Comic Sans – a History

Many of you know that I am a recovering Comic Sans addict. It used to be my font-of-choice when selling Beanie Babies on ebay at the age of 12.

And yes, I still have a few of them – stored safely in my parents’ house.

Jason and Qcait's beanie baby collection

My fascination with Comic Sans is by no means unique, there are many out there who call for it to be banned completely. For me, the sight of Comic Sans insights a giggle extremely similar to when someone repeats the word “do” in a sentence (as in “we do do that sometimes”) to inadvertently say “doo doo.” And in both scenarios, the more “professional” the setting, the more my inward (and often outward) laughter.

I stumbled across this video by Boston students Sam & Anita – a short documentary on Comic Sans. It has a really interesting take on the issue – essentially that when a type face is doing its job correctly, no one notices it. Good typeface should silently and beautifully let the message and the brand shine through… and Comic Sans may never succeed in going unnoticed.

Comic Sans from Sam and Anita on Vimeo.

Comic Sans inspired by Batman and Watchmen

Earlier this spring, the Wall Street Journal interviewed the creator of Comic Sans, Vincent Connare. Connare recounts that comic books were the original inspiration for the font, specifically “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Watchmen.”  Interesting that two fairly dark comic books inspired such a juvenile font… but I see it, I suppose.


My favorite quote from the interview:

“If you love it, you don’t know much about typography,” Mr. Connare says. But, he adds, “if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby.”

So when is Comic Sans ok?

Some say Comic Sans is never ok. I continue my metaphor to “do do” … feel free to use it in everyday conversation, but know full well that I am going to giggle every time.

In my humble opinion

I would say if you are over the age 13 and not talking about Beanie Babies… steer clear if you want to establish any street cred. But feel free to continue using it ironically.

What do you think? Any rules of thumb on Comic Sans usage?

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