<rant>When I was 10, I was introduced to PowerPoint presentations. That was the year that my grandparents had a major anniversary and my dad, being the technical whiz of the family, made a presentation with images and music and best wishes for the happily long-married couple.
Inspired and wanting to test out the spanking-new medium I was introduced to, I decided to make a presentation for my mom’s birthday a few months later on.
Her birthday came and went and I showed my masterpiece–full of crappy GIFs and MIDI music and some terrible design choices in general. Unfortunately, I can’t find the original file (I’m sure it’s somewhere), but take a look at the image below to get an idea about what it looked like:
As I grew more comfortable with PowerPoint, the slides began to look better and better and I began to venture into graphic design in general. While I’ve still much to learn about Photoshop and Illustrator, a large part of design is having solid principles–something i try to improve on with everything I make.
Today, I know basic rules. I know about the grid system and about the 2/3ds rule. I know about good use of color and about breaking the rules of design from time to time. I follow design blogs and stay up to date with new information. If there’s one thing I learned, above all else, is that one rule should never be broken by any human being with any common sense:
Never, EVER, use Comic Sans for anything. Ever. Ever. Ever. Even if the world is collapsing. Even if it is literally the only font left in the world. To use Comic Sans is to desecrate one’s soul by handing it over to Satan himself–condemming one’s soul to hell fire, dancing baby GIFs, and Caramel Dansen on a loop while the souls of the tortured wail eternally.
Comic Sans has bad kerning, it’s very highly informal, badly-weighted, improperly used, and makes you look like a complete dunderhead. Moreover, the use of Comic Sans results in bunnies being punched, and we don’t want that.
Why I respect certain people who use Comic Sans
If you’re reading this, odds are high that if you were to use Comic Sans you would end up with a whole Lemon Meringue pie sliding down your face–and with the stingy-lime bits IN YOUR EYE.
But there are certain situations where the use of the font is accepted, even expected.
- Early Elementary School Teachers: It seems like every time my third-grader brother walks home, he’s got another note written in the blasted font. But you know what? It’s ok. Being around kids makes you more likely to type out a note in a child-friendly font. Fourth grade and above, however? Comic Sans will result in a WF;DR (Wrong Font; Didn’t Read).
- People working with Dyslexic Students: According to the British Dyslexia Association, Comic Sans is a great font to use for children who are Dyslexic. The very same elements that don’t work in every day text (bad kerning, bad weight) make each character unique and difficult to confuse. Thing is, there’s still no need to use Comic Sans, when a special font is being developed to directly address bad readability for those who have Dyslexia. It’s called Dyslexie.
- Children: Just as I began my journey into design with crappy design and Comic Sans (I kick myself every day for using it, even if it was a decade + ago when I was a 10 year old child–no mercy), many other kids begin their exploration of design and the many fonts available on Microsoft Office with crappy, kid-friendly fonts such as Comic Sans, Curlz MT, and Papyrus. It’s great, because those kids are testing out a new sandbox. Many of them will grow up to become designers in their own right, or at least design enthusiasts who know that they should never use the Font-That-Should-Not-Even-Be-Named ever again. Most others, though, will never outgrow it. And like a Bro in his late 20s, who continues to seek cheap thrills as if he were in college, they will continue to use Comic Sans as if it were a proper design choice. Parents, don’t let your children fall prey to this demon.
- Elders: They lived for years, through conflict and economic climates both good and bad. They are entitled to use whatever they want to use when they print out their reports or flyers advertising the next Bingo game.
- Tasteful irony:
If you don’t fall under these categories–I’m looking at you, roughly 62.6% of the population according to 2010 US Census figures–for the sake of all that is holy, pure, and good in the world. STOP.
No, a sign to remind people to shut a door is not an appropriate use of the font.
Ambulances are DEFINITELY not an appropriate place for Comic Sans
Nor is a Pediatricians Clinic an appropriate medium to
And Pope Emeritus Benedict. COME ON, MAN! YOU’RE KILLING ME HERE!
So there you have it folks. We’re left with a font that has, apparently, the approval of God. But designers, who at times think of themselves as gods, have a deep, reasonable, and native hatred of the typeface.
In this case, I’m siding with the non-Gods here. Forgive me LORD, for I may have sinned.
A quick note for designers, I see you looking so smug there.