The Man who invented Comic Sans

Autaux-3
200904171209The Wall Street Journal tracks down the designer of the world’s most hated typeface, Vincent Connare, and finds the villain cackling with glee from his Swiss headquarters:

The font, a casual script designed to look like comic-book lettering, is the bane of graphic designers, other aesthetes and Internet geeks. It is a punch line: “Comic Sans walks into a bar, bartender says, ‘We don’t serve your type.’” On social-messaging site Twitter, complaints about the font pop up every minute or two. An online comic strip shows a gang kicking and swearing at Mr. Connare.

The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web. The mission: “to eradicate this font” and the “evil of typographical ignorance.”

“If you love it, you don’t know much about typography,” Mr. Connare says. But, he adds, “if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby.”


Connare reveals that he based the foul font on WATCHMEN and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, so some internet pundits are saying that John Costanza and Dave Gibbons should be blamed…however, anyone who took the work of these two gentleman and came up with Comic Sans isn’t really clear on what made that lettering attractive in the first place.

PS: The famed July 5, 2007 ACHEWOOD strip excerpted above has been viewed nearly half a million times online.

Comments

  1. Forget comic sans, can we declare a moratorium on Trajan instead?

    You know – that pretentious font that is so overused it’s now synonymous with “overblown indie dramatic wankfest” films?

    Type “trajan” in on youtube.

  2. The Beat says:

    I think when 2008-2009 are recreated, art directors will use Lucida, myself.

  3. I intensely dislike University Roman. It is the most overused and cliched font around this town. Every jewellery shoppe, fake nail joint and furrier is using it, even as a body text, and oh boy is it tiresome.

  4. Joe S. Walker says:

    Want to see something REALLY hideous? Kristen ITC.

  5. Papyrus is the most overused font by any restaurant vaguely related to Asian or Middle-Eastern Food.

  6. On chat rooms, I like Lucida Console. For email and text blocks, I prefer Verdana. (Times Roman… ugh.) Having set movable type back in college, Bembo has a nice classical feel. Dunno what electronic typeface resembles that…probably heretical to use an electronic version of such a classic typeface.

    Geez… University Roman is pretty offal. It conjures up Fifth Avenue in the 1970s.

    For an interesting list:
    http://www.makefive.com/categories/news-business/design/worst-typefaces-of-all-time

    And since we’re kicking down Comic Sans, what are the best comics typefaces? Whizbang?

    As for ignorance… keyboarding classes should include a basic design curriculum. “Thinking With Type” by Ellen Lupton is a pretty good introductory textbook.

    If if you’re curious… http://www.lipsum.com/

  7. Copperplate Gothic. Nothing screams “design” from 2001 like it!

  8. The Beat says:

    Remember LITHOS in the 80s?

  9. Oh, Lithos. Yep. And Kabel was all over for awhile. Friz Quadrata was overused in the early 80s.

    Most over-used ‘comic’ font: Zoinks

    Personal most-hated lettering font: Whizbang.
    I am still haunted with shame that it was used in so many Gladstone comics when we first went to desktop publishing. Awful.

  10. One comics typeface I like and have used is BritComics. Unlike Comic Sans, it’s very John Costanza-esque.

    Fugliest fonts besides Comic Sans:
    -Algerian
    -Banff, which screams “opening credits from a crappy ’80s sitcom”
    -Benguiat Frisky
    -Cottage
    -Curlz MT, which should be called Pubez MT
    -Gigi
    -Homeward Bound, a.k.a. the Dukes of Hazzard credits font
    -Monotype Corsiva
    -Vanilla Whale

    The Papyrus-like President font fuglied up part of the Batman: The Animated Series logo that Warner Bros. used on ads and merchandise.

    How about fugliest comics cover logo changes? I like Todd Klein’s logos, and they’re such a huge part of my comics-reading childhood, but I wasn’t feelin’ the spiky logo that he created for the Spidey titles in 1994: http://kleinletters.com/Blog/?p=887

  11. ~chris says:

    As a 46-year old who had to use a manual typewriter up through college, I laugh at all you kids whining about your font choices.

  12. While comic sans is an ugly font, that comic strip ain’t pretty to look at either.

  13. “art directors against futura extra bold condensed”

    Of course, the Watchmen logo is Futura Condensed Extra Black.

    Futura is actually a pretty good font family, as long as it’s not overused.

    Hey, has anyone actually used handset type in a comicbook?

  14. Getting back to the topic of hating Microsoft Comic Sans,

    My chief complaint with is that it is not suitable for doing comics, yet every brain-dead newspaper graphics person the world uses it as the default font when they are laying out a ad for a comic book event. Then I have to give each one a schooling.

    “How can it not be for comics, if It’s called COMIC BOOK SANS?” they cry.

    “Have you ever seen a comic book, or have you ever looked at a comic strip like the ones they run in YOUR OWN NEWSPAPER?”, I Say. “Does any of the lettering you see in those strips remotely resemble Microsoft Comic Book Sans?”, I ask.

    “Well, er, no.” They allow.

    I’ve had to go through this countless times. Now I just nip it in the bud and discuss fonts in advance and tell them that MSCBS is strictly prohibited.

    Perhaps if you wanted to show a little kid who was trying to do comic book lettering it would do. Otherwise, it’s useless for any purpose.

    Remember the “Extrosion” Comic Con in Las Vegas? Remember what a disaster that was? I knew in advance that it would fail. They used Comic Sans for their logo. That was enough evidence I needed to know that the whole enterprise was doomed from the start.

    Comic Sans is not for comics.
    It needs a name change.

    I suggest:
    Microsoft Elementary School Sans
    (MESS, for short.)

  15. ~chris:

    Me too!

    There are fonts I don’t like, but I can’t imagine loving or hating one. It makes inane fanboy continuity debates seem just a little less silly.

  16. Steve Taylor says:

    Y’know what I don’t get? Achewood. That’s what I don’t get.
    (This is my favorite comments section in ages.)

  17. Mark Tuchman says:

    Anyone mention Hobo yet?

    Hard to think of many fonts I don’t like—though many I would never use.

    But Hobo! That stands alone.

    I think the last time I used it was with presstype.

  18. Da Fug says:

    The only font I wish I could beat people up for using is The Brady Bunch font (whatever the hell it’s actually called). I hates me The Brady Bunch font! Moratorium on usage of TBBF for several decades, please.

    Maybe hating fonts is like hating celebrities: everyone has one that really, REALLY gets them riled up.

  19. Who Cares says:

    Oh, come on. Everyone is being so pretentious about this.

    In the 90s, everyone used Comic Sans routinely in email. If it was so ” hated,” it certainly seemed popular at the time.

    People are hypocrites and will jump on any bandwagon.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The Beat tells us about the man who invented Comic Sans. [...]

  2. [...] After  a profile of its creator Vincent Connare in the Wall Street Journal, and Heidi McDonald linking to it (making the story spread like wildfire across the blogosphere), the much reviled Microsoft font, Comic Sans is finally judged by that guru of comic book typography, Todd Klein.  As you would expect, Todd goes about his business with much care, but can’t help but conclude : Comic Sans fails on every level, and I think deserves the scorn it’s gotten. Only the fact that it comes with so many Microsoft products, making it easy for the design deaf to turn to, has kept it prevalent. Computer users beware, Comic Sans is nothing more than a way to label yourself clueless about comics, fonts, and good design. Add to : [...]

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