‘Cartoon dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman.’

Comic Sans was created to give Microsoft Bob a cartoon voiceI seem to remember that one definition of a weed is a flower you don’t like and which grows uncontrollably. I realized the font called Comic Sans was a weed after seeing this video a few years ago in which designer Vincent Connare tells how he created the font to mimic the lettering in comic strips.

Looking over the brand new Microsoft Bob, Connare realized that “cartoon dogs don’t talk in Times New Roman.” And Comic Sans was born as a remedy.

Suddenly I was noticing Comic Sans everywhere. In newsletters. On flyers. In emails and YouTube videos. People turn to it as they turn to any cliche. Using Comic Sans indiscriminately this way is tacky, like a bad hairpiece.

Comic Sans is as hated as anything ubiquitous could be — see here and here. The Onion has had its say on the Comic Sans hilarity factor. And this parody shows Hitler’s reaction to Comic Sans.

Now comes “I’m Comic Sans, Asshole,” which Lori Rice, who knows more fonts than anybody I know, has brought to my attention.  Written by Mike Lacher and published in McSweeney’s, the piece is a rant from a font on steroids. It aims to put some muscle behind Comic Sans’s runaway popularity.

But that’s just part of the joke. Comic Sans was created to be a touch of whimsy in the garden. The people who use it as their serious default font are just blowing dandelion seeds around.

One cliche upon another is tacky, tacky, tacky.


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Filed under popular culture, print

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