Comic Sans Irony

Comic Sans... sucks?

The British would have laughed us back to England.

Comic Sans sucks.

Googling “Comic Sans sucks” returns 193,000 results, so there’s proof. There are loads of objections: it’s ugly, it’s poorly kerned, it’s overused, it’s ugly, it’s juvenile, it’s unprofessional, it doesn’t scale well. All legitimate complaints; all legitimate reasons to dismiss anything written in Comic Sans out of hand.

I hate Comic Sans too*. When, recently, I went to a fairly expensive restaurant and saw Comic Sans on their menu, I laughed loudly enough that I had to be shushed by the maitre’d. So this isn’t some sort of devil’s advocate, “Comic Sans is underrated” thing.

But I haven’t always thought Comic Sans was bad, so maybe there’s a part of me that wants to defend it, just a little. When my parents bought their first Windows PC in the halcyon days of 1995, I had never heard of Comic Sans. To a 13-year-old kid coming from DOS, the idea that I could open up MS Paint, draw few circles and a couple word balloons and bust out the Comic Sans was intoxicating and I, like many from my generation, was intoxicated. There was even a program, Microsoft Comic Chat, where you could type your words and the conversation would take place in a series of panels. It was like we were a/s/l-ing** in a graphic novel! Point is, it was awesome. Comic Sans was designed for use by kids, so it makes sense that I, an unjaded kid, would like it.

Image

Anyone older than me probably never saw the appeal of a font that looked like a poor man’s Artie Simek, and I suspect children now pop out of the womb cooing for Comic Sans’ demise. Maybe there are others out there with nostalgia for this crappy little font, although, in my experience, it’s now mostly used to make things like an internal memo on toilet paper usage look “fun”.

There’s now a movement to remove Comic Sans from Windows’ standard font library. If that happens, maybe it’ll develop a cult following, and this post will someday be seen as an early text in the salvation of Comic Sans. But, if not, we’ll always have Papyrus.

* You’ll note that this post isn’t written in it; I’m not a sadist.

** Age/Sex/Location, and if you didn’t already know that, I’m surprised you’ve made it this far.

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9 thoughts on “Comic Sans Irony

  1. Le Clown says:

    Brent,
    Inspired you were. As on a certain status today, while working on a banner, I stopped on Comic Sans unbeknownst to me, and for a second, thought I had found the perfect font to complement the banner. Cried I did when I realized what font it was.
    Le Clown

  2. I also stop dead when I see anything in Comic Sans nowadays (and laugh ruefully.) A couple of weeks ago, someone at work sent out an email that one of the bathrooms at work was flooded in Comic Sans. And I thought, oh, well this must be a joke. No one uses this on PURPOSE. Nope. The bathroom was really flooded. And the email was really in Comic Sans. He wasn’t even trying to be ironic.

    But then I was thinking, I remember when I got my first computer. And oh, like you, did I ever revel in all those fonts. And I used to send one of my friends letters (paper letters! with stamps!) in Comic Sans. I felt so fancy. So grown-up.

    Poor Comic Sans. We’ve all moved on and it’s still there, being all goofy-looking, asking us what it did to inspire this kind of hatred.

  3. Hmmm. It misses the point that comic sans is friendly. I used to use it all the time when I worked with kids and families but never use it now that I am working with adults.

  4. saradraws says:

    You should creat a challenge to find the last lonely places where CS would be welcomed. I don’t mean in emails from grandma, but to find appropriate contexts for CS.

    There’s got to be a home for it somewhere…

    I once wrote a CV in Papyrus, but before it was lame. I have since turned my back on it because I’m a terrible friend.

    • Avatar drove the last nail into Papyrus.

      If this post gets over 50 comments, I’ll do a follow-up. Otherwise, Comic Sans can beg on the side of the street, like Times New Roman.

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