In the world of design there are few hard and fast “rules”. Comic Sans is the one of the exceptions. I realize most people reading this might think hardly anyone uses this dreadful typeface anymore but you’d be surprised how often it shows up. Some of us want to send the message that we are friendly and approachable and maybe even laid-back but there is really no place for such a goofy group of letterforms in any business related literature. And probably no place for them in non-professional literature either.
There are several major issues with Comic Sans:
- It was originally designed in 1994. Need I say more? If you want to look like you came of age in the early nineties and are still stuck there, please keep using it.
- It was not designed to be used for common text and as a result tends to look awful when used in paragraph form.
- It was intended to be used in comic like instructional speech bubbles in Microsoft Word. The very design of the typeface was adapted from hand-rendered, comic book style text. Therefore it is not appropriate to use in an annual report, or on most websites, nor business cards nor any place where you would like to be taken seriously.
- The freshly retired Pope Benedict XVI used the typeface for his resignation letter. If that doesn’t scare you I’m not sure what else to say. If really old people are using it you probably shouldn’t unless you want to look out of touch.
- It appeals primarily to people under the age of 10. If that is not your audience you should consider stepping up your game and using, oh I don’t know, Helvetica perhaps?
There are numerous places online where you can find information and opposition to the use of Comic Sans. Many of these sites are, at the very least, entertaining and will give you more background information on the issue. Here are a few:
- http://bancomicsans.com – putting the sans in comic sans. Lots of fun and surprisingly informative.
- http://comicsanscriminal.com – helping people like you learn to use comic sans appropriately (which I would say is never but perhaps I’m extreme). Beautifully designed site with no use of the dreadful font.
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11582548 – a very un-serious article about the history and controversy surrounding this humble, hideous typeface.
- http://www.sitepoint.com/eight-more-alternatives-to-comic-sans/ – Here is a list of some lovely alternatives to Comic Sans. Of course the list of hand-written style fonts is endless but you need to start somewhere.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest we can move on to more interesting things like white space and monochromatic colour palettes! Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what those are, over time you will learn and your marketing will be all the better for it.