Trendy - it’s not considered “serious” enough for anything but the most frivolous of documents. I’m a fan myself - it’s very easy to read, and I do all my draft word-smithing with it, then convert to something more formal for the final product.
I never liked it, but maybe I just saw it in more inappropriate contexts than others. I was pleasantly surprised to find more of my kind who don’t like it (that’s right, I’m the douche who hated it before it was cool to hate it).
For the most part it’s because it’s trendy. But really, I hate Comic Sans only because it seems to be the font of choice for every office manager who’s ever tried to lessen the blow of a passive aggressive email or note. Hard to like the font when it’s the messenger to tell you that you can only put one creamer in your coffee.
Serious computer nerds hate it because non-technical types, like their wives and girlfriends, use it for all their emails and documents. They do this because they it’s “cute” and “friendly”. This is unacceptable. Computers are serious tools and must be respected.
The short answer to the original question is “yes”. Next font to be hated due to overuse and inappropriate use is Papyrus. They’ve made the website for that, too.
However, in the interest of accuracy, Microsoft wants people to stop using IE6. They are not apologizing for its longevity (nor should they), but they do see that too many people have hung on to it for too long and have made their own IE6 Must Die website. (What they should apologize for is not making any of their browsers standards compliant until IE9 - which won’t run on Windows XP… We Who Make Web Pages are still screwed.)
I hate to sound like I’m saying “I hated it before it was trendy to hate it,” but as a children’s librarian, I really have been sick of that font for years. It’s always the go-to font for baby/kid-oriented flyers and newsletters. I make a point of finding other “fun” fonts for my flyers. (I NEVER change the standard font in emails!) I think it has definitely become trendy to pick on Comic Sans in the past couple of years, though. The font was around for years before the font nerds found each other on the internet and started this trend.
@Keera — Darn. I really like Papyrus, though I do see it being overused, too. Long live Maiandra!
Comic Sans itself isn’t an awful font, it’s just that it’s being way overused outside of its original purpose. There are things that it’s good for, but people tend to use it a lot in places where it doesn’t belong.
Regarding Arial vs. Helvetica, mentioned above, I’m sorry, but this gets my goat every time for at least a dozen reasons. Microsoft created Arial to skirt the issue of having to pay royalties to Adobe for Helvetica. The font itself is ripped off from another sans-serif, scaled to make it look more Helvetica-like. Everyone who has ever studied font design know what happens when you do things like that — you get what Microsoft got: an ugly, ugly font. Plus, it’s ugly. Did I mention it’s ugly?
In Arial’s plus column, it “hints” well on-screen, meaning that when you change font sizes, the pixels arrange themselves nicely. Here, Arial has the advantage. On screen. Not in print. And certainly not on a giant, expensive, permanent metal sign where it would have cost the same to use Helvetica.
I’m going to go with the trendy crowd. There always has to be something for a crowd to hate to feel that they are “in” themselves. This takes nothing away from people who truly do not like Comic Sans for it’s own sake, but I don’t think you’re the majority. I have no problem with Comic Sans myself and use it on occasion.
Keera - I agree with you and your comments about Microsoft and their browser non-compliance. They tried to strong arm programmers for years while others passed them by. They lost the battle, but they are still causing trouble.
Wow, I had no idea anyone felt so strongly about Comic Sans. Like JrzyGirl, I use it all the time because it’s easiest to read, but I love all fonts. And, Joe, I’m definitely a technical type computer nerd. How can any font be more overused than any other these days? Sounds like people are just looking for something else to complain about.
My biggest problems with fonts are in determining “rn” from “m” and telling the numbers 6, 8, 9, and 0 apart. But that may have something to do with getting old.
Keera, Elyrest: IE8 is actually compliant with every currently-approved standard. (Well, no browser is 100%, but they’re in the high 90s.) So they’ve actually been standards-compliant for awhile now. People tend to forgot (due to the hype) that HTML5 and CSS3 are not yet standards. Browsers implementing these are going “above and beyond”.
And from my experience, IE8 has fewer DOM bugs than Firefox (which until 4.0 had a buggy removeEventHandler function), and Chrome (which until version 10 had a buggy implementation of the onResize handler.)
I’ve done the odd photomanip in my time, and I’ve always done my signature in either Comic Sans or Papyrus. I only sign them with the intials “PJC,” and the year though, so I chose them because I like their capitals best of all the fonts I’ve tried.
I agree with Bill @ 1. I never particularly had much hate for comic sans, and even used it occasionally for a long time. Then I started working in an office, and one of my coworkers sent all his emails in italicized green comic sans font, and never spelling out a word if it could be abbreviated in some manner of internet lingo or corporate jargon (my company is quite fond of acronyms). The whole thing felt unprofessional and lazy, like he had spent all of about two seconds on the email, and he would send such emails to vice presidents and all that. That experience turned me off of comic sans in general.
I was stuck with Arial for the longest time, but then grew bored of it. Then I liked Verdana, followed by Century Gothic, and my latest favorite is Trebuchet.
Now if you want to talk about hated fonts, I’ve heard lots of hate for Courier New.
I think it’s very trendy to hate the font. I think the dislike started because, as noted, it’s used a lot by people who just like to change fonts (along with those silhouette cartoon clip art people), but far more people bitch about it now than would have recognized it before the trend.
My main objections to it are that, despite its name, it more closely resembles a draughtsman’s lettering than a cartoonist’s. And because it’s one of the Microsoft Core Fonts, most people simply use it when they want something informal, rather than one of the thousands of other “hand lettering” fonts available (many of them free).
Which is pretty close to my objections to Caslon Antique: it’s not actually based on any of Caslon’s typefaces, doesn’t follow the aesthetic design principles of the Colonial-era typefaces it’s intended to evoke, and it seems to be the go-to font any time someone wants something old-looking, despite the existence of more accurate period fonts (many of which are free). And to add insult to injury, it doesn’t even have a proper ‘long s’.
Like others here, I hate Comic Sans because of the associations I have with it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used in a well-designed and well-written document. I have come to associate it with badly laid-out cutesy fliers and memos rife with misspellings and grammatical and punctuation errors and with random capitalization and font size and weight variations. I’m not fond of the font itself, but I actively dislike it because I mentally bundle it with a host of textual sins.
Like Jenn (@11), I’ve hated Comic Sans for a long time. It has nothing to do with the “trend”, I have always disliked every “handwritten” font that tries to appear “clumsy”. The problem is simple: the “spastic” effect works fine in any word that does not have any repeated letters, but as soon as letters (and especially letter combinations) are repeated, it becomes glaringly obvious that the “primitive” effect is merely mechanical.
At one point I considered the possibility of creating a new handwritten font that would provide multiple variants for each letter, so that the repetition effect would not occur. The problem is that there is no possibile mechanism in the API interfaces that would permit a browser or word processing application to randomly select a new variant for each letter’s occurrence.
I can actually tolerate Papyrus - even used it on a business card once (not mine) - but I experience a physical reaction of revulsion to Comic Sans.
Comic Sans is the Barney the I-Love-You dinosaur of fonts. Sure, it has its charm for a certain subset of people, but it’s big and lumbering and fake-chummy. It’s even worse than some of those stupid novelty fonts that people use to “jazz things up” with no regard to appropriateness to the message. Comic Sans’ message is: I didn’t want anything “sooo serious” as a serif so I settled on “durrrrr-lalala!” (crosses eyes)
As a former designer (what? You couldn’t tell?), I abhor the overly-cuddly proportions of CS. It has too much white space within letters and everything is bandy-legged and rounded for fear an incautious reader will put their eye out. I don’t need a font wrapped in bubble wrap. And then to see it used over and over (and over) again…. aaaigh! I don’t care if it’s trendy; I don’t care if hating it is trendy; It substitutes cuddly sans serif novelty for anything resembling good design, and seduces the unwary into thinking it’s a valid design choice for darn near everything. Only rarely does it actually “work,” and even then one is distracted by its ubiquitousness.
Or you could say Comic Sans is the ketchup of spices. It’s a perfectly good condiment in the right circumstances, but wearisome and off putting (or downright insulting depending on your sensibilities) if used on *everything*.
Oh, it’s just a trendy way to make them feel superior. Computer nerds and type geeks (a lot of overlap there) take great pride in obscure technical minutia and believes it makes them superior as people. There’s nothing wrong with being good with a particular tool, but it has nothing to do with one’s moral worth. And they’re stupid losers because they don’t even know how to issue a card to an alternate address in Tsys2 via rcrd.
Comic Sans is OK - not great but OK - at doing what it was originally designed for: looking like text in a comic book for use on the fly in cartoony applications, like Microsoft Bob (anyone remember that?) and MS Comic Chat. In all other contexts it looks wrong. When used in signs or published media it shows not only a lack of understanding of aesthetics but a total lack of effort.
I generally ignore fonts unless I’m analyzing something or discover something written it an out-of-context font. I have the good fortune of working for myself, so I have no bosses and little e-mail.
I just put Comic Sans into one of my documents to see what the fuss was, and it seems pleasant enough, but who would want an entire message of the stuff? I respect the opinons of those (see some of the above) who work with this and think about it a lot.
As for Courier New, I have use it–and Courier before it–since I discovered them with my first MacPlus over twenty years ago. One reason that I still type & print in Courier New is that I can tell at a glance which piece of paper lying on the floor or in a pile is part of my typescript. In addition, it’s pleasant, readable, and doesn’t squeeze the characters.
I find it to be not as easy to read as other fonts. Documents end up being much longer than they would have been otherwise. And I agree with the complaints about it being cutesy. I wouldn’t dislike it if its use was restricted to posters (which a lot of people would object to), but it isn’t well suited to blocks of text (which a lot of people use it for), or for anything which should look professional. And count me in the “dislikes Comic Sans but likes Papyrus” group.
@Kilby #28: At one point I considered the possibility of creating a new handwritten font that would provide multiple variants for each letter, so that the repetition effect would not occur. The problem is that there is no possibile mechanism in the API interfaces that would permit a browser or word processing application to randomly select a new variant for each letter’s occurrence.
OpenType provides an OS-independent mechanism to do such a thing, using the contextual alternates table. For example, a rule for the letter ‘o’ could be as simple as “If the preceding letter is also ‘o’, then use glyph variant 2 for this one”, or more complex, like “if the letter before the preceding ‘o’ is a ‘b’, then use glyph variant 2, unless the next letter is a ‘k’, in which case use glyph variant 3″.
You can also produce a pseudo-random replacement of glyphs by creating multiple ’salt’ (stylistic alternates) sets, then using the ’sub’ feature to rotate through the sets (discussion here, if you’re interested).
The problem is that not all applications implement the advanced OpenType features. For example, Firefox and Google Chrome do, while Internet Explorer doesn’t; Adobe Indesign and Photoshop do, while OpenOffice and Microsoft Word do not (at least, Word 2007 doesn’t, which is the latest version I have).
I’ve read that there is an AAT (Apple Advanced Typography) feature that allows the selection of random glyphs from a collection of equivalents - specifically included for making more realistic handwriting fonts - but I have no direct experience with it, not having a Mac.
Knowing these obscure technical minutiae, of course, makes me a far better person than Singapore Bill.
@ John Small Berries (35) - Thanks very much for proving me wrong (and my apologies to those who are not interested in all this technical drivel). I think the “OpenType … contextual alternates table” you mentioned would effectively be the same as the kerning table, meaning that adjacent letter combinations would still appear the same. The “stylistic alternates” approach appears more promising, although it appears to be computationally prohibitive (not to mention the amount of effort to set the whole thing up). My original idea was to use a separate (prime!) number of variants for each of the most frequent letters (e.g., 7 e’s, 5 t’s, 3 n’s, etc.) so that it would take the longest possible time for any single digraph to “repeat”.
However, later reflection revealed a much simpler solution: use real handwriting (or calligraphy) when a manual appearance is required, and stick to cleaner, non-random fonts for computer work. Even though I’m still partial to “real” lettering, there are a large number of comics (both in print and on the web) that use computer captions; some of those fonts even look fairly good.
@Kilby #36 - Contextual alternates and kerning are two very different things. Contextual alternates replace one or more glyphs with another glyph depending on the surrounding letters - frequent in non-Latin scripts, but one Latin example would be a 17th-century reproduction typeface replacing the standard ’s’ with the ‘long s’ except in the terminal position or preceding ‘b’ or ‘k’ - whereas kerning affects the spacing between glyphs.
The stylistic alternates would actually be less computationally expensive, and require less work to set up, if you wanted multiple forms of every glyph; it simply rotates amongst various sets of glyphs, whereas a contextual alternates scheme would have to check the entire list of calt mappings for each glyph.
Agreed, however, that the best way to get a handwritten look is to write it by hand.
JSB and Kilby, thanx for the interesting technical discussion.
If not called “kerning”, what is the term for replacing certain sequences of letters with a multi-character block that combines them in a designed way? I mean like ff, ffi, fi.
A while ago, when I was doing some work in the TeX / LaTeX / metafont world, I recall a novelty font called “Ransom”, meant to look like disguised writing (as one might use for a ransom note), or letters clipped from magazines and pasted together.
@mitch4, stylistic and contextual alternates can be used to produce ligatures, but OpenType already includes a few table types specifically for different classes of ligatures (required, standard, contextual, discretionary and historical).
Stylistic alternates are mainly for providing different choices to the end-user (fe.g. an italic font with both round-bottom and pointed-bottom ‘v’, or a short-tailed ‘Q’ for when the default long tail would intersect the descenders of subsequent glyphs), whereas contextual alternates are intended to be chosen automatically by the font renderer (e.g. a blackletter font with an ‘r rotunda‘ which replaces the standard ‘r’ after letters like ‘b’, ‘o’ and ‘p’).
Bah. Why would anyone need anything besides 12pt Courier monospaced for anything?
If you tell your email program that you prefer text-only email, you need never fear receiving an email in Comic Sans again. Of course, you can remove the font from your computer if you really, really hate it.
When I’m mad at somebody, I give them documents in RansomNote. And if they’ve done something unforgiveable, then they get WingDings.
How interesting that anybody would be offended by any font that was legible. All I want is a font that I can instantly tell ones from ls and zeros from Os, especially when it’s an email address or website url. I don’t want to have to translate everything and zapf chancery is a good example of that. I suspect that font was developed specifically for wedding invitations. This is just coming from a desire for efficiency, nothing to hate or love, just get the job done quickly, please don’t waste my time. If I want to do a cryptogram, I’ll get a cryptogram and do it.
I like Comic Sans because the letters are soft and rounded. No sharp edges means you won’t accidentally cut your eyes when speed reading. It was always my favorite font, so I was absolutely floored when I discovered there was so much hate for it. I agree that it gets used in inappropriate places, but that’s like hating the existence ketchup simply because you don’t like it on hot dogs.
1958Fury @50, ketchup on hot dogs is appropriate, if not for everyone. What gets me is the (happily disappearing) Norwegian habit of putting it on spaghetti - that already has tomato sauce on it. There’s the culinary equivalent of misuse of Comic Sans.
Elyrest, Norwegians handle “exotic” food in their way. When I moved back to Norway in the early 80’s, they had been introduced to “salad”, i.e. the idea that not all vegetables must be put to death before eating. For some reason, the “salad” was always Chinese cabbage and canned corn, with maybe some shredded bell pepper thrown in, and always drenched in Thousand Island dressing. I have no idea how I stayed sane. 20 years later they finally tried other lettuces and dressings. Heck, 20 years later they were even daring to combine different things with bread, like ham and cheese and lettuce and tomato on the same slice! (And no, I’m not kidding.)
Keera -The only Norwegian food I can honestly say I’ve eaten was at a Norwegian themed restaurant at Epcot Center about 18 years ago. I was a little underwhelmed by the food selections. Now I know it was at Epcot, but if that was anything like reality I would have problems eating regularly. Chinese cabbage, canned corn and Thousand Island dressing sounds like something I might have gotten at a church potluck back in the 60’s though.
John in Tronna @59, I have no idea who you mean. The Icelanders eat rotted shark flesh, and the Norwegians eat rotted trout (which is not my cup of tea; I prefer lutefisk), but both prefer their whale meat fresh.
I think anyone who has enough displaced passion to hate fonts needs to be dumped in a country where the natives commonly behead anyone who doesn’t believe in the exact same religion they do, or a country where the average native is lucky to have a scrap of bread for dinner.