The War Against Comic SansFebruary 3rd, 2015 by Jeff Winget
I’m in the process of designing a very fun website for a local moving company, 2 Men and a Lady. When we talked about their ideas for their site, they wanted to have a cartoon-based site. I was excited to use a lot of bright colors and fun fonts to create the design they wanted, and I’m very happy with the site so far. It is high contrast and fun, and it has the coolest navigation menu I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to roll it out.
As I was looking for fonts to use on this site, I wanted to have fun, comic-book style fonts. I took a good look at Comic Sans, thinking it was the staple for projects like these. However, there is so much hate for the font on the internet that I couldn’t bring myself to use it. A Google search for “comic sans hate” yields site after site asking for the font to be banned and for anyone who uses it to suffer horrible consequences.
Why is it so vilified?
I’ve read a lot in the last couple of days about the font, its history, its more infamous uses, and a lot of reasons why people hate it. It seems that the hate for Comic Sans is rooted in its being overused and misused.
People love Comic Sans. I’m a school teacher, and I have been in classes for teachers where the presenter has said to use Comic Sans because it is fun and still readable. And, teachers aren’t the only ones. All of my adult life, I have seen the font on posters, fliers, websites, etc. It is everywhere.
Its being overused would probably be okay, except a lot of people use it inappropriately. Dan Gilbert’s now infamous letter to Cavaliers fans about LeBron James was written in the font, for instance. For some reason, people in the professional realm have decided that Comic Sans is okay to use for professional communication, and that raises the ire of design people who insist on the right font for the right job.
Which brings me back to the website I’m designing. I’m not sure it’s really ever okay for a company to use Comic Sans. It has too much baggage as being overdone and unprofessional, so I searched for more professional options that were still fun and fit the cartoonish style of the site. One interesting option that I found was Comic Neue, a new, stylistically more appropriate version of the vilified font. It looks a lot like Comic Sans, but has cleaner edges and straighter lines. I liked it, but it looked too much like Comic Sans for me to use.
So, I settled on Bariol, a clean, curvy font that seems to fit my needs well. I paid with a Tweet and got to work. Time to leave all this silly Comic Sans business behind me.