Blogs Oct 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm


No discussion of Comic Sans can be had without hearing from the source...…
Papyrus is Satan's font of choice
Remind me to introduce you to the origin of all evil sometime.

You wouldn't like it much.
Comic Sans walks into a bar.

Bartender says, "Hey, we don't allow your type in here!"
Comic Sans demanded its recognition as a belligerent force by the government. The designers, by means of different organizations, has given us this recognition.

To our demand for recognition as a belligerent force and for the recognition of our font as true combatants, the design community responded by offering respectful and dignified treatment for all letters of the Comic Sans. It also offered us legal registration as a political force.

The design community can't even guarantee the security of those who are part of the design community. We cannot hope for a respectful and dignified treatment of those who have taken up arms in a just struggle for democracy, freedom, and justice. Comic Sans was formed as an army to demand respect for the will of the font. The usurping design community still refuses to respect this will.

The reasons behind the birth of Comic Sans still exist. Comic Sans will continue its armed struggle until our demands for democracy, freedom, and justice are achieved. The Comic Sans agrees to follow international design standards that regulate combat and warfare. The Comic Sans has held true to these standards and we will continue to do so.

Comic Sans reiterates its demand that it be recognized as a belligerent force, and that its font be recognized a true combatant. To this end, Comic Sans will go to different international design forums to demand this recognition from the fontists and design community of the world.

The recognition of the Comic Sans as a belligerent force is necessary for the dialogue process to have a firm base to develop from.
Comic Sans is just another thing for the cool kids to hate on for no reason, like hipsters and Ayn Rand.
I hate it because the people who use it are invariably trying to appear unthreatening, inconsequential, and cutesy, which to me reads invariably as passive-aggressive.

Plus, it's butt-ugly and style-devoid, the lowest common denominator of fonts. But I am a horrible font snob (waves to p22)
I hate it cause it's fucking ugly.
I love it because it actually makes people angry even though it's just a font.
@2, no, Algerian.
@11 bless you.
Comic Sans is the Will in Seattle of fonts.
Watched a documentary on Helvetica through Netflix. It talked about the industry and the history of fonts and was absolutely fascinating.
When I'm doing a presentation on a particularly scary and abstruse piece of science geekage, I like to put the key points in comic sans. It make the audience subconsciously feel superior to the material being presented, and to the man presenting it, and gives then the confidence necessary to make the effort to understand it. Inthe process, they lose respect for me, but I do it anyway. I'm that committed to my pedagogy.
@15: you are exactly what I'm talking about. I team-teach with a statistician who does this, and to me it's more distracting (and horrifying) than it could possibly be illuminating. We had a frank discussion about it. Do you really think your students learn better because of it?
The ones looking at your font aren't there to learn in the first place.
How am I not surprised Comic Sans is the bastard child of Microsoft Bob. Amazing.
@14: I've seen that too. Fascinating stuff.
@17 Although I think this kind of statement is reliant on the (false) belief that anyone who pays attention to aesthetic details is completely missing the deeper meanings behind them, I think you do hit at a sort of truth: as a designer who is aware of fonts, you become completely unable to not notice them. This can be very annoying. When you start noticing the micro-details of fonts, you start analyzing them everywhere, and the simple pleasure of reading is ruined forever. I would encourage everyone to stay away from font-related knowledge, because it will totally ruin reading for you too. There have been a huge number of these Comic Sans related stories in the past few years, and they all point to a growing knowledge in the general public about fonts. Matthew Carter, the creator of Georgia and Verdana, just won a McArthur grant, for Christ's sake. If society knew what was good for it, it would step away from the rabbit hole.
@16, and @8: In truth, most of my audience probably doesn't notice. Except for some, well...I think Comic Sans is a little like JarJar, or mime. All of a sudden something or someone gets cool to hate and a vast masses of people who hadn't seen a mime perform more than once in the previous decade find a way to squeeze into a conversation that there is nothing they loathe more than mime.

CS has better visibility on a projector screen than at least half the fonts you could pick at random from a Powerpoint pulldown menu. (Of course that's not saying much, since you the list includes Curlz.)

Yes, I do at times take some effort to appear unthreatening, and CS can be part of that schtick. I certainly hope it doesn't "read passive aggressive", as you put it. I'm not sandbagging, not trying to make the audience think I'm naive so as to set them up for the withering take down, later. I think passive aggressive would be if you put up slide after slide of densely packed equations, all set in Times Roman, and murmur "I do hope I'm not going too fast. It's just that there's so much to get through, and after all this is review for most of you, surely."

Just to clarify, EB, I'm not lumping you in with the trendy despisers of CS. There are plenty of people who notice fonts, and have opinions about them. I'm one, actually. And, at the end of the day, does it really matter whether people despise CS because it's the trendy thing to do, or out of their authentic aesthetic judgement? It becomes in any case a distraction. Maybe I should rethink. Certainly I would not attempt to deliver a wordless lecture, wearing a a bowler hat and white face.
And yet, you know what has not ended its run?

Gothic lettered tats.

They still kick ass.

( TV thought. Pierce walks in. Announces he has a new tattoo. Takes off shirt, Abed pulls out his Flip to film, Shirley, Annie and Britta wince. It says Study Group To comic sans! )
I'm in accord with emma's bee @8 here. "CS" appears to be trying to hard, trying to be non-threatening, and comes off as duplicitious. It fails to be assertive in any way; it takes no clear stand. Non-threatening + non-assertive + but still wanting to tell you something = Passive-aggressive, yes. Not cute enough to actually be cute. Not strong and clear-minded enough to be confident. Comic Sans is the wet-noodle of the font world.
@20 - Ignorance is bliss, my friend. You just keep staying simple right where you are. I'll be far, far away "ruining" things for myself, with learning.

(Pleasure, as it turns out, is a rich fractal.)
@15, @16 - you may be interested in this article int he economist:…

Apparently, researchers have some amount of evidence that using comics sans instead of Arial increases factual recall.
Comic sans is kids' stuff compared to brush script. In the fifties and sixties there were hundreds and hundreds of versions available. Brush script is the ninth circle of hell. Comic sans is a pretty postcard to earth from purgatory.
Rick @26: yeah, I had seen that, and sure, I'd love to wave the data in front of Emma's Bee. But I think the point of the test was to show that things that are hard to read can grab your attention better. To make Comic Sans the relatively more difficult-to-read font, they used lower 75% grey and 12 point, vs the "easy to read" foil, Ariel, in full black and 16 point. OK, if you're reading full paragraphs and more, Ariel is very easy on the eyes, much more so that CS. But for just a sentence or two, they had to go out of their way to suppress CS's relative readability.

As for your comments re passive agressive, Treacle@24, I just want to say that your comments really, really hurt me, and I just hope that's something you're able to live with, because I don't really see how you could.
How cool would it be to print out the declaration of indepence in comic sans with Ziggy stickers and watch the hipsters say how evil it is.
Comic Sans and Papyrus and all the other hateful typefaces are intrusive. They thrust their stylistic choice into your face over and above the context of the text. That's the difference between them and the simple vanishing fonts that we don't notice. There's no "air of sophistication," no "childlike glee." There's just the ability to read things without the distraction of the style they're written in, or not.
I like Comic Sans. I think its pretty.
I skipped the comments to post what's probably already been said.

The conversation about Comic Sans is old meme. It's dead already. Font nerds clown on Papyrus now.
@26 & 28: That study (at least, the Economist's description of it) apparently chose CS merely as an example of a font that is hard to read. What I took away from the article is that hard to read = better retained.

Henceforth, all my lecture notes will be in "Josephine Hopper".
@25 Do I need to add winky face emoticons to indicate that there's a bit of humor behind what I'm saying? A winky face emoticon would look right at home with Comic Sans.

@32 Making fun of Comic Sans, Papyrus and Arial has been going on for years, but has really burst into the public arena in the past 5 years. If you want to be on the next level of grievances among font nerds, here's my prediction: irritation with over-use of Hoefler & Frere-Jones fonts like Gotham and Archer. They've become a cargo cult solution for a lot of designers, where they think that because they're designed by H&FJ and because they're so beautiful, they must carry some kind of magic that will make their project a success.
I am Comic Sans, Asshole:…

Moneyquote: "I am a sans serif Superman and my only kryptonite is pretentious buzzkills like you."
@28 Eric. *That* hurt your feelings? You want some more then? I'll show you what hurts more than feelings. Step a little closer... there you go... just a little bit closer...
(*pulls 150pt Bodoni from pocket*) ...just one more step...
@37, I think you mean poster Bodoni italic.

@27, good call.

@311 Truth Movement, smart comments all around. Interesting thought on H&FJ.

Not to be a total type snob but I find it irritating when people who know six fonts make fun of Comic Sans.
Comic sans is fine, you assholes wanna get mad over a legitimate nothing-issue?


THAT is a real thing to appear cool by hating on for no real reason.
I wish that when The Gap got all ascared by the misguided fury of the design class over their new logo, that they unveiled a newer and more evil version using Comic Sans.

Because I like to see people blow up real good.
I had to be issued a copy of my birth certificate since my mother had buried it in a storage unit (hopefully). Swear To God, it came to me with a Comic Sans font. Combined with the pastel rainbow background, it looked like something an eleven year-old had made on Windows 95. Why? How is this possible?

Please wait...

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