Really the name says it all, Comic Sans is for comics. It's not for warning signs, police cars, or “beware of dog” signs. Lets take a look into this font that most designers cringe at seeing.
See to the left? It’s Comic Sans. It’s great for those type of things, like action comics, children’s books, and of course funny stickers for your BFF photos. It all started way back when dinosaurs roamed the comic books. A famous designer by the name of Vincent Connare, who is popular also for his font Magpie, created comic sans for Microsoft. It was the year 1994. It was supplied with Windows 95, also in the Windows Plus Pack originally made for Microsoft Bob. As time went on it found it’s way to my Mac, and police cars. It’s fun. It’s childish. It makes you laugh. It’s not to be used on warning signs and dump trucks.
Now to the right you see the glorious store closed sign. The font is used entirely out of its purpose. I know a lot of people hate this font, but until I realized how nice it looks when properly used, it's not that bad. This closed sign would have been better off with Helvetica. But hey, you’ll learn in art quickly that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some feel that Comic Sans may be the right font for their target audience. But seriously, better solutions can be used.
My heart goes out to the web designer who has strict instructions to use Comic Sans. Even after much agonizing, and pleading, there’s no way out of it. If you see Comic Sans in a style guide, just burn it or something.
I think it’s time we take a look at a few letters in the Comic Sans line up.
Letters d and b
What do you think? I kinda like the b over the d, but it's relative. Beanie Babies© has been using Comic Sans for years.
Letters m and n
It's hard to write about these letters. These letters remind me of my old child hood days when I learned how to write. I can still pull it off if I write with my left hand, since I'm right handed.
Well to some who already know, there was a revolt. The “Ban Comic Sans” movement. Two designers Dave and Holly Combs were told to use Comic Sans in a museum exhibit.
There site has caused a wide spread influence. People all over the nation write letters to them, thanking them and asking for stickers on banning Comic Sans. Also,The Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) Proposed a ban bill based on the clause “Ban the font known as Comic Sans” in the 2005 session of Ontario Model Parliament in Canada.1 On there website it quotes a letter from the NDP. It read; “The NDP caucus proposed a motion to sever the bill, which would result in a separate vote on the Comic Sans ban (recognizing the importance of this issue). Unfortunately, unanimous consent was not obtained from the House, and the bill was voted on as a whole.”2 Amazing huh? Talk about serious.
But here is the thing. It’s being misused. It’s not for recipe books. It’s not for charts and details, infographics, police car decals, legal documents, business promotional material, and above all things, e-mails. Vincent Connare say’s this on his site.
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 [in a comic character’s message balloon].
So we see that Comic Sans MS was never intended for use as a typeface, but was apart of the UI. It would work well for Apples program called Comic Life. That’s it’s purpose in my opinion. If someone finds a better aesthetic way to implement Comic Sans, please comment how you have used it. Would love to see.