Good Morning!!! A Facebook pal recently posted to his status: Whenever you see this font, raise your fists and shout "Comic saaaaans!" This is a splendid idea, and I have already promised him on your behalf that we will all join in this game. But it made me wonder: what is it about Comic Sans that inspires such excitement? …
Dude . . .
. . . you rock.
Its not the font's fault
Its like saying cars are to blame for people being in accidents. Its not the car itself, its how its driven. Using Comic Sans for a whole document is like driving your car the wrong way up the motorway. Its messy and hurts people. But used the right way, it works perfectly.
RE: Its not the font's fault
Exactly, just like when the Mac started appearing in peoples' homes some years earlier and people realised that there was more to life than the 2 or 3 monospaced fonts built into their printer. Suddenly you had monstrosities of newsletters that used every single font on the menu ... because they could.
Ahh, those were the days, every combination of font and size, and all hammered out on the old 9 pin ImageWriter.
Where I do "disagree" with Verity is here :
>> This moment, the one just coming up right now, is the first time since 1997 you have remembered the existence of the not-very-good application bundled with IE called Microsoft Comic Chat. There. Sorry about that.
>> Once it was installed on every PC in the world, ...
Err, never heard of it. Perhaps it's because none of my PCs ran Windoze - it wasn't on every PC on the planet. Even when I had to use Windoze PCs at work (like unblocking toilets, someone has to do it) I don't recall that program.
I was going to upvote you, but...
...I hit the pedant part of your post. I think by now, that everyone understands the generic term of PC to imply machines evolved from 8086 processors running a version of DOS/Windows. That was followed by a non-required bit of MS bashing with the 'Windoze' comments. Totally unnecessary and way off topic.
Doesn't the iPhone use Comic Sans for its Notes app?
Must be alright then.
It uses a font called "Marker Felt", which is not nearly as fugly as C***c Sans.
Saying "'Marker Felt'...is not nearly as fugly as C***c Sans" is like saying that a 30 lb. rock dropped on your foot doesn't hurt as much as a 40 lb. rock.
Absolutely! I was going to say that Marker Felt, as fonts go, is shite. In fact I cannot thing of a 'handwritten' or script font that doesn't make me ant to poke my eyes out.
Horses for Courses
Like all tools, it has it's uses, however...
Using it on the official, court enterable, legal document used to liscense a premise (and which must be displayed under the terms of the Liscensing Act) is not one of them. Something PORTSMOUTH CITY COUNCIL (Legal Services) Directorate failed to comphrend.
The inventor of Comic Sans said:
If you love Comic Sans, you don't know much about typography.
If you hate Comic Sans, you really don't know anything about typography and should go and study something else.
I much prefer the combination of Ralph Macchio and his clone, collectively known as "Daniel sans"
It's not easy to read
I have no idea why it's supposed to be easy to read, I'm dyslexic and find it harder to read than a plain sans-serif font. Even Times can be easier to read than Comic Sans...
It's just a poor quality "comic" font that is used everywhere else for no good reason.
... but not for functional specs. Please!
Having worked for a bank that confused "clear and cool" with "clear and naff" and used Comic Sans as the house standard for all internal documents, I can confirm that a) it matters if you value your brain and b) you can go too far...
Comic Sans must die
Comic sans is the most ugly horrible font that's ever been made accessible to the general public, specifically the people employed in offices up and down the country whose job it is to make stupid notices like "please wash up your mugs" and "turn this light off - save energy" and "please don't print this is if you don't need to" etc etc. It's so ugly it makes my eyes vomit. Coincidentally these are usually the same people who can't help using multiple exclamation points, bold and italics to make extra special emphasis on words that don't require it.
I also hate the default, uninspired, lazy choice of Arial as the default e-mail font for most companies - how hard is it to choose a font specifically designed for screen reading?
Myself, I'm a lover of Gill Sans and can't help assuming that any company that uses it in their branding is automatically reliable and trustworthy.
Don't ban it
How would we know if someone is the kind of person who would use Comic Sans if they can't go ahead and show us?
Not the first.
> ...that Bob had the distinction of being the very first monosyllabic Microsoft product to
> be laughed out of existence.
Surely that honour belongs to DOS.
...DOS wasn't (originally) an MS product!
I´m not troll
but why get so excited about (a bit boring, true) font? I agree that nothing should be overused (with the exception of blue cheese. You can´t overuse a blue cheese), but I am using Comic Sans for many years for my amateur translations of webcomicses like XKCD or Pictures for sad children into my native language, and the result is...well...acceptable. I never dreamed of using it elsewhere.
Is it really so widespread? In my cultural area (central Europe going to eastern Europe) I do not recall seeing a sign, let alone the whole document in this font.
You also cannot overuse bacon.
Get your priorities right
I think this article has its priorities wrong.
First, we need to get rid of the Papyrus font. Only when that has gone should we turn our attention to Comic Sans.
More things to get rid of
Before we embark on a crusade against an insignificant pattern of pixels, how about tackling things that actually matter?
Before ridding the world of Comic Sans, let's fix poverty, disease, repression, oppression, suppression, ignorance (ooops, we're back on fonts again), intolerance (gah - and again), fear, guns (doh! same thing), greed, exploitation, climate change, crime, smoking, baldness, inflation, nagging, corruption, commercial fusion, algal blooms, spam, obesity and late trains.
Once we've got all of that nailed, then it's time to worry about the trivia - though I've got to say the ability to spell has got to come before what font you misspell your language in.
Re: More things to get rid of
Until the world is rid of obnoxious, pompous, naive and ultimately meaningless relativism, I think it is absurd to even consider putting any energy into tackling any other issue at all.
@ "More things to get rid of"
Yes, but people won't do that. Too big for them to get a handle on. Or so they claim.
So let us start small, with Comic Sans and other typographic monstrosities, and continue as we mean to go on.
Why on earth
would you get rid of Papyrus? It's a rather nice-looking font, if inappropriate in a lot of places people use it. But best of all, it's fantastic for winding up typography nerds.
Can we have some sort of alternative CSS cookie that stores a preference which renders the site in Comic Sans or Default depending on our choice?
"Can we have some sort of alternative CSS cookie that stores a preference which renders the site in Comic Sans or Default depending on our choice?"
Firefox -> Preferences, Content -> Fonts -> Advanced, Uncheck "Allow pages to set their own fonts".
IE -> Tools -> internet options -> general -> accessibility, ignore fonts
Why pick on typography?
If you were to ask me, I'd say that the trouble is, the Desktop Publishing concept empowered millions all over the world and with no relevant training or insight whatsoever to produce their own graphic masterpieces and proudly display their lack of talent to millions. Those people don't know it but there are times when a marker pen, or even a ballpoint pen, is best.
And more hurtful than mindless typography is the perceived need by most to start every creative design exercise by drawing a box rule around the piece of paper. Why, for f*ck's sake?
@ "Why pick on typography"
If I could upvote your post an infinite number of times, I would.
Well said, sir.
Typography is an _art_ and a skill -- so much so that newspaper compositors had an apprenticship twice as long as any other trade.
Even Neville Brody at his most avant-garde and wackiest maintained that you can't break the rules without first knowing what they are, inside and out.
A sentiment that, today, is all too sadly lost in many other disciplines.
@Letters to the Editor
Bad/amateur DTP efforts are getting better though - when ah wirra lad, you could expect to see a single document with a minimum of 8 fonts, 5 colours, bold text, italicised text, underlined text and the most heinous crime of them all: bold-italicised-and-underlined-all-at-the-same-time.
<b><i><u>Is the most unforgivable thing to see</u></i></b> In fact any combination come to think of it
Comic without Microsoft
I recall finding this font, "Comic Sans MS", in the 1990's, and I became interested, since I thought it was a Microsoft-free font (sans = without in French).
sans does mean without
In a font sans is an abbreviation for sans serif, meaning without serifs.
It's not the font
There are worse fonts.
It's the people who use it.
Whenever I get an email in comic sans, a little piece of me curls up and dies in anticipation of the inanity that inevitably follows.
...would you write your CV in it?
It has it's place (somewhere in the 6th circle hell) but for most applications it is just wrong. WRONG!!!
The lass insists on using it for all of her MS Powerpoint slides (she's a teacher). Then she wonders why most of the kids are have an IQ not far short of the font size she uses ^^. I tell you - there's a definite link.
The root of the problem is "font diarrhoea" - people can't help but spray fonts everywhere. They really should put an onClick handler on the font select box in *ALL* applications. Everytime you click it a modal message box pops up asking "are you sure?", with a good 5 levels of recursion.
I did not care one way or the other.....
But since so many people, who seem to have their heads firmly wedged up inside their own rear orifice, have made such a fuss about such trivial thing I have set all my defaults so that any email or document I create is in Comic Sans.
Even the default font on my Linux machines is now Comic Sans.
(apt-get install msttcorefonts)
So all you out there that make such a fuss take note that every thing I produce is now in Comic Sans due to YOU!
And on another typographic note:
Arial (horrific but ubiquitous) ain't Helvetica either. Neither is Johnston Sans equivalent to Gill Sans, as I have had the misfortune to catch on more than a few occassions.
Wife is a teacher and uses feckin Comic Sans everywhere. "It's non-threatening", says she, "It's fecking awful" says I.
I hate it without a genuine reason. Word processors should be limited to 3 fonts and 2 colours to stop the feckin numpties having the urge to use every feckin font and colour in the same document.
And animated gifs......
Comic Sans is useful
In a world where we are encouraged to conform in so many ways, it is often difficult to tell which people are right-minded individuals who I would wish to enjoy a pint with (etc etc) and who are merely mindlessly following orders.
Comic Sans provides an instant "credibility modifier", just as shell-suits and a lack of washing do when meeting someone face-to-face. It benefits everyone by saving the time wasted in interacting further.
(And if a teacher of my children sent home a 'letter to parents' written Comic Sans they would get an educational follow-up meeting, as would the nupty who employed them.)
There are worse fonts
I have a particular dislike for Souvenir and Cooper Black, which I think chavvy. I love New Johnstone (the font used by London Underground, based on Gill Sans). The windows font that deserves more recognition is Lucida.
You know it's going to be a bad day...
...when your client asks you to re-style a perfectly classy Wordpress site to use Comic Sans "because all his documentation is produced in that font". This happened to me this morning, honest. Made me wonder if I really wanted to have clients like him.
Fie and fail on me for deliberately not mentioning cufon and other techniques, but I just fell back on the excuse that, like Steve The Cynic, some folk don't have Comic Sans installed.
Times New Roman...
...as a screen font, at point sizes of 10 or less.
Now *that's* a real pain in the a**e.
Comic Sans is a blessing by comparison.
Never mind that my machine is bereft of Comic Sans anyway so I get Helvetica instead.
Sod it, just convert everything to wingdings, then see how much people complain.
Robert Norton, RIP
Do I detect hints of Robert Norton's mischievous sense of humour calling us from his grave? He was head of Microsoft's type group for a while.
It would be a mark of the man's creativity and generosity to leave a legacy which reminds us not to allow technology to over-ride beauty.
Re: Robert Norton, RIP
I met Robert Norton a few times, we were both members of the Wynkyn de Worde society where typographers, printers and 'those who care about these things' would meet for a monthly amiable chat.
A modest man, he knew far more about typography than he would let on, and did a great job whilst at Microsoft, despite the challenges he faced there.
Since his death technology has moved on significantly, and the need for typographical expertise in technology firms is greater than ever.
not all bad..
Comic Sans isn't particularly beautiful, but neither is it amazingly horribly ugly. It's just kind of okay-ish, if somewhat awkward in some places (the capital i, for instance).
The problem is much more with how people use it. The font has been used for speech bubbles (ok), text documents (not ok, I'm a cognitive scientist and will fight anyone to the death who tries to claim that comic sans is ok for a full document), greeting cards (usually not ok, "sorry your mum has died" for instance. Just use a pen to, well, WRITE the letters yourself) and warnings/notices ("caution, high voltage", no, just NO).
You're always communicating a message, When you use a green background and red text you're saying "DO NOT READ THIS DOCUMENT", when you use the wrong font for the purpose you're saying "I'm not a professional", "I don't care whether I get this message across", or "hello, my name is **drooool**, asl?"
Knowing when to use a serif or sans serif, or whether to use a formal or informal font is important for actually getting the message across in many cases. Showing that you want to get the message across show either your interest in your correspondent, or your professionalism. Sometimes Comic Sans is perfectly acceptable, but most often it is not. If in doubt then select a mainstream serif font such as Times New Roman. Sans serif fonts can be hard to read when used for multiple lines of text or long lines of text, serif fonts become messy at small sizes/long distances. Arial and Helvetica can be excellent choices for posters and such. If you're not an expert on fonts then the above is most of what you need to know.
i LoVe CoMiC SaNs
As it's the only font they let me use. When they took away my pens and said I could only use crayons I was upset, but now they say I can use a computer but only if I use Comic Sans.
They tell me that's because it doesn't have all those sharp serif corners I could hurt myself on, but I'm not so sure. I think they just don't get typography, but whenever I mention kerning they take my computer away.
But you understand. Will you be my friend?
I prefer Courier...
...for my large, friendly letters: http://nexox.net/dontpanic.jpg
Kindle screen saver jailbreak - worth the 7 (more or less) hard reboots required to install it.
One font among many. As with all fonts, it has it's place. If you feel the need to "hate" or "love" a font, then you need to GO OUTSIDE, FIND A MEMBER OF YOUR PREFERRED GENDER AND HAVE SOME SEX.
For the love of $diety, get some sun...
syntax error: undeclared variable $diety
For the love of $diety, get some sun...
How did you know I was on a diety? Who are you calling fat??
What a coincidence
P.Z. Myers has a blog posting today about a bizarre vanity publication, typeset entirely in comic sans - have a look at: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/01/i_get_strange_books_in_my_mail.php
I Vote we need to fix other things first
Lets start with removing the CAPS LOCK key from all keyboards and removing block capitals from all documents.
Then we can fix a couple of americanisms.
Lets start with the date format - DD/MM/YY(YY) is the proper order.
Lets get rid of all the silly spelling - substituting S with Z randomly and removing U from words is also wrong.
If we can't fix those, and other more important, items leave fonts alone. I can read it fine (as long as it is in proper case and spelled right!).