Font opinions

As a designer, I get way too opinionated about fonts. I think most designers are that way. And there’s certain fonts which I just despise. If there was one font I could eliminate from the face of the Earth, that font would be Microsoft’s Comic Sans.

It’s the cartoonish font you see just about everywhere. On crappy inkjet-printed restaurant menus, running from the moisture in the window. On the flyers you find on your doorstep, advertising lawn services. It’s the font that gives amateur desktop publishing a bad name.

Turns out, this wasn’t even really designed to be a standalone font. I’ve been aware for some time that the blame for this font rested with Microsoft, but I’d always thought it was created by a programmer. (It’s that bad.) Turns out it was created by Vincent Connare, specifically for use with the atrocious Microsoft Bob software, and Mr. Connare has written up a brief history of Comic Sans which explains a lot.

I found it interesting that the author blasts Apple for Chalkboard, a similar font developed years later. I feel that Apple basically corrected the problems with Comic Sans, and offered it to their users. Obviously there is a need for a cute, playful, comic strip style font, but why not make it a little more legible and fit for putting on paper?

You be the judge.

Mark Simonson also writes about my second least favorite font, in The Scourge of Arial. Arial is especially annoying to me because so many websites force you to view their site in this font. Google, for example. Countless other sites, as well. Unlike fonts commissioned specifically for online legibility, such as Verdana and Georgia, fonts which appear on most every computer on the Internet today, Arial was designed for all the wrong reasons, and we all suffer for it. The author summarizes:

It has spread like a virus through the typographic landscape and illustrates the pervasiveness of Microsoft’s influence in the world.

Raymond Brigleb

Creative Director, dreamer, partner, father, musician, photographer. Has been known to ride the rails. Pulls one heck of a shot.