Why Comic Sans Should Retire and Be Put to Rest Only To Be Used In Comic Books

by Melinda Martin

If you search online in any well-known search engine, “worlds most hated font,” Comic Sans appears at least once in the top 10 search results. You may be blissfully unaware of how polarizing the typeface Comic Sans is in the graphic design world. Most graphic designers I know have deep-seated disdain for this font myself included. It's been overused in the wrong way. I personally feel it should only be used in comic book speech bubbles, its original purpose and intent. It is interesting to learn how this font came about from Vincent Connare, its creator:

“Comic Sans was designed because when I was working at Microsoft I received a beta version of Microsoft Bob. It was a comic software package that had a dog called Rover at the beginning and he had a balloon with messages using Times New Roman.Comic Sans was NOT designed as a typeface but as a solution to a problem with the often overlooked part of a computer program's interface, the typeface used to communicate the message. There was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children when I designed Comic Sans.”

Comic Sans makes sense inside of comic book stores or children’s books and birthday party invitations, but that's about it. Comic Sans is included in Microsoft Windows system fonts which is one of the ways it shot to popularity.

There are also technical reasons why Comic Sans doesn’t work well in body copy, including its lack of readability. The irregular letterforms are what make it difficult to read.

Helvetica (shown on the left) manages visual weight better than Comic Sans. Notice where the stem and shoulder meet, the letterform is thinner. This helps the eye read the letterform easier. Areas of copy or blocks of letters that have a disproportionate amount of light or dark spots are difficult to read. Comic Sans is meant to be a handwritten style of typeface; it has a natural slant to it which is a detriment to its visual weight. Comic Sans’ letterfit is poorly designed. Letterfit is the visual weight between letters and how those letters interact. Since the font was never meant to be used as a standard font, letterfit most likely wasn’t a priority.

All fonts have a personality and a purpose. Typefaces are important pieces of any project or campaign. Next time you overhear a designer bemoan this font, you may have a better understanding as to why.

Even Weird Al Yankovic thinks Comic Sans is on the tacky side.

Looking for font alternatives to Comic Sans? Try here. And if you are curious as to what fonts are more “designer-approved,” check these. New ideas and new fonts are great for cleansing the pallet and refreshing your visual outlook.