Example of the Comic Sans font.

You may find a lot of posts online that talk about the overuse of the font Comic Sans. My attention was drawn to Comic Sans this afternoon when a colleague pointed out a web site that used Comic Sans throughout, both as a display (i.e., headline) font and as a body (i.e., text) font.

But what’s really at issue here?

Comic Sans isn’t necessarily overused — it’s misused. Once a whimsical throwback to comic book days, now Comic Sans is found in all kinds of venues — PowerPoints, children’s web sites, chalkboard graphics, and many more.

Comic Sans is best used for comics, if at all. Comic Sans is a specialty font. To be used sparingly. For, say, comics.

Also, Comic Sans, aside from comic book text, isn’t right for text. Period. It’s difficult to read. Anyone who’s studied typography knows that Comic Sans might work as a display but never as a body font.

These days, too few people are studying typography, however. Many web “designers” don’t understand that legibility on a page is paramount. Sure, you may feel that Times Roman or Helvetica are not the most exciting fonts in the world — but they get the job done. In fact, you can’t go through a single day without seeing both of them many times, whether in newspapers, on billboards, or on television. They are workhorses.

I offer this to you as a way to judge whether a text typeface is working or not: If your (equally non-design oriented) client says, “Oh, interesting font!” Or “Great font!” you know you’ve made the wrong choice. You’ve chosen something too cute, too precious, if you will.

Body text should not draw attention to itself, the way that background music in a film or video should not.

There are thousands of fonts in the world — if you’re a designer who hasn’t studied typography, consider taking a class in it.

Your thoughts?

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Why Comic Sans isn’t funny anymore

by susan time to read: 1 min

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