Cassette At Work

Comic Sans: Why all the Hate?

(image via BanComicSans

(image via BanComicSans

Oh, Vincent Connare, your naiveté in creating the Comic Sans font is only matched by the naiveté conveyed when one chooses to use said font. It’s become glaringly obvious in today’s society that anything read with the typeface of Comic Sans should not be taken seriously; but why? Why so much hate for those playful little letters? Why has Comic Sans become synonymous with silliness? Why am I not writing these words in Comic Sans right now? (Hint: they told me not to).

Beside from it being an easy way to annoy your university professors when they forget to specify the required font for your final paper, or the default typeface for a year one science project, Comic Sans has been the victim of a decreased demand for use in anything more serious than a children’s party invitation. It has become the butt of the internet’s joke and a source of ridicule and derision. But the question still remains, why?

Why the hate?

Is the mass disdain for Comic Sans disproportionate because of the hivemind-esque behavior of every internet participant under thirty? Is the Comic Sans counter-revolution an avalanche effect of a few key internet influencers who publicised their dislike of the playful font, with everyone else just jumping on the trendy bandwagon? Comic Sans is kind of like the internet’s Crocs – unpopular to use, but still really comfortable. Just ask those who suffer from dyslexia, because believe it or not, Comic Sans is actually an easier font for them to read than other font types.

The beginning of Comic Sans

The origin of Comic Sans comes from talk bubbles used in a 1994 program called Microsoft Bob, featuring a problem-solving talking dog. This information understandably contributes almost no seriousness to the font’s credibility. It was created before the invention of anti-aliasing, which is the technology that smooths out on-screen fonts into less pixelated versions of their original selves. Comic Sans was one of the original font pioneers that was shipped with Windows 95. Because it was one of the only fonts available at the time, it was widely used. So much so, that anyone who had access to a computer and no sense of design obtained the ability to saturate the lost-kitten-flyer market with the irreverent font – and that they did.

Possible reasons for the hate

Maybe we’re all sour on Comic Sans because it reminds us of the lost innocence of the 90s; when everything was golden and we were all guaranteed jobs upon university graduation. Maybe it reminds us of the limited design options available from a time when personal computers became economical. Maybe we haven’t really stopped to question in depth the hate we’re feeling.

The current state of affairs

Just like Andy Warhol’s ironic use of consumerist icons such as the Campbell’s soup can during the 60s culture of rebellious anti-consumerism, Comic Sans is now used in a similar satirical vein to represent a lack of sincerity.

Last laugh

Did you know that Princeton released a study confirming that subjects who researched material in ‘childish’ fonts like Comic Sans resulted in a greater retention of information and higher test scores? Did you know that the creator of Comic Sans, Vincent Connare, said that “people who don’t like Comic Sans don’t know anything about design” – did you? Did you also know that, mass hate or not, he gets the last laugh? Connare’s font has arguably made a greater impact than any other modern typeface. So next time you find yourself scowling while reading something in Comic Sans, take a minute and ask yourself, “why?”

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