Comic Sans MS (circa Windows 95)

– Posted in: Comic Sans MS, Fonts, Web Design
Comic Sans MS

Comic Sans MS

Comic Sans MS is a sans-serif casual script typeface. In 1994, Vincent Connare designed this comic font, which classified as a casual font designed to imitate the historical look of comic book lettering. It was meant to be used informally for things like… well, comic speech bubbles.

Microsoft supplied all Microsoft Windows users with this font back in their Windows 95 release, circa 1994. I remember when I first saw this font. Everything I wrote was in Comic Sans. I loved the newness of this font. It was different from your typical font and wasn’t a square text with serifs. It was… well, cute.

It quickly became popular to use for young kids in primary schools because of its fun child-like appearance. Within short order, we were seeing it everywhere! church bulletins and bulletin boards, restaurant menus, hospital signs, supermarket ads, all sorts of signage used Comic Sans. I have seen it so much now, that I’m sick of the font. In my opinion, it is overused and abused.

Recently, I found a huge following of web designers, graphic artists, professionals, who wish to ban this font from its overuse. Some want Microsoft to remove it from their Windows products. Well, I never thought to join that ban-wagon. I felt people could choose whatever font they wanted, whether I liked it or not. Free choice and all… My personal usage of the font stopped many years ago because I felt it really didn’t look professional. It was a nice change, but it really didn’t add that “punch” of professionalism that I wanted in what I wrote. If a client asked for their logo or website to be in this font, I would do it because they were paying for it. But I found I wasn’t satisfied as a professional using the font.

I came across a website called “Something Awful,” which displayed images of logos, theater photos, planes, even the presidential emblem on the podium the president uses for all his speeches. Their goal is to show us what it would be like to see EVERYTHING in Comic Sans. I realized then that Comic Sans should NOT be used on everything. Most the images displayed on their blog looked comical. You found yourself wanting to laugh at them. You just don’t take it seriously! And there lies the problem.

There are only a few appropriate uses for Comic Sans MS… Even then, there are better, cleaner fonts that can accomplish the same purpose.

  1. When your audience is under 10 or 11 years of age.
  2. When you’re designing a comic.
  3. When your audience is dyslexic. (Apparently, because Comic Sans MS is easy to read, dyslexic people tend to prefer it to something with serifs. However, other fonts work well for those who suffer dyslexia yet are suitable for other readers as well.)

If you want your material, whether printed or digital, to be taken seriously, DO NOT use Comic Sans MS. That isn’t its purpose! If you absolutely LOVE Comic Sans, there are other fonts that are cleaner and more professional looking. Just search Google or Bing and you will find a plethora of choices. Remember too, who is your target audience? You need to understand that the font(s) you choose

As for me, I’m taking a stronger stance on using Comic Sans MS, not because I agree with these who want it banned, but because I strive for professionalism.

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