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Comic Sans, Font of Ill Will 503

Posted by Soulskill
from the less-comic-more-sans-please dept.
Kelson writes "The Wall Street Journal profiles Vincent Connare, designer of the web's most-hated font, Comic Sans. Not surprisingly, the font's origins go back to Microsoft Bob, where he saw a talking dog speaking in Times New Roman. Connare pulled out Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns for reference, and created the comic book-style font over the next week. 'Mr. Connare has looked on, alternately amused and mortified, as Comic Sans has spread from a software project at Microsoft Corp. 15 years ago to grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer. ... The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web."
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Comic Sans, Font of Ill Will

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:26PM (#27627493)

    Comic Sans itself isn't a bad font. It is easily readable, and more than anything else, that is the best measure of a font.

    Just because it is so popular people hate it. It's like people hating on pop stars, Windows, and Kraft Parmesan cheese.

    Popular doesn't mean bad. On the contrary, it means it fits the needs of many people.

    • by EdZ (755139) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:32PM (#27627557)

      It is easily readable

      Yes. Compared to, say, Wingdings.

      • by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:56PM (#27628303) Journal
        You can't really appreciate it properly unless you use it with the <blink> tag.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bcrowell (177657)

        But seriously, research on readability isn't all that definitive. The conventional wisdom is that readability is maximized with serif fonts, ragged-right typesetting, and lines that are roughly 10-15 cm wide. However, the actual research does not consistently support those statements. The truth is that it's mainly a matter of taste.

      • by jonadab (583620) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:01PM (#27631971) Homepage Journal
        > > It is easily readable
        > Yes. Compared to, say, Wingdings.

        Actually, it's one of only three or four fonts my sister (who teaches lower elementary school) is willing to use for classroom materials, because it's one of the only ones the kids can read, because it uses the simple letter forms they teach the kids in kindergarten. The biggest points of contention for most fonts are the lowercase letters a and g. A few other sans fonts use the simple-form g, but almost none of them use the simple-form lowercase a.

        Now, one could argue that the schools *should* be teaching the normal lowercase forms that are ordinarily used in almost all print materials throughout the entire English-speaking world. But they *aren't*. (It may be partly because the more common forms are more complex and therefore require more coordination to write. A lot of kindergarten students struggle to get the stick on the right side of the circle for lowercase a, so asking them to write the Times form of the letter admittedly seems a bit much.)

        Anyway, I would argue that Comic Sans is better than *several* of the other fonts from Microsoft's "Core Fonts for the Web" initiative.

        Georgia and Verdana, of course, are clearly the best of the batch. They actually look good, and furthermore they look good together, which is a fairly big deal. You've got to have a basic serif and a basic sans font that look okay together, and this is a reasonably good pair. I've seen better pairs, but not *many* of them, and especially not ones that were available in 1996. Also, Georgia has a real actual honest-to-goodness italic face, which even manages to LOOK GOOD, which is a fairly rare quality. (I'm not a big fan of most italic faces, as a rule. If anybody knows of a freely-available sans-serif font that actually looks good in italic, I'd sure like to hear about it, because as yet I've not seen one.) Verdana runs a little on the large side, but you can fix that by decrementing the point size, so it's not exactly a deal-killer.

        Impact and Andale Mono are acceptable for their intended purposes (wet paint signs and source code, respectively). Lucida Console is in some ways better than Andale Mono, but it's not freely redistributable. Bitstream Vera Sans Mono is alright, but it didn't come out until later.

        But after that, really, the fifth-best one in the pack is Comic Sans. Bear with me...

        Arial and Arial Black and Trebuchet aren't actively ugly, but they're mediocre, and more to the point they're also pretty redundant with other, better fonts from the same initiative (Verdana, Impact, and Verdana, respectively). Admittedly, Arial dates to Windows 3.x and thus is older than Verdana, but once Verdana was produce we no longer needed Arial for anything (because Verdana looks better), so why was it still included, why is it *still* included with Windows? Why? As for Trebuchet, I never understood why it was needed at any time. It was never *bad*, but it also never had anything to offer over other fonts that were already available.

        Then we come to Times New Roman, which is uglier than a half-shaved mandrill, and Courier New, which is the most heinously hideous excuse for a font ever created in True Type format. (I've seen bitmapped screen fonts that were worse, but not many.)

        I assume we're not going to try to compare Webdings with anything because, you know, it was never intended for the same basic purpose as the other core fonts (namely, typesetting actual words).

        So, Comic Sans isn't the best font ever, but it's orders of magnitude nicer looking than TNR, to say nothing of Courier New, and furthermore it offers a significant stylistic difference from other available fonts, unlike Arial and Arial Black and Trebuchet. It's not as good as Verdana or Georgia, and its niche is (arguably) not as important as the ones for Impact and Andale Mono, but it still serves a useful purpose.

        You don't like Comics Sans? Hey, fine, uninstall it from your computer, and websites that try to use it (and don't provide a fallback alternative) will render in whatever font you set as your browser's default. Voila.

        But personally I don't see what's so bad about it.

        Times New Roman is the one I wish was never created.
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:35PM (#27627577)

      Comic Sans itself isn't a bad font. It is easily readable, and more than anything else, that is the best measure of a font.

      Just because it is so popular people hate it. It's like people hating on pop stars, Windows, and Kraft Parmesan cheese.

      I AGREE. PRO TIP: THE MOST EASILY READABLE SUBSET OF ANY FONT IS THE CAPITAL LETTERS. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS USE CAPS TO MAKE YOUR MESSAGES EASIER TO READ.

      • by omnichad (1198475) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:39PM (#27627623) Homepage
        That was funny. And hard to read.
      • ROMANE, I DOMUM!
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by geekboy642 (799087)

        actually, this is incorrect. when designers were working on one of the first computer fonts, they had only enough storage for one set of letters. a study was conducted to determine which one was most legible, and lower case won. the reason they went on to use only capitals? apparently you can't write the name of the christian deity in all lowercase.
        yes, folks, religion is why old terminals were all-caps only.

        • by johny42 (1087173) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:07PM (#27627871)
          [citation needed]
          • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:23PM (#27628003) Homepage

            [citation needed]

            That pretty much sums up religion in a nutshell.

          • by geekboy642 (799087) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:33PM (#27628107) Journal

            What, you need a citation for the jargon file? Hand in your geek card, and go back to whatever pop culture meme site you came from.

            Great Runes /n./

            Uppercase-only text or display messages. Some archaic operating systems still emit these. See also runes, smash case, fold case.

            Decades ago, back in the days when it was the sole supplier of long-distance hardcopy transmittal devices, the Teletype Corporation was faced with a major design choice. To shorten code lengths and cut complexity in the printing mechanism, it had been decided that teletypes would use a monocase font, either ALL UPPER or all lower. The Question Of The Day was therefore, which one to choose. A study was conducted on readability under various conditions of bad ribbon, worn print hammers, etc. Lowercase won; it is less dense and has more distinctive letterforms, and is thus much easier to read both under ideal conditions and when the letters are mangled or partly obscured. The results were filtered up through management. The chairman of Teletype killed the proposal because it failed one incredibly important criterion:

                    "It would be impossible to spell the name of the Deity correctly."

            In this way (or so, at least, hacker folklore has it) superstition triumphed over utility. Teletypes were the major input devices on most early computers, and terminal manufacturers looking for corners to cut naturally followed suit until well into the 1970s. Thus, that one bad call stuck us with Great Runes for thirty years.

        • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:43PM (#27628183) Homepage
          I'd imagine it's because no capital letters have descenders. They all fit nicely into boxes. That would make them easier to display than lower case letters.
          • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:25PM (#27628567) Homepage
            My understanding is that it's easier to disambiguate one capital letter from another if the printing is degraded, but it's easier to read words in lower (or mixed-) case. For instance, a smudged or half-printed e, o, and c all might resemble each other, but E, O, C are easier to tell apart. It's a more resilient case.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by lilomar (1072448)

              For instance, a smudged or half-printed e, o, and c all might resemble each other, but E, O, C are easier to tell apart.

              ...?

              Ok, I get e, but how are a smudged O and C easier to tell apart than a smudged o and c?

          • by nabsltd (1313397) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @04:47PM (#27629813)

            I know it's the least-used letter in the English language, but I didn't realize that "Q" has been completely forgotten.

            There are very few fonts where "Q" does not have a stroke below the baseline. Even the san-serif fonts requested by the Slashdot CSS have at least slight descenders for the "Q". But, it's even more obvious in Courier:

            Quick

        • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:47PM (#27628221)

          the reason they went on to use only capitals? apparently you can't write the name of the christian deity in all lowercase.

          Yes you can. It's not like he's going to strike you down with lighting bolts or something.

          god

          See, nothing ha

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:04PM (#27628371)

          Mod parent down.
           
          The parent is so wrong, it's scary. One word, dude: Baudot. It's the predecessor to ASCII and was used to send telegrams by wire and wireless. Another word: teletype. That's where "TTY" comes from. The first computer user interface equipment was converted teletype equipment. Third word: descenders. The first teletype printers used a strip of paper, "ticker tape," to print on. Capital letters in Roman based character sets have no descenders (if Q is not stylized.) Capitals represented the most efficient use of the paper, and having only one case of characters made Baudot smaller-- fewer bits per character, fewer chances for error making the text illegible (until FEC and other transmission strategies came along.)
           
          And who first realized that all caps make for efficiency? Stone masons. Ever seen a Greco-Roman building?

        • by stewbacca (1033764) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:14PM (#27628469)

          Absolutely wrong. All uppercase letters are harder to read because our minds see blocks of text, not individual letters. When you change the fundamental shape of a word (by making it one big block of uppercase text), you make the reader stop and look at each individual letter, as opposed to seeing the word shape.

          As for a citation, too many to post. I have a grad degree in Education with an emphasis in typography and cognition.

        • by Seraphim_72 (622457) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:32PM (#27628613)
          It is anti-religion so it must be true.

          All you have to do is look at LEDs to see why caps were used. I have an ancient Control Data Calculator that can easily show you why caps are used.

          I will go one step further and tell you your post makes you look like a bigot. Every quirk in the world is not the fault of religion, get over it already.
        • by abolitiontheory (1138999) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @03:35PM (#27629149)

          Also, in addition to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_caps [wikipedia.org]

          From the article: "However, the shapes of words set in lowercase provide a valuable cue to readers that helps speed the process of reading; type in all caps forms a rectangular shape for every word, which makes distinguishing words harder."

          I once read on a forum that it is on average %10 slower to read anything written in all capital then in mixed or lower case. This may not seem significant until one considers the ramifications for reading significantly long documents or the build up of lost productivity over years of reading terminal messages.

      • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:04PM (#27627845) Homepage Journal

        If that's the main complaint, the problem is that most comics are all caps that I've seen. The Far Side is the lone exception that I've found in my collection, and on my city's newspaper, The Family Circus plus a more obscure Ballard Street are the exceptions, everything else is all caps.

        Not only that, the name of the font tells us it's a comic typeface. The designer should know what they're doing if they stray too far out of the stated intent of a design element, and as such, the problem is most likely a misuse of the typeface, and not the actual typeface itself.

    • by omnichad (1198475) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:38PM (#27627603) Homepage
      It's not a bad font, but people use it in completely wrong contexts.

      If it stuck to speech balloons and the occasional kids' item, nobody would be against it.

      The reason to hate it is that it's the Universal "Specialty" font. If you don't want a serif font, or a plain font like Arial, the first tool of choice is Comic Sans.

      It's like when people use ketchup to make spaghetti sauce. It sort of works, but it's just wrong.
      • by drolli (522659)

        Arial??

        You mean this cheapo sana font with no proper kerning/ligatures.

        nobody wants that....

      • by rackserverdeals (1503561) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:57PM (#27627781) Homepage Journal

        The reason to hate it is that it's the Universal "Specialty" font. If you don't want a serif font, or a plain font like Arial, the first tool of choice is Comic Sans.

        That's because it's the only web safe font [ampsoft.net] that comes close to looking like hand writing.

        There are very limited choices when it comes to choosing fonts for the web. You can't blame comic sans, but more the lack of choice.

      • It's like when people use ketchup to make spaghetti sauce. It sort of works, but it's just wrong.

        My god. What kind of sick freaks do this?!

    • Just because it is so popular people hate it. It's like people hating on pop stars, Windows, and Kraft Parmesan cheese.

      I agreed with you until you said this. But hate for MS Windows and Kraft Parmesan is well-founded, unlike the hate for Comic Sans. And it's interesting you chose those two particular examples, as they actually have much in common.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by troll8901 (1397145)

        ... unlike the hate for Comic Sans.

        And Vegemite [wikipedia.org] too. This strong-tasting food paste is good for plain porridge only and nothing else. When a tiny teaspoonful is added, the porridge is absolutely delicious. When misused on other foods (especially bread), it is torture.

        I think Comic Sans is a brilliantly designed but greatly misused and misunderstood product. I sympathize with the creator.

        If there's an easier way of obtaining more fonts via the Internet, and including them in the documents distributed, users will be happy to try other fon

        • Well, at least IE has a functionality for server-side fonts, and I heard that Mozilla was is planning on implementing one some years ago.

      • But when I sprinkle a crushed Microsoft Windows CD on my spaghetti, it's a little cruncher than Kraft parmesan cheese.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is not related to be easy to read or not, or because it is widely used or not.

      I just hate when someone delivers a report written in comic sans ms OR even WORSE, submits a paper written in that font.

      It's like going to a job interview with sandals and bathsuit.

    • by drDugan (219551) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:52PM (#27627735) Homepage

      actually meeting ones need is very different than being the best choice in a poor
      set of proffered options. equating popularity with applicability is a weak link
      at best in the real world, or simply a naive troll attempt.

      typically things are "popular" because they are promoted heavily, people are
      creatures of habit, and most are highly susceptible to marketing methods

      Regarding your opinion, I disagree: Comic Sans is a bad font. Typeface designers,
      graphic designers, and most people with good taste and a trained eye for design
      all agree (go talk to a bunch of RISD graduates or typeface designers). In this
      case CS was not marketed - it has just been chosen often by untrained people who
      don't really understand the effect of their choice.

      As for your other examples, they are bad too: unskilled music, unhealthy food, and
      insecure operating system combined with predatory monopolistic business practices
      resulting in lack of choice. Everyone has an opinion, perhaps we'll just disagree.

    • . . . my girlfriend, if she knew the font. She said she knew the name but not the font, and pulled it up on her Mac (of course). Her response:

      "Schrecklich (frightful)!" She then added, "I have never used it, and never will."

      Of course, that's just her opinion, but it's definitely not:

      Just because it is so popular people hate it.

      She just thinks that it is butt-ugly.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:10PM (#27627889) Journal
      I have a double opinion on Comic Sans. On an Apple system, it looks great. Happy, friendly, cheerful, etc. It makes me feel good.

      On Windows, it looks like a business font (unless cleartype hasn't been turned on, then it looks like someone puked on the monitor [ampsoft.net]). A business font trying to be fun. Of course that's going to look bad, it's a bad mix.

      The problem these guys have isn't that Comic Sans looks bad, it's that it is used in places it shouldn't be. The reason it is used in places it shouldn't be is because there isn't much choice in fonts. There are really only 15 safe web fonts, which isn't much to choose from. Comic Sans is really your only choice if you are looking for something casual, informal.

      On Ubuntu, the fonts look good. They are smooth and clearly drawn. BUT THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME [ampsoft.net]. Seriously, look at that list: I think Comic Sans, Lucidia Console, and MS Sans Serif are ALL THE SAME FONT. I believe this can be remedied by downloading extra font packs, I don't know if this easily possible on Ubuntu.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:30PM (#27628065) Journal

        Are you sure you are looking at Comic Sans on an Apple system and not Chalkboard? The two fonts are similar, but Chalkboard has nicer-looking letter shapes. The kerning may be slightly different between OS X and Windows, and OS X will place the font glyphs correctly and antialias, while Windows will round the locations off to the nearest pixel, which can cause Windows displays to appear to have incorrect kerning (it's a trade - Windows gives you better-looking characters in exchange for worse-looking words, OS X is the opposite way around).

        On Ubuntu, you are seeing font substitution. A half-decent font rendering system will substitute a 'similar' font (where the value of 'similar' varies based on who wrote the substitution algorithm) when the requested font is not found. It seems that you do not have several of the fonts you are attempting to display installed, and so their outlines are being provided by a completely different font. This is a configuration issue.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          Yes, I understand the tradeoffs, but one thing matters only: which looks better (and for a few people, does it still look good when printed)? Look for yourself: here is the list of Apple fonts [ampsoft.net], and here is the list on Vista with cleartype enabled [ampsoft.net], which is where Microsoft looks the best. Check MS Serif at the bottom, it is still horrid in Vista. Check out Lucida Console, a monospace font; notice how the 'i' on the Mac doesn't look like it has tons of empty space around it? The 'i' has been slightly rede
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jejones (115979)

        A shame they didn't type

        sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

        before they generated that image.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by damburger (981828)
      Comic sans is a very important font in teaching - as you said it is very readable, and even more critically it is one of the only readily available fonts that renders a lower case 'a' in the same way as it is hand written by modern children.
  • Font-Snob (Score:4, Funny)

    by thehickcoder (620326) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:32PM (#27627547) Homepage
    New phrase: "font-snob"

    Copyright thehickcoder 2009
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by hcpxvi (773888)
      That would be me.
      There is only one set of fonts for grownups: the Computer modern series from TeX. Everything else is for the computer barely-literate.
    • That should be a font name.
    • Re:Font-Snob (Score:4, Insightful)

      by blitzkrieg3 (995849) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:53PM (#27627737)

      New phrase: "font-snob"

      Call them what you will, but industrial design and attention to detail is often grossly overlooked. It's why Mac is converting hordes of longtime PC users and why Ubuntu is the most popular linux distro. It's why Adobe is a multi-billion dollar company and why black Myriad [wikipedia.org] text on a white background is instantly recognizable as an Apple ad. It's why I can no longer look at non anti-aliased fonts outside the terminal.

      As a user who upgraded to Fedora 7 from Fedora Core 6 after the Liberation fonts [wikipedia.org] switchover, I can say that the impact must be experienced to be believed.

      • Re:Font-Snob (Score:5, Insightful)

        by StreetStealth (980200) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:32PM (#27628093) Journal

        Design is a lot like software development in this respect.

        If something is poorly designed, and you aren't a designer, you may not notice it at first, just as if something is poorly coded and you're not a developer, you may not immediately sense just how unoptimized the software is.

        But as you use it more, the deficiencies manifest themselves in your own frustration. Poor design makes things hard to follow and taxing to use, just as poor software development makes things sluggish and unstable. The work of a skilled designer will always be more enjoyable to use over time, just as the work of a skilled developer shows through in a solid and stable product.

        I may be a font snob, but I'm also a stability snob, a performance snob, a usability snob, and a number of other snobberies.

      • Re:Font-Snob (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:35PM (#27628125) Journal

        It's why I can no longer look at non anti-aliased fonts outside the terminal.

        The reason you make an exception for the terminal is likely due to bitmap fonts being used in the terminal. In most situations, an unscaled bitmap font will look better than a vector font. They were used a lot in early X apps, but are now discouraged because they lack resolution-independence (or, rather, look hideous when you scale them to compensate for a different resolution).

  • Oblig. Achewood (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:35PM (#27627571)
  • by adamjaskie (310474) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:41PM (#27627641) Homepage
    I've gotten change requests and requirements specs in Comic Sans.
  • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:45PM (#27627675)

    I'm going to start using it at work, often. it fits. I hope it infuriates many.

  • Taste the curb (Score:5, Informative)

    by megabulk3000 (305530) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @12:45PM (#27627681) Homepage

    From the WSJ article: "An online comic strip shows a gang kicking and swearing at Mr. Connare." That would be this. [achewood.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    see this study: http://www.surl.org/usabilitynews/81/PersonalityofFonts.asp [surl.org]

    and this one proves (even with a tiny sample) that kids love this font: http://psychology.wichita.edu/mbernard/articles/UPAfontchildrenpaper.pdf [wichita.edu]

    Yeah, it's (somewhat) easy to read, but it's only suitable for kids books. The problem is that it's been used in all the places the summary mentions, and the person who chose to use it obviously had zero knowledge about fonts. Some fonts are used for content, some for presentation, others a

  • Darn kids! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Brett Buck (811747) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:14PM (#27627931)

    How can you have Comic Sans in an email - email is a plain text medium! Pica was good enough from my daddy, it's good enough for me! And what's this business with "!" amd "=="? The proper syntax is .NOT. and .EQ.

            Seriously, however, it Comic Sans really that common? I have to admit to being an old fart but I do a lot of document work, and I had to go look up what Comic Sans looked like. I had seen it before and yes, it's goofy, but is it really an issue?

              Brett

       

  • by Orp (6583)

    Today's Jerkcity seems apropos:

    http://jerkcity.com/jerkcity3820.gif [jerkcity.com]

  • Hypocrites (Score:3, Informative)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:22PM (#27627993) Homepage
    I'm not a fan of Comic Sans but they want it banned while at the same time using some thing equally lame, myspace. http://www.myspace.com/bancomicsans [myspace.com]

    I wouldn't take advice on good taste from them.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:25PM (#27628023) Homepage Journal

    The typeface isn't the problem. In fact, I rather like it. It is a well-designed typeface, very readable, and appropriate for playful images - projects like children's books, comic books, children's toys and clothing, and the like. You know. its intended purpose.

    The problem is, the typeface (a "typeface" is an outline/shape - it's not a "font" until it has size and weight, kerning, etc. attributed to it) has become used for things where it is completely inappropriate: the main text in "professional"[sic] web sites, books, official documents, advertisements, and so forth.

    I use the typeface on occasion - but only where it's appropriate. In nearly every case where I see Comic Sans used, Helvetica or Arial or even Verdana would be far more appropriate. I won't stop using the Comic Sans typeface where it is appropriate (dialog for comic/clip art/line art images/strips, for example) but I have never nor would I ever plaster it all over the place.

    No one typeface is intended to be used for all circumstances. The type of user who would use Comic Sans in a professional document is the same kind of "designer"[sic] who would mix typefaces from four or five (or more) different font families in a single document; you know, as if they were creating examples of how NOT to use typefaces.

    Just as with guns, the problem isn't fonts; the problem is people.

    Oh, and you're curious about my nit-picking about "font" vs. "typeface?" I'm not in the wrong here. See:

    http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/fonts.asp [webopedia.com]
    http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/theyre-not-fonts [aiga.org]
    http://desktoppub.about.com/b/2005/05/02/2-minute-tutorial-font-vs-typeface.htm [about.com]
    http://www.publish.com/c/a/Graphics-Tools/Font-vs-typeface/ [publish.com]
    http://fontfeed.com/archives/font-or-typeface/ [fontfeed.com]

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:41PM (#27628165) Homepage

    In early versions of Netscape, you could link to a remote font of your own choosing. [webdeveloper.com] The font-copyright people were up in arms about this, Microsoft didn't implement it in IE, and it was taken out of Netscape. That's why fonts on the web suck so much. You're either stuck with the lowest common denominator of fonts (Times Roman, Arial, Courier, or Comic Sans MS), or you can put a font into an image, which is silly but standard practice.

    That's how we got into this mess.

    Here's an example of a page that uses downloadable fonts. [unh.edu] Unless you have a very old browser, it will look ugly. There's a more recent attempt to work around the problem with Flash. [mikeindustries.com] Wrong answer.

  • by thethibs (882667) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:48PM (#27628229) Homepage

    It's easy to bitch about Comic Sans, harder to find a replacement. What have you got that's informal, open, and legible down to six-point?

    None of the linked sites has anything to offer beyond whining about Microsoft's monopoly on font choices. I suspect it would be more acceptable if Apple took it, changed a few bits and called it "Different Sans".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stewbacca (1033764)
      Apple did take, did change a few bits, and called it "Chalkboard". It too is an awful font. What's your point?
  • by whereverjustice (955731) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:51PM (#27628255)
    Last year I visited the museum at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada (the representative of the Queen). They had a copy there of the royal letter formally appointing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. It was set in Comic Sans. I am completely serious.
  • Has its uses, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:01PM (#27628349)

    When I came into my webmaster job a few years ago, I found the entire site was done with Comic Sans. We're an academic unit, so this was just not appropriate for the site. It took a while to clear it all up because it was a large site even back then, plus there was no single way my predecessor had chosen to implement the fonts - although there were a lot of "<font face=..." tags.

    You might argue that Comic Sans has its place; but I learned to hate it with a passion those first few days. (As an aside - fixing all that did finally motivate me to learn regexps)

    It was amazing how simply cleaning out that one silly font changed the site. I kept getting compliments from the faculty - "looks like now we have a REAL webmaster!" - just because I removed Comic Sans.

  • Helvetica (Score:4, Informative)

    by simonv (1021495) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:03PM (#27628365) Homepage
    If you haven't seen it yet, check out the movie Helvetica. It explains how a simple font has replaced nearly every other font for business logos and typeface. If you have netflix, It's still on instant play.
    I never thought a font could be so interesting...
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:52PM (#27628813)
    Comic Sans font fills a unique slot that no other widely available (read: free) font provides. It allows an informal alternative to the other too formal and stuffy fonts for purposes that don't want to be all officious.

    I feel that it's biggest drawback is it's name. (If you don't think a name can hurt you, try to tell someone to use GIMP, or even worse, Qtpfsgui.) If Comic Sans had been called Informal Sans I believe that there would be much less angst over it.

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