Even more fun with type

May 3, 2009

Posted by Nick Sarno

 

An article about Comic Sans (the fun typeface that makes you angry) from the Fox Wall Street Journal:

 

Vincent Connare designed the ubiquitous, bubbly Comic Sans typeface, but he sympathizes with the world-wide movement to ban it.

Mr. Connare has looked on, alternately amused and mortified, as Comic Sans has spread from a software project at Microsoft Corp. 15 years ago to grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer.

The font, a casual script designed to look like comic-book lettering, is the bane of graphic designers, other aesthetes and Internet geeks. It is a punch line: “Comic Sans walks into a bar, bartender says, ‘We don’t serve your type.'” On social-messaging site Twitter, complaints about the font pop up every minute or two. An online comic strip shows a gang kicking and swearing at Mr. Connare.

The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web. The mission: “to eradicate this font” and the “evil of typographical ignorance.”

“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.”

Typefaces convey meaning, typographers say. Helvetica is an industry standard, plain and reliable. Times New Roman is classic. Depending on your point of view, Comic Sans is fun, breezy, silly or vulgar and lazy. It can be “analogous to showing up for a black-tie event in a clown costume,” warns the Ban Comic Sans movement’s manifesto. The font’s original name was Comic Book, but Mr. Connare thought that didn’t sound like a font name. He used Sans (short for sans-serif) because most of the lettering, except for the uppercase I, doesn’t have serifs, the small features at the end of strokes.

Mr. Connare, 48 years old, now works at Dalton Maag, a typography studio in London, and finds his favorite creation — a sophisticated typeface called Magpie — eclipsed by Comic Sans. He cringes at the most improbable manifestations of his Frankenstein’s monster font and rarely uses it himself, but he says he tries to be polite when he meets people excited to be in the presence of the creator. Googling himself, he once found a Black Sabbath band fan site that used Comic Sans. The site’s creators even credited him. “You can’t regulate bad taste,” he says.

 

Here’s the rest.

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