Unabashed to the poison he released on the world, the creator of the dreaded font, Comic Sans, speaks up!
Bubbly, cutesy and childlike to an eye straining fault – in a world of conflicting views, it’s safe to say we all absolutely hate comic sans. Whether it’s on a passive aggressive office note, a resume you’re definitely not going to take seriously, or a poorly constructed flyer, we all know exactly what font we’re looking at when it comes to Comic Sans. There’s just something about the wobbly sans that induces a feeling that’s mixed with anxiety and disgust.
Connare worked for Microsoft’s typography team, where he developed fonts for their many programs. In the 90’s, computers were booming and creators like Connare were thinking of every design element their programs might need – that meant creating every font thought possible.
Connare was assigned to a program called Microsoft Bob, which was geared toward children. The font creator told The Guardian, “I booted it up and out walked this cartoon dog, talking with a speech bubble in Times New Roman. Dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman! Conceptually, it made no sense.”
Valid point, Vincent! From this, the idea to create a comic-book style font began. Connare started researching font styles in comics such as Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns. The hand lettering that made up the graphic novels were indicative to typeface, and Connare wanted to digitally replicate the style.
Connare replicated the font by hand. Then, using a mouse, he mimicked the lettering in the graphic novels, deleting whatever didn’t look right. The creator had a blast creating the font and “breaking typography rules.”
When it was all created it was too late to incorporate Comic Sans into Microsoft Bob, but apparently the office admins began using the font in a lot of emails. The font was used predominately by women in the office, whose jobs were to make things more lighthearted and fun. As it became more well known throughout the Microsoft offices, it was included in Windows 95… and, as they say, the rest is history.
Connare chuckles off the hate the font gets now. A group was formed called “Ban Comic Sans” to educate people on the proper use of typefaces. Interestingly enough, they asked Connare’s permission to start up the group, and he said they could knock themselves out. At the end of the day, the typographer is proud of his creation and the buzz around it, good and bad.
Type should do exactly what it’s intended to do. That’s why I’m proud of Comic Sans. It was for novice computer users and it succeeded with that market. People use it inappropriately: if they don’t understand how type works, it won’t have any power or meaning to them.”
As a typography nerd, I understand and respect what Connare was trying to accomplish when he created the font and how it should be used properly. They announced the Higgs boson in Comic Sans… that’s an inappropriate use. Printed a poster for a preschool and used Comic Sans? That’s appropriate, and a lot less infuriating.
Whether you realize it or not, typeface is very influential on delivering a message. That’s why there are different fonts, and a complete psychology behind typography. Quick example? YOU ARE READING THIS AS A YELL. Now, you’re not. BOOM! Influential typography. When you consider this, it’s not all that surprising the inappropriate use of Comic Sans has ingrained a deep hatred in reader’s minds.
What are your thoughts on the typically dreaded Comic Sans? Have any examples of “inappropriate” use of the font? Share them with us!