My Defense of Comic Sans

Comic SansA couple of years ago, David Kadavy wrote an article explaining to all the prols why the Comic Sans font sucks. But it is also kind of a defense of the font. As he notes, Comic Sans is very readable at low resolution. So what is the problem with the font? There are some technical matters—mostly just that text is not consistent; it tends to be splotchy. But just how much does that matter?

You would not want to read a book printed with Comic Sans. But a flyer? Or even a website? Who cares? The truth is that most hatred of Comic Sans comes down to a lot of pretentious brats ostentatiously showing off their graphic design knowledge. And I really question how much they all hate the font so much as just use said hatred to self-identify with a particular group.

I understand why people like Comic Sans. It is a friendly and fun font. It seems unpretentious. And for people who would once have created a “lost dog” flyer by hand, using Comic Sans is the closest thing. Personally, I find the font kind of boring at this point. But it certainly has its uses as with the t-shirt in the Vsause video below:

Helvetica

But there is one good reason to use Comic Sans on websites. HTML has very awkward font capabilities. In most cases, you just provide a large number of font names and hope that the client computer has one of them. The last time I checked (about 13 years ago), Comic Sans was by far the most common font, found on over 90% of all computers. So as a webpage creator, you could depend upon pages looking the same way on your computer as they do on your readers’ computers. And that is kind of important. (I tend to use Verdana, because it is a pretty good font and probably as ubiquitous as Comic Sans at this point.)

But really, don’t use Comic Sans. If Cute Overload is not using Comic Sans, you shouldn’t either.

Afterword

Here is the excellent Vsause video:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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