Every wondered why every designer frown upon the sight of comic sans? I did and here is what I found out.
Comic Sans, a.k.a. Comic Sans MS, is so famous that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. However, this font is not famous for being elegant or beautiful, it’s famous for being ugly. It is a font that everyone loves to hate. Online readers frown at it, clients disapprove of it, and modern designers are bent on knocking the bottom out of it. You can say that Comic Sans has became one of the most hated fonts in the world
Why everyone hate it? This, my friends, is a question many ask. Others simply don’t care and would like to stay as far away from the font as possible (so long as they are not a school teacher). But for those of us who do care here is how Comic Sans became a typeface nobody really like, especially the design community.
Because It’s In Everyone’s Hair
It’s easy to see how an overly used font can become one of the most hated fonts – simply because it’s just everywhere. Comic Sans became so popular at one time that people would use the font anywhere and everywhere, even where it simply doesn’t belong. Using the font for children’s books made sense. But the font being used in museum exhibits, swimming pools instruction boards, restaurant menus, hospitals, business cards, and job applications as well didn’t make sense at all! And there’s evidence of this unexplained phenomenon still-happening in a Flicker discussion by Ban the Comic Sans Groups.
Soon, the font’s ridiculous ubiquity started getting on everyone’s nerve, particularly designers. Perhaps, if it was as formal and transferable as Helvetica, nobody would have minded it so much. But the fact that the font has a casual and informal feel to it is what makes it inappropriate for overuse. We’ll cover the technical aspects in a bit.
Because Two People Hated it Just Too Much
Something becomes so popular and the world just loves it. But then there are few who criticize it, and decide to turn around its fate—either out of pure hatred for it or just for fun.
For Comic Sans, they were Indianapolis-based graphic designers named Dave and Holly Combs. The duo hated the font so much that they decided to start a movement against in 1999 called “Ban Comic Sans”. This happened when an employer requested them to use Comic Sans for a children museum exhibit. Since they didn’t exactly approve of the idea and after being inspired by another campaign, they decided to launch a website and gather some Comic Sans haters, just as an inside joke.
The original website wasn’t too fancy. However, what was supposed to be a small website and an “inside joke” became of the most noted times in the history of typography. The campaign gained so much momentum and support that it became one of the strongest anti-font movements to exist.
Then There Were Some Technical Aspects
Author of the Amazon best-seller Design for Hackers also wrote about why we hate comic sans. His explanation, however, is much more objective and based on purely typographical standpoint. He compares Comic Sans to another ancient, yet popular font Helvetica. To sum, here are some of the reasons why he believes Helvetica managed to be a universal and beloved font without any damage done to its reputation (unlike Comic Sans):
- Reading Comic Sans can be unpleasant because the visual weight of the font is uneven, unlike that of Helvetica.
- The texture of Comic Sans affects it’s legibility in a negative way.
- When blurred, the heaviness and lightness of the letter’s lines are varied, making it much more difficult to read compared to Helvetica, or other balanced out typefaces.
- Comic Sans, compared to Helvetica, has uneven letter fit or kerning, resulting in poor typographic fundamentals.
- The font was designed to be used on-screen. But since the creators decided to hand it over to the Windows 95 users, it got ugly when people started using it for print and in an incorrect manner.
Bad, But Not Too Bad
It can be said that the “hate” is mostly owed to incorrect and “over” usage of the font. In reality though, the font really isn’t that bad and there are people who actually love it! In fact, a Youtube project called #22 songs was dedicated to sending out a positive message about Comic Sans, “the best font in the world”.
Clearly, this debate isn’t going to die down anytime soon. So, what are your own opinions about this all-too-popular font? Let us know in the comment box below!
Learn More: How To Create Your Own Typeface