Specs Howard School of Media Arts Blog

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    A Special "Type" of Hate

    Posted by Dan Kubacki on Thu, Oct 10, 2013

    Computer stressThere are few things in life people just hate.  And when I say hate, I mean hate, like instantaneous "What does this possibly exist?!" loathing.  The sort of despise you can only text about in caps locks with a half dozen explanation points at the end. 


    Comic Sans does that to a lot of people, graphic designers especially, and it's caused enough contempt that it should almost come with a warning label when you go to choose it.


    It's arguably the most hated font in the world, and it's been like that for a while now.  People flip out whenever some big article gets published in it, and there's even an entire website devoted to banning it.  It's over used, used inappropriately, has bad kerning and is terribly inconsistent.  But even so, it's still everywhere and sometimes, it feels like it always has been.  Oddly enough however, it hasn't, it took time to explode all over the universe like a freezing water balloon on a chilly winter day.  It has a story, it had a purpose, and perhaps it'd even tell us what they were if we listened.  Err… read.


    But hopefully... in any other font.




    No wait, I'm kidding!  Don't leave!




    Once upon a time there was a man, Vincent Connare, a Microsoft typographic engineer who stumbled upon something that shocked him like a lightning bolt hurled straight from Zeus.  You see, Vincent received the Beta version of Microsoft Bob, a software package designed to be extremely user friendly, which featured a cartoon dog, Rover.  Here's the thing though, Rover isn't just any old dog, he's a dog who can speak English.  I don't know about you but I've never seen a real dog speak English, so that in it of itself is pretty impressive!  Anyway though, Rover didn't speak with sound, but rather with letters in speech bubbles, something I also think is really impressive.  I need a pen paper and scissors to even come close to that, and if I succeed by some miracle I'd still look like an idiot.  Good Ol' Rover pulls it off quite well however, perched in front of the big red entrance of your home.  "Good evening."  He greets in Times New Roman, "Click on the door to sign in."


    Yep, that's right.  Times New Roman was the font of choice.  Apparently Pooch went to Princeton!


    This stunned Vincent and blasted him with the inspiration to solve a problem as he said, not create a font.  An avid comic book reader, he based his solution off what he read, and in three days time he had crafted his alliterative.  It was however, too big to fit in Times New Roman's grid so it missed the final cut, but was used in a later project, Microsoft 3D Movie Maker.  After that, it was included in the Windows Plus Pack in 1995, where we suddenly got a hold of it and refused to let go.


    Maybe if it was just used by, or for kids as intended we wouldn't have to loath it as much, but then Society found it and that's not how Society rolls.  Comic Sans has cameoed as itself in tombstones, scientific discoveries and famous letters to the public.  All of them were met with waves of criticism like they were from an earthquake in the ocean, and all of them were greeted with the same explanation when asked why.  


    "Because I like it."  


    And a lot of people do.


    Love it or love to hate it, we all have to live with it, no matter how far on either extreme you swing.  It isn't going anywhere, so the most we can do is beware.  But could we warn the masses?





    Topics: Comic Sans, History

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