Trivia

Hard

Which Much Maligned Font Was Never Intended For Widespread Use?

Papyrus
Courier
Algerian
Comic Sans
An example of the Comic Sans font.
Microsoft

Answer: Comic Sans

Comic Sans is, by far, one of the most maligned and disliked fonts in the world, and not entirely without just cause. Designed in 1994 by Microsoft designer Vincent Connare, it was originally intended to be included with Microsoft Bob for use in the comic-style speech bubbles within the application. The project was completed too late for inclusion with Microsoft Bob and Comic Sans ended up in Microsoft 3D Movie Maker.

The font was later included in the Windows 95 Plus! Pack and was eventually rolled into Windows 95 releases as a standard font. Eventually, Comic Sans ended up as one of the default fonts for Microsoft Publisher and Internet Explorer. It was here that Comic Sans went from a cute but seldom used font appropriate for children and comic book bubbles to a font that hundreds of thousands of people used just because it was one of the default fonts in Microsoft Publisher.

As a result of that inclusion, Comic Sans pops up all over the place (often inappropriately). Entire websites are devoted to explaining why Comic Sans is a poor choice—such as Comic Sans Criminal—while others catalog poor uses of the font. The short of it is simply that the font is used, quite frequently, in places where a rounded-comic-book-like font is a poor choice and, far too infrequently, in actual contexts where the font would make sense (like an elementary school poster).

What does the designer, Vincent Connare, have to say about it?

Comic Sans was NOT designed as a typeface but as a solution to a problem with the often overlooked part of a computer program’s interface, the typeface used to communicate the message.

There was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children when I designed Comic Sans. The inspiration came at the shock of seeing Times New Roman used in an inappropriate way.

For a much longer treatment of the topic, you can visit his personal website.

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