Comic Sans Makes Gizmodo's List Of "Regrettable Tech Inventions"
This one is just too good to pass up. Yesterday Gizmodo, the blog about gadgets and technology, posted a humorous entry called Eight Regrettable Tech Inventions, Regretted. It lists eight "great ideas" that may have seemed valuable at the time, but with hindsight the world would've been a lot better off without. And what do we find next to the cubicle, the atomic bomb, and the blink HTML tag? Why yes, that's Vincent Connare's oft-derided Comic Sans. There simply is no avoiding this train wreck of a type design rearing its ugly head time and again.
The entry describes it as:
Font of choice for kitschy restaurant menus, passive-aggressive office notices and the worst websites on the internet, Comic Sans is merely a lame font, made evil by its endless, widespread use.
There have been attempts to rehabilitate it, including an interview with Vincent Connare on Karen Huang's Snog Blog where the creator makes a couple of good points. It is the subject of Ban Comic Sans, the only website dedicated to eradicating a typeface from the face of the earth, and a Flickr Pool records Comic Sans sightings in real life. Will the type and graphic design community ever get over it? I seriously doubt it, as the typeface has so thoroughly permeated (low) culture and life in general that it is nigh impossible to imagine a world without it, just like Helvetica is virtually inescapable. We must resign to the harsh reality that indeed, we will periodically cringe when confronted with yet another – most probably completely inappropriate – use of the generally despised faux childish script.
© Tim Boddy
Actually, is there an appropriate use for Comic Sans? Personally I think not, as it fails at everything it attempts to be. It is too flaccid to be taken seriously as comic book lettering, not naive enough to be mistaken for children's writing, and too lame to pass for adult hand printing. It's always either "not enough" or "too much" – a poor design, plain and simple, which looks awful in amateur efforts, and even worse in supposedly professional design. Fortunately there are lots of alternatives, yet I doubt any number of superior designs will ever make Comic Sans fade away. We'll just have to live with it.
Header image:China Eastern Airlines Airbus A340-642 © Sam Chui
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