Have you ever noticed a flash of horror and disgust in your designer’s twinkling eye when you speak the phrase “Comic Sans”? Does your designer start sweating profusely, give you a sarcastic smirk, or start choking violently at the utterance of these syllables? These are normal side effects for a graphic designer experiencing the situation. But why such a violent, defensive, primal response to the font? What is about this friendly, sweet, and innocent typeface you’ve grown to love and cherish over time that invokes such a volatile visceral reaction? What is torturing this individual so about this font?
Let’s start by defining what a graphic designer is. A graphic designer is a problem solver, a communicator, and an organizer of visual information. They use a variety of methods to visually communicate an idea, message, or story using logos, photography, illustration, typography, colors, etc. Notice, typography in there? Now what the heck is typography, you ask?
Typography, according to Wikipedi, ” is the art and technique of arranging type, type design, and modifying type glyphs. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading (line spacing), adjusting the spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning).”
These definitions have everything to do with your designer’s reaction. It’s not your designer’s fault and it’s not the font’s fault so what’s the big hoopla about?
1. It’s overused & abused.
Comic Sans has been and will be used and abused on various types of media from printed pieces, signage, power presentations, how-to videos, and invitations to packaging and for every kind of business you can think of. Try going one day without seeing the darn little bugger popping up somewhere. Because of this, ask yourself how will using this typeface differentiate your brand or message? Will it tell a story about your brand or company different than the one it’s telling for Joe’s Sandwich Shop? Will it grab your audiences’ attention? Consider these points, especially when it’s trying to tell a story for someone else? Typography should offer support for and communicate your story, message, or brand not blend it into the woodwork.
2. It’s was meant for Comic strips.
It was designed to imitate comic book lettering and was originally included in Windows ’95. The letter spacing and stylized nature of the type does not make it a pleasing font to read in large blocks of text. It’s a casual font that was modeled after the fonts found in the Dark Knight comic book.
3. There are better alternatives.
Being a designer means forming and planning a visual representation of a brand or message. If you do want to have a friendly, casual feel for your company or piece don’t you still want that message to stand out in a sea of Comic Sans? Consider an alternative to Comic Sans that you can own. By owning, I mean your target audience will identify your company or brand with the typeface when they see it.
Check out these graphic designer-friendly fonts just to name a few—
Here are a couple of additional resources to help explain.
Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will
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