsized by fellow student for doing that and not typing in a more "formal" font like times new roman or arial... but i feel i type in it cos this font helps the flow of thought and helps me "express" the views more efficiently! i think in this font!!the impact of the font is more psychological and i believe the font does express the way words do!!!! ppl have even critisized me for over expressive language and use of too many exclamatory marks!! but hello ppl... what is language at the end of the day?? it is EXPRESSION!!! so all u hypocrites boasting about freedom and then talking about banning the font... think again!! and let ppl express!!! cos thats true freedom!

You need to travel, read and observe more.
Good luck, darling!

"obligated to acclimate to the mysterious Catalan dialect, a cross between Spanish, Portugese and pidgin Esperanto"

Xata! (word that really begins with X)
Has quedat tant i tant retratada, primer acuses barcelona d'estar plena de mal gust, dius que la nostra llengua es un dialecte, i despres assegures que la comic sans esta per tot arreu... i quan algu et demana que ho demostris ens enllaces a un web amb domini xxx.co.uk?? i en Anglès.

Xata (again) llegeix una mica, sobre Catalunya, i sobre el català, llavors poder podras esciure un blog.

Et deixo un parell d'enllaços utils:





Catalan is not a dialect:


El Catalan es un dialecto, capullo...

I would have responded sooner but I have been holed up at the library reading up on Catalan culture, which I ought to have done sooner.

With apologies to our readers who took offense. My error.

Jessica Helfand

I notice that not one person has mentioned the fact that, sad though it is, Comic Sans has been demonstrated repeatedly to be the typeface most readable by dyslexics. Yes, I know that there are typefaces out there designed with dyslexia in mind, but they are not readily available or are vastly expensive. (If you want a typeface for use with children use Sassoon - designed by the handwriting expert Rosemary Sassoon)

Sometimes, people send me emails in CS. It makes me extremely nauseous to have to read it... like a sea sick sort of experience. I was tired of this so I deleted it of my system. heh.


That Restaurants page looks like it was run up in half an hour on an afternoon in 2000 using FrontPage. But! I can't answer for the use of CS as a whole in a city where I lived several years ago.
(i) OK, Catalan's a language. It is more cognate with Italian than Spanish, for a start.
(ii) I'm an English native speaker and I speak Catalan and French, and I don't drink wine (like Lord Byron) so I have no idea what Albert's little anglophobic rant is about.

I was interested to read in the above posts that one of the reasons why comic sans is used so much, is its readability for dyslexics, however there is a much better alternative. 'Read Regular' is a font designed especially for dyslexics by Natascha Frensch, who herself is dyslexic.

find out more here Link

.....so there should be no excuse to use comic sans ever again........

(sorry if somebody has already mentioned this font in a previous post)
glittering poppies


This discussion sounds like the blue-haired church ladies who gather in the back pew and cluck about what's happened to kids these days and why do these young people insist on wearing baggy shorts and flip-flops to the sunday services. Kind of like the fashion police at a stiff-necked, lock-jawed fund raiser. The take-away point is that the grungy kids are in fact in church and the fashion criminals are giving money at the fund-raiser. So who cares about the sartorial faux pas? I'd hate to expose my life to this group for fear of being pilloried for wearing a black belt with brown shoes. Heaven forbid!

I'd advise everyone to turn their attention to things that matter. It's a big world out there. My late, great brother-in-law had a wonderful phrase he often repeated as words to live by:

"You're either an energy source or an energy sink."

Focus positive energy on your sphere of influence.
Rick McCleary

I LOOOOOVE how upset this font makes people.
Pictures or inappropriate uses of the font are fun, but I can't get enough of the posts by people who are genuinely upset and offended by a font.

It cracks me up!
Long live Comic Sans!

Personally I´d say that Helvetica is the problem, not Comic Sans.
Nils Jarlsbo

That brings back a nightmarish memory for me. I had an English teacher in college who typed all handouts in Comic Sans. 7-8 point type from one side of the 8.5 x 11 page to the other. I don't think I could have made something that hard to read if I tried.

Catalan a dialect of Spanish??
A cross between Spanish, Portugese and pidgin Esperanto????
Every third word seems to begin with the letter "X."?????

May be you're a genious designer, but you're really retarded or you have never been in Catalonia, that's for sure.

>> May be you're a genious designer, but you're really retarded or you have never been in Catalonia, that's for sure.

And you're a charmless troll incapable of correcting someone's error without being insulting.
John C

Instead of you Comic Sans font haters/designers writing about this horrible font and about Catalan, how about you all go back and read what you wrote. Try spending some time on proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the use of possessive versus plural. Maybe the Comic Sans font is overused; but, it appears to me that your grammar books are underused!

I am an ad designer for a company. One client sent me their information to create an ad and specified that only comic sans be used throughout the ad as that is their signature font.

As part of my job, I have to do as the client says in this particular instance.

However, I am in silent agony. WHY would a company purposely choose comic sans as their professional font? There are so many better fonts that would be more suitable.

Sorry, just needed to vent.
Ad Designer

HA! Lets do away with HOBO while we are at it!!


Professionals detest anything that dares to question their authorial 'knowledge'. That is often appreciated if one found oneself in the middle of life threatening surgery. But is this, tired old posturing of binary values, appropriate for a critique on type design, particularly such an obvious (soft) target.
But this article is typical of the lofty superiority designers believe they have on aesthetic considerations. Hear the rallying cry to the design revolution...no evolution...no let's keep things as they are...or as they were in that idealised time. Yawn. Just glad none of you are overtly political, your version of democracy would require not only a monarch and a plethora of staff to aid them in their administerial duties, but also a banal restrictive code to ensure they receive the proper worship.

Let's be critical, but lets also remember, if we're standing on the shoulders of giants, then our feet are no longer on the ground.
Dominic James

[Sad I missed this at the time, sorry for the necropost]

I used to do lots of painful freelance, and experienced all the horrors of clients with no taste. But you know what? More often than not you can slip in good design and people will appreciate it.

Just the other day I was doing a favor for my sister. A handout for a school party. It was badly written, and had notes about using a fun face (I am sure it said "font") and some specific clip art. I rewrote it it, laid it out in several weights of Akzidenz, and used a scrap of a previous illustration project (xmas tree and stars). They loved, loved, loved it.

So, is it purity, egalitarianism and populism or just ignorance? There are plenty of topics I am not an expert in, and I try to let professionals tell me what to do in those fields as well.
Steven Hoober

I like a nice looking font as much as the next homo sapien but some of you anal font snobs need to find something else in life to focus on -- help out a person in need or feed a starving animal instead of intensely focusing on tiny little shapes -- seriously!
PettyLife Stuff Staff

And yet: brilliant typographic analysis persists!

Jessica Helfand


As to your link

Freud was an experimenter and supporter of cocaine as a antidepressant. hmmm... the psychology department at IU experiments with such again. As for comic sans...dyslexia..... hmmm... IU.... comic sans.....psychology....dyslexia...lab rats... cocaine...
Can you connect any of those dots?

Actually I saw that ad not in comic sans but in whatever non serif font the wantads are written in, in our local newspaper not directly in Bloomington. It was over a year ago, but how many volunteers could they get --not written in comic sans-- in small town Indiana?

IN Indiana, even at the university, you get that type of thing. You'd probably love a visit to the Lilly Library or the Art Museum. For a public Ivy it aint such a bad place to spot historic typography usage in a log cabin type setting.

You gotta remember our childhood imprinting of history on hoosier heads here is just a bit different to New York's. You can't exactly compare the town of Kinderhook to something like Lincoln's boyhood home, nor could you compare that rock called Manhattan to that 386-million-year-old fossil bed in Clarksville.

A guy walks in to a bar and asks for Comic Sans. The barman replies "sorry, we don't serve your type in here"

Hi, a fellow worker pointed out this page when I was checking out Comic Sans. But I find I can't read this page because my screen resolution isn't 3 feet wide. I refuse to scroll sideways to read long lines on a web page. Guess you don't encourage older users. Bye.

Just saw this...


Hi there, my name is Màrius Colomer. I'm an architect from Barcelona and just wanted to improve the author's knowledge of Spain and Catalonia.
I wanted to point out, that the Catalan is not a dialect, is a latin language spoken by 8 milion people (Finnish has 5 milion and Dutch 15) which the oldest writtings found are older than the Spanish ones for example.
Also, the bullfighting is not a part of the Catalan tradition but exists because of touristic reasons.

A part of these wrong statements the article is great!
Màrius Colomer

Jobs | July 19