You won’t last too long on twitter before you find an example of someone lambasting a piece of design that uses the font Comic Sans. There are countless blog posts doing the same and even a handful of websites dedicated to either mocking the use of Comic Sans and/or trying to get people to stop using it. But why? Comic Sans is just a font.
A little lesson in Comic Sans
For those of you that don’t know (and I didn’t) Comic Sans was designed by Vincent Connare in 1994 and started shipping with Windows shortly afterwards. It’s a playful little number that is in it’s element when being used for anything to do with young children’s parties, school fairs – that kind of thing. It’s not the most versatile beast in the world, but it was never meant to be.
What’s all the fuss?
Generally, the commotion starts when someone with little to no background in design uses Comic Sans on something corporate: a formal letter, an email signature – you get the picture. It would be all fine and dandy if that letter were confirming the booking of a clown for example, but 99 times out of 100 it’s not.
Why Comic Sans?
Here’s the issue I have with chastising the use of Comic Sans: there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a piece of design work with a poor choice of font, it’s going to happen – there are countless fonts to choose from, some so specific in their purpose that to use them on anything else at all just wouldn’t be right. There lies the problem though, it isn’t designers making the mistake, it’s someone just having a go, trying something out rather than just going with Arial or Verdana or whatever the default font is in Microsoft Word these days.
Don’t criticise people for having a go, criticise them for not. Design should be about experimenting, making mistakes and all that goes with it.
So come on people, leave Comic Sans alone!