A History of Comic Sans: The World’s Most Trash Font

The most loathed font to ever be afforded the opportunity to express the written word has made the news in recent weeks. Whether it was this fake resignation by an Arsenal employee:

Or the court order in Brazil ordering Ryan Lochte to surrender his passport:

But what lead us here? Who masterminded this most trash representation of the English language? Look no further than Boston Massachusetts’ own, Vincent Connare.

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That’s the face of a real lunatic… a man with zero regard for the emotional rollercoaster he sends all of us on every time his monster of a typeface is unleashed on us. Here’s two excerpts from a Fusion.com piece that tackled the impact Comic Sans has on our brains.

The researchers, from University of South Alabama and Brigham Young, compared Comic Sans to riding a roller coaster. With other types, people’s feelings tended toward one emotion (Arial: organized; Market Felt: amusement; Futura: focus), but Comic Sans instead elicited a range of reactions. Among the researchers’ subjects, it invoked, in equal measure, agitation, amusement, distraction, stimulation, focus, diversion, determination, calmness and concern.

“The typeface sends viewers in all major emotional directions at once,” they wrote. “We’re both agitated and amused, but calmly concerned about it.”

I mean holy shit that is 9 separate emotions/brain functions represented evenly, 11.11% a piece, no wonder it sends us into an absolute frenzy. We’re getting tugged every which way, if this existed during the time of the Zodiac Killer (*cough* Ted Cruz *cough*) you better believe he would’ve stopped wasting all that time with his cryptic letters and just went strictly with Comic Sans.

Somehow there are some in favor of this abomination.

Graham Lee, the Chief Creative Officer at the T1 Agency, was quoted in an article stating that Comic Sans “has the ability to evoke a designer’s message without looking like an asshole.”

STRONG DISAGREEMENT coming from yours truly. I’m much more aligned with the ideology seen in The Observer, where they referred to it as “the world’s most reviled and visually offensive font.”

I’m very much in favor of technology advancing to the point where there’s a Minority Report type pre crime sensor that immediately leads to the arrest of anyone who even briefly hovers over Comic Sans in any font drop down menu.

But, in order to fully develop our distaste we must learn how this diabolical collection of characters came to exist. The tale goes back over 20 years…

In 1993 when Mr. Connare was an employee at Microsoft he was tasked with designing the font that would populate the speech bubbles for Microsoft Bob and his canine companion.

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Using the speech bubbles from “The Dark Knight” and “Watchmen” comics as inspiration, he began designing the letters for his brainchild by hand. But then God intervened, Connare failed to complete his task until 1994, missing the window to be featured.

And for a brief moment we were saved, spared the whirlwind of emotions Comic Sans would inspire. But then the terrorists over at Microsoft decided to include it as a system font in Windows 95. The inclusion of Comic Sans and its early alphabet placement makes it a quick scroll away in every drop down menu… cursing us all to encounter someone who is trying to be “fun” and “light” and a dick.

A few short years later in 1999, a white knight arrived in the form of Holly Sliger, a senior at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. She would birth the “Ban Comic Sans” movement along with her eventual husband, David Combs, whom she originally bonded with over their mutual hatred for the font.

In 2003 she emailed Mr. Connare with a document asking for permission to use his likeness on their products. Connare apparently too busy ruining our lives hastily signed it without looking closely and thus these beauties were born:

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While that wasn’t enough to kill the font, the folks at Objective Inc. give you a chance to take your frustration out in the form of a first person shooter where you literally shoot Comic Sans.Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 2.03.13 PM

In typical evil genius fashion, Connare was unimpressed and unfazed by the haters. At WIRED2015 he had the audacity to state that “twenty years ago, I made the best font in the world.”

Good god, the stones on this guy, dying on the Comic Sans hill with total disregard for the pain he has caused. When faced with a question about its standing in the world he went on to say:

“If you love it, you don’t know much about typography. If you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby.”

How dare he question my choice of hobbies, which include hating Comic Sans, petting the dogs of strangers and Netflix without the chill, in that order.

In 2014, Huffington Post published an article showing that not only is Comic Sans vile in its appearance, but also a menace to the environment as well as our wallets. And just for fun it shows how dumb it is that British people spell “color” with an unnecessary “u.”

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Despite the overwhelming opposition to this font and the facts displayed above, it is still prevalent and making its way onto important documents everyday. From the subpoenas issued by the clerks in Montgomery County, Texas to Dan Gilbert’s hate letter to LeBron James.

And perhaps the most egregious use of Comic Sans in recent memory belongs to CERN and the slides they used to announce the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle (apparently “the final missing particle in the Standard Model of particle physics,” whatever that means…). Even Vincent Connare chimed in on that one:

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It is probably not an awesome idea to display one of the most important discoveries of this century in a font that New York Times essayist, Errol Morris concluded “promotes — at least among some people — contempt and summary dismissal.”

To wrap things up, Comic Sans has been called visually offensive, proven to be viewed as untrustworthy, inspired a movement that took the time to craft a goddamn manifesto and  has a section on its Wikipedia page titled “Opposition,” yet it still pollutes computer across the globe.

It’s time for change. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

 

P.S. the distinction between “font” and “typeface” is in the top 10 dumbest things ever.

 

 

Sources:
Wall Street Journal
Huffington Post
Above the Law
Wired
Telegraph
Star
Ban Comic Sans
Fusion