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Jul. 9 2010 - 10:46 pm | 8,398 views | 0 recommendations | 7 comments

You hate Comic Sans? Well, I hate you! So there

Comic Sans MS

Image via Wikipedia

Friday morning I arose to the bracing news that the LeBron James controversy had spawned a brand new controversy even more ridiculous than the original controversy (which, if I understand it correctly, had something to do with a basketball player changing teams).

The new controversy is about—are you ready for this? I’m not sure I am—a font.

A font called Comic Sans.

It seems the owner of James’ old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, one Dan Gilbert, had written on the team’s website a choleric screed accusing James of betrayal, cowardice, narcissism and being not nice.

That doesn’t matter. What matters is he wrote it in Comic Sans.

Twitter and Facebook went wild. Turns out there are multitudes of people who have deeply felt opinions on Comic Sans. Basically, they despise it. Helvetica they don’t mind. Garamond Italic Condensed gets them only mildly perturbed. But Comic Sans makes them insane. They want to kill Comic Sans.

A few sample screams from Twitter:

LawrenceAugust: Writing a serious attack on someone in Comic Sans is like flipping someone off with your pinky.

louiscalade: stop using COMIC SANS. its one of the UGLIEST UGLIEST FONTS EVER. an eyesore. a design disaster.

jsmooth995: nobody who posts official statements in Comic Sans MS should be running an NBA team

As you can see, there are varying degrees of Comic Sans hatred. The fontamentalists find it despicable and loathsome no matter how it is used. Just a total disgrace. Others merely find it inappropriately frivolous for messages considered very serious, such as, apparently, those involving basketball.

There is even a website called Ban Comic Sans. I’m sure I’ll get around to reading it some day in the very near future.

In the meantime, I’d just like to say that Comic Sans is fine. It’s sansational. It’s a funny font. (The creator, Microsoft designer Vincent Connare, says he based it on comic-book lettering) What could be bad about a font that’s funny? I say we need more funny fonts, not fewer, fonts that make the populace giggle instead of going all pompous and serif-conscious on us. Fonts that don’t have to bend forward to get their comic effects.

I’d also like to say I’m disappointed that when Dan Gilbert was attacked for his outrageous font choice, he didn’t just reply, “Hey, I was being cavalier.” But what can you expect from a businessman?

Yesterday, I never heard of Comic Sans. But now I’m its greatest defender. I am the Joan of Arc of Comic Sans. I’m going to make Comic Sans the standard font for all my documents, including codicils to my will and declarations of war against foreign countries.

Now if I could only figure out a way to get this damn post into Comic Sans.


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  1. collapse expand

    I have many fond memories of writing snarky little short stories with Microsoft Works for Windows 3.0 while discovering “fonts” like Comic Sans, while listening to “Burns and Allen” programs, my dot matrix printer humming in the background.
    In 1992.

  2. collapse expand

    Lewis,
    I have to admire you for taking such a controversial position in the face of a major management shift at True/Slant. I have tried many different editors using Comic Sans, only to have it transformed into some Grecian manifestation of respectability when I posted. This is extremely disappointing, sort of like pink condoms. If you were to find a way to post with Comic Sans you would become a folk hero of Jack Herer magnitude, dude. Times New Roman is a buzzkill. Free the freaks.

  3. collapse expand

    This is the kind of stuff that makes my head hurt. Why would people even be concerned about getting rid of a font!? While yeah, It really does not fit in some places, does that mean there should be a whole crusade against it? *sigh* These people should try and get a Hobby rather than worrying about killing off a font.

  4. collapse expand

    The fonts Comic Sans and Helvetica both walk into a bar and order drinks. The bartender tell Helvetica that he will serve him, but his friend has to leave. “Why?” Helvetica asks. The bartender says “I don’t like his type.”

    I’m an art director, and I’ve refused to use Comic Sans for years. Its FUGLY. Its strictly for amateurs. Anybody who uses the font is an idiot. End of story.

    Who the hell is this LeBron guy that keeps getting mentioned in the media lately? I never heard of him until last week, now I can’t turn on my tv or computer without seeing or hearing his name.

  5. collapse expand

    This is truly a Marshall McLuhan moment. The medium, explicitly the font, seems to have been interpreted as the message.

    However, it seems Dan Gilbert wrote all of his screeds in Comic Sans. So I’m not sure there really was a message there.

    By the way, I think McLuhan overlooks the value of the message itself. Yes, the Medium is an interesting context, but to suggest that it is the whole story, or even a major part of it, is nonsense.

  6. collapse expand

    Simply put, if you want to get your message across, the image speaks volumes.

    In advertising, public relations, and marketing, it’s ALL about the image. This could be a generational chasm (as I am 20 and alarmed at the font of the published letter) but still, a message is getting lost.

    Imagine reading a news story about a tragic bombing in a cutesy font such as Curlz or Handwriting-Dakota. The personality of the font dictates the story.

  7. collapse expand

    Four points to ponder:

    1. If you Google “comic book fonts,” you will see an entire array of fonts that put MS Comic Sans to shame. On purely aesthetic grounds, it’s not worth defending.

    2. As the parent of small children, we receive endless handouts from their taachers using this “cute” font, in everything from the headline to the smallest text. Comic Sans is not that readable, nor is it as flexible as one may think.

    3. The default font on True/Slant is Georgia, not Times New Roman. It does have its charms, though it may be as trendy as Times New Roman was about 20-25 years ago.

    4. I am in agreement with other posters: If you want to mean business, don’t put your words out there using a font that preschool teachers use.

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