Comic Sans

The typeface designed for children that, through misuse, has became the butt of designer jokes.

In 1994 Vincent Connare was a designer at Microsoft who was tasked with creating a new typeface for the children’s program Microsoft Bob. To appeal to kids, Connare created a typeface that mimicked the letterforms found in comic books. Thus was born, Comic Sans.

Comic Sans was widely distributed with Windows 95 as well as with every Macintosh by 1996. This meant that almost anyone who owned a computer had access to Comic Sans. People were free to use the font in anyway they saw fit. The playful typeface intended for children soon found itself being misused on everything from local government memos, to resumes, to lost pet signs. It’s these kinds of misuses that made Comic Sans the butt of so many jokes and the target of so much derision. Thus began Comic Sans’ ignominious distinction as one of the worst fonts ever made.

Just a few of the ridiculous uses of Comic Sans in the wild.

Greater Accessibility

Despite general opinion, Comic Sans has advantages over other fonts. In mimicking the handwriting style of comic book fonts, the letters of Comic Sans have irregular lines. The letters aren’t perfectly straight nor do they have or perfectly even curves. These irregularities make Comic Sans a more accessible font for people with dyslexia. Numerous dyslexia associations have said that Comic Sans is the best font for dyslexics because of its “character disambiguation” and “variation in letter heights.”

Ultimately it’s easy to make fun of Comic Sans because of how people have misused it, but these jokes say more about the person who chose to use Comic Sans than the font itself. Comic Sans is a font designed for children, not for general use. Most people aren’t designers and they’re simply picking something different, something fun. But as a rule of thumb, unless you are designing for children, it’s probably best to not use Comic Sans.