Afternoon Inquisition

AI: The Font of All Knowledge

Some things are a matter of opinion. Some things are a matter of fact. This is one of them: Comic Sans is evil incarnate. I am not unique or original in this view, which as mentioned isn’t actually a view but a fact, but it is worth pointing out here because for some reason, not everyone is aware that Comic Sans is evil incarnate.

What is Comic Sans?

Comic Sans is a font. A typeface. A Microsoft standard font released in 1994 to ape comic book lettering for kiddy stuff, jokey stuff, etc. For no reason at all, the world went entirely mad when they saw it and fully-grown, seemingly-professional adults started using it for formal communications. AT WORK. FOR BUSINESS.

This forced what was a perfectly fine ‘cute and wacky’ font to become the most hated thing in design since clipart, and rightly so. There are situations, communcations, where it is simply not appropriate to use a font whose personality is this:

“Yoo hoo!!!! I am Comic Sans! I am soooo much fun! Hey! A ball! I want the ball! Gimme the ball! Play with meeeee! WHEEEEE! BALL! You threw the ball, yay! I am running after the ball, watch me watch me watch me are you watching me?! I have it! I have it! I have the ball! AHHH I HURT MY TOOTSIE! WAHHH! MOMMMMYY!! Eh whasssis? A COOKIE! MINE! Hee hee hee I has a cookie a nom nom nom nom. Doody doody doody HONK HONK “.

bancomicsansIf that’s the personality you are trying to imbue into your writing, then by all means go ahead and use Comic Sans. Just bear in mind that using Comic Sans gives exactly the same messages as! using! an! exclamation! mark! after! every! word!!!

For those of you not familiar with it, you might not think that such an innocent-looking font could possibly give off that much “don’t be alarmed, this communication is FUN!” evilness, but you must bear in mind that the font is now so well-known, it labours not only by its ‘cute and wacky’ looks, but under the weight of its reputation. Here are some web resources expressing the level of hatred for Comic Sans:

Ban Comic Sans website.

A web comic.

A message from some cartoons.

Loads of great examples of inappropriate Comic Sans useage on Flickr if you search, but this is my favourite.

And if you’re really not sure when it’s appropriate to use Comic Sans, here’s a handy flow chart.

One final point before I ask my AI question. The ‘sans’ in Comic Sans refers to it being a ‘sans serif’ font, that is, without extra decorative lines like Times New Roman etc.  ‘Sans’ simply means ‘without’. So a literal definition of Comic Sans could simply be NOT FUNNY.

You do know Comic Sans is evil incarnate, right? What do you think looks unprofessional (mis-used apostrophes in grocery store windows, clipart, websites with unskippable Flash intros)?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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122 Comments

  1. I don’t really agree with that web comic about hunting down the inventor of comic sans. Blaming the inventor for its misuse is like blaming Einstein for nuclear bombs. Remember kids: comic sans doesn’t annoy people; people annoy people.

  2. @catgirl: He created a monster. He must die. Or at least give a hundred pounds to everyone who has to look at their work xmas party invite created by Maggie in HR which has Comic Sans, clip art, Powerpoint ‘word art’ styles and plays a tune when you open it.

  3. Personally, I absolutely hate seeing PowerPoint presentations that have a dark background with white or yellow font. I get it that you found a really cool picture of a galaxy or something that you want to use a background, but it ends up just looking unprofessional rather than cool. It’s also corny to use little pictures of something in place of bullet points.

  4. @catgirl: Powerpoint has the power to be so evil it could bring down entire nations. I particularly loathe when companies use one of the standard themes. An individual, fine, but a company with its own brand trying to communicate how unique it is…AHHH! Mainly because all of the standard themes are foul, too.

    As are most of the animations. Whizz zoom it’s typing one letter at a time. With sound effects! Like a typewriter!

    Also, slides with too much text, at too small a size, and people who just read the content of their slides. That is not what Powerpoint is for, people! Stop it!

  5. When I worked in an office one of the girls liked to use comic sans for her emails and put background images behind the text. It was the most annoying thing in the world. Any email she forwarded to me that I had to print out ended up with cheesy clip art leaves or snowflakes on the edges. She also never used capital letters and really liked ending her sentences like this……
    It made me want to punch her every day.

    @Tracy King: Comic Sans has a place; in comics. The people who misuse it are the ones that should be burned at the stake.

  6. @Pinkbunny: She’s the one on Facebook who leaves messages like “OMG i saw u last nite u r so cute lol!!!1!”, right? I know her. I know her well. She is everywhere.

    I know several comic book artists and they would all rather eat their own pencils than use comic sans. I suppose there was a brief period when it was OK in that context, but as it’s so identifiable now, it’s a shortcut to “designer hasn’t a clue!” and therefore to be avoided.

  7. @Tracy King:

    Oh geez, how could I forget about the animations! That’s probably even more annoying than the dark background/light text thing. It can be humorous when the person using it doesn’t know how to do it right, but that gets old fast and doesn’t make up for using animated text in the first place.

  8. Professional e-mails when people refuse to punctuate and spell words. I know I’m crotchetier and less hip than my boss who is twice my age but DAMMIT! STOP IT!

    Oh that’s another thing. Caps lock=emphasis so if you use it you better mean it. If you wouldn’t should it don’t caps it.

  9. For what it’s worth, I use Phil Elliott’s Comic Strip font, although a few of the early ones were done in Comic Sans.

    Some things that come to mind…
    -business names containing “Olde”
    -business names starting with more than one A (e.g. AAAAA Towing Service)
    – multiple exclamation points!!!!
    – “Dear Valued Customer” (not quite valued enough that you know my name, though, hmm?)
    – “Mmm hmm” in response to “Thank you”
    – customer feedback popups
    – news articles sliced up into two-paragraph chunks to increase your page load count
    – sites that disable text select (e.g. snopes.com)

    A couple days ago, I received mail addressed to “Our Neighbors”. It was bulk pre-sort and had “THIS IS NOT JUNK MAIL” in large friendly letters on the front. I tossed it out immediately. They might have been offering some service I was actually interested in but the presentation screamed “scam”.

  10. @loudlyquiet: Interestingly, the people I know who are the worst for not punctuating, particularly capital letters at the start of sentences, are very very clever. I won’t name names, but some of the PhDs and equally smart folk I’ve worked with just send a stream of letters. They put it down to speed and busyness, but I always quietly feel a little let down. It takes no time to hit the SHIFT key.

  11. I have to admit I like Comic Sans. It’s an easy font to read. That said, I don’t use it and stick to Arial, Lucida Sans or Trebuchet for any sans-serif fonts.

    You know what’s worse than ‘dark background/light text’?

    Dark background/dark text.

    You know what’s worse than that?

    Light background/light text.

  12. @Tracy King:
    I accept it in real time communication (im’s etc) but come on you spend enough time on the computer to know that shift isn’t a key that’s on the back of the monitor.

    Another thing that bugs me? (I like this game.) People who answer the phone and do this:
    Them: Hi, how are you?
    Me: Fine. Can I help you?
    Them: Good. How are you?
    Me: Is there something I can do for you?
    Them: How are you?
    Me:
    Them: How was your weekend?
    Me:
    Them: How are you?
    Me: So you want to talk to My Boss? *transfer*

    I’ve actually had this conversation many times with a few people. I just cut them off before they even finish the first sentence now.

  13. In order of barfability –
    Light text, light background (white on yellow?)
    Dark text, dark background (dark blue on black?)
    [Remember, folks – your audience will likely be several feet away from the screen.]

    And the worst: “stationery” in Outlook. Lay Comic Sans over that and you’ve committed a hanging offense.

  14. Hmmm…. Never noticed before. Don’t find myself particularly repulsed. I was expecting something a lot more extreeme based on the post.

    I like how the Ban Comic Sans video has a professor likening it to the function of a wine glass and thus combining one kind of snobbery with another. Perhaps you could sort of join causes with the nuclear/nucular people.

  15. @loudlyquiet: Oh god, the phone sales people being falsely friendly. I run a company so I get a whole heap of crapola my way, you can always tell it’s an over-enthusiastic salesperson when they use your first name IMMEDIATELY without telling you who they are. “Hi Tracy how are you!”.

    I had a great one the other day, a woman trying to get me to buy a directory listing for one of my clients. She said “like anything, it’s an investment. You get new business and it pays for itself!”. I replied “I run a marketing company, I probably know that already. The reason I don’t know it, though, is because it isn’t actually true, but if you’d like to offer a money-back guarantee on the listing, then that would make it true and we can talk”.

    She went away.

  16. @NoAstronomer:
    You know it’s funny you should mention that. At NASA (At least Goddard anyway) all the operations folks (responsible for watching the numbers representing satellite condition) go exclusively with light text on black background because, apparently, it doesn’t strain the eyes as much.

  17. Comic Sans isn’t an abomination because of the way it’s been used, it sucks because of the way it was designed. It’s designer should be ashamed, not all the office folks who don’t know any better and just want a friendly font.

    Papyrus isn’t such a bastard just by its mere existence, but if you really want a laugh, give a thoughtful message to your graphic design friend printed in Papyrus. Watch them try not to wince and groan and barf.

    If you want a really good comic book font, go to http://www.comicbookfonts.com on January 1st. They always have an extremely deep discount on the first of the new year. Get yourself a good one. Delight as all your friends ask, “how did you make Comic Sans not suck?”

  18. @bjswift: THANK YOU. I had no idea where I’d heard that. Just a vague recollection. I’ve been looking for that.

    Also, I double checked for anyone who’s interested. Comicbookfonts.com New Year’s Day special is $20.00 + the last two digits of the year in cents per font. So if they do it again on January 1, 2010, each font should be $20.10. Set yourself a reminder! I recommend Comicrazy as a good all-purpose, not Comic Sans replacement.

  19. Eh. I always found Comic Sans clean and readable. I would never use it for anything technical or formal, but if it sets the mood you want, then to my eyes I’ve found it easy to read. Moreso than Arial, in fact.

    But that was then. I remember disagreeing with Tracy once, months ago, and Maria said “well, STOP, because it’s WRONG.” Never again :)

    The thing that personally sends me up, over, or through a wall are Flash ads that unfold with no warning on a web site, forcing you to hunt all over for the Close or X button before you can get back to what you were doing.

    Also: people who say “Due to the fact that”

  20. @phlebas:

    I’ll take your “due to the fact that” and raise you:
    “on a go-forward basis”
    “we’re going to do a ___ type of thing”
    “potentially can find some usage from ___”
    “gear our efforts more towards __”
    “expand further into those types of areas”

  21. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently, so I’m going to pretend you asked “What sounds unprofessional?”

    – A single presenter. Unless you are professional comedian or radio host you probably don’t have the chops to be entertaining on your own. You also need someone else to contribute ideas and veto your bad ones.

    – Sobriety. Don’t lightly dismiss the effects of alcohol on a conversation. There’s a reason it’s not Skeptics in the Starbucks.

    – No editing. If you do a 30 minute interview you are lucky if there are 10 interesting minutes. Save the full 30 minutes for the director’s cut and masochists.

    – Convoluted questions. Keep the questions short. I don’t want to know how smart the interviewer is; I want to found out how interesting the interviewee is.

    – No AV training. Pay attention to audio levels and mic everyone separately if possible. If one person on a podcast is twice as loud as another the listener risks hearing damage or missing half the conversation.

    – Winging it. Script as much as possible. Um’s are never interesting. Notes are better than nothing.

    – Deathly silence. Consider using short music queues. It adds structure and a bookends different segments. Unless you are George Hrab in which case you should consider using fewer music cues. The Geologic podcast sometimes sounds like a junior high school band and their pets getting pushed down a flight of steps.

  22. @loudlyquiet: What you said. Additionally, the perpetrator should be flogged if they cannot make a comment/send an email/write a text without using all caps words.

    As an acquaintance liked to point out, when the caps runneth over:
    CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL TO COOL!!

    However, caps != cool, or at least very rarely.

  23. @jtradke:

    Without getting into Dilbert Corporate Bingo, here are a few others that have spiked my blood pressure when I’ve worked as an editor:

    “At this point in time”
    “In order to”
    “The new employees will be on-boarded”
    “Achieve buy-in”
    “Go reach out to the manager”

  24. “I haven’t read your memo on this yet but I have a few ideas”
    Hey asshole, I didn’t write that because I love memos. Read the fucking thing before you give me your ideas because if one of your ideas is in my memo I am going to cut out your spleen and feed it to my dog.

    “Synergy”

    “Employees are our most valuable resource”
    This is usually followed by how you are about to be raped by an elephant wearing a steal spiked condom.

    “You must read this, it could save your life!!!”

    “WARNING! failure to read this could cost you BIG $$$$$”

    HI in the subject line of a business email

    People who say they are “skeptics” when they are really “deniers”.

    Grammer nazi’s. If what I am writing is clear, conscise and understandable and the only thing you can attack is a typo then fuck you.

    Gettting a call from some company that wants to sell me something and being asked to hold for an important message. Or dead silence when I answer the phone.

    O’Reilley

    Hannity

    Fox News – This organization won’t understand professionalism ever.

  25. Comic Sans is used in a lots of schools because the lower case A looks like a hand-written one.

    I hate it. I wish there was a free readily available alternative.

    I’m on the board of a charity: one of our members has his email font set to green comic sans. He is a twonk.

  26. @Gabrielbrawley: Calm down and go look at some boobs.

    Web sites with so many graphics and animations it locks up my computer.

    Popup, pop behinds

    People who don’t listen to grammar nazi’s. I may understand what you said, but the way you said it makes you look stupid.

    People who purposely use the misspelled word, like pwn.

    Web sites that start off with audio. I’ll have several pages open, and often listening to something. Then I get a “WELCOME”. Scares the pss out of me, and then I have to figure out where it came from. Usually a pop behind (see above)

    People who get their news from Fox and thing its the gospel truth.

    People who get their news from MSNBC and think its the gospel truth.

    News Commentators. If I wanted you’re opinion, I’d give it to you.

    People who don’t whisper when they have an opinon that someone else might get pst off by. I try to stay quiet, but I really want to tell them off.

    People who don’t signal. WTF! How can I tell what your about to do? I left my psychic abilities in my other car!

    When I answer the phone “How may I direct your call” the customer tells me their problem. I’M NOT TECH SUPPORT!

  27. I used to think that I liked Comic Sans purely for personal use (like taking meeting notes) because it is a readable font. Now I know that I should hate the old me for that. I might have to start using courier as atonement, cause courier bites.

    Also: people who use, “methodology” when they mean method. It’s not a study of methods… it’s a method.

  28. @Tracy King: Just in case you’re compiling a listing of comic book artists who would rather eat their own pencils than use Comic Sans, my full name is Tanya Jeanine Higgins.

    If you’d like to hear professional comic letterer Melissa Kaercher of Tin Lizard Productions and I bitch about Comic Sans on the Webcomic Beacon podcast, here’s the link – http://webcomicbeacon.com/2009/06/30/episode-81. The podcast is available for free either by download or streaming. The Comic Sans bitching begins at about the 41.30 mark and only runs for a couple of minutes, the bulk of the show before and after that is filled with comic making talk, Billy Mayes death rumors, and my insane giggling. I’ve gone off about Comic Sans on the show before, and there’s little doubt that I’ll do it again. Comic Sans is sloppy, it has no voice, no personality, and should never appear in any sort of professional capacity. It shouldn’t even appear in a quasi-professional capacity. I’d actually prefer it’s use be restricted entirely to church bulletins, which would almost certainly insure I’d never come in contact with it again.

    My other font related issue involves the use of decorative fonts for text. Decorative fonts are for titles, labels, and decoration. No one wants to wade through your treatise written entirely in Fire Starter.

    @davew: Based on this post, I highly recommend you resist clicking on the podcast link above. The Webcomic Beacon is guilty of at least two of those crimes. *laughs*

    @SkepticalSally: There are a number of free fonts available online. If you’re using Windows, you just download the file into the Windows/Fonts folder. http://www.1001freefonts.com is a good place to start.

  29. People who discuss “grammar nazi’s (sic)”

    An apostrophe is not the opening act for the letter S. It means something.

    In the sentence “I hate grammar nazi’s.” You either need to drop the apostrophe or add something at the end for the grammar nazi to own and for you to hate. “I hate Grammar Nazi’s policy on starving, gassing and burning innocent Jewish people.”

  30. @namidim: For laptop users, a benefit of light text on dark background is that there is a tiny bit less demand on the battery. Also, don’t give up our secrets at GSFC. Next you’ll be letting them know that we have images of Nibiru. Oh, #$&*, I just did.

  31. First, I just have to say that the reason people hate Comic Sans now is because a LOT of people like it and have overused it. It’s a case of a font that was too well designed. (Or rather, the only font out of the standard windows fonts that had that ‘fun’ aspect when the non-geeks started using computers.)

    Honestly, my pet typographic peeve is fonts with serifs. I like clean fonts that are quick to read and don’t intentionally try to slow you down looking at the letters instead of the words. There, I’ve just outed myself as a NON-font-fetishist. All of the people complaining about Comic Sans have just discounted anything I say.

    With regard to e-mail etiquette, I really wish people would learn how to use the BCC field when forwarding messages to 5346782 people.

  32. If any of the wonderful Scepchick commentators have solid references to the readability of serif’d fonts vs. non-serif’d fonts I would be eternally*1 grateful for the reference. Being a big fan of Edward Tufte and a semi-fan of related information translation fields, I’d like to know what the various benefits of font types are. My personal intuition (not much trusted by me) are that serif fonts are more business-like, whereas sans-serif fonts are more easily readable. Any links to real data would be much appreciated.

    (As things stand, all of my old MS Word templates for work use Times New Roman and normal spacing, while our new (and “better”?) MS Office settings use calibri font and the bizarre 10-point after paragraph spacing.)

  33. Oh, poop!

    The *1 reference was supposed to refer to an amusing (but not actually amusing) comment about how I could not actually be, technically, *eternally* grateful. … yeah, maybe I should have let that die an ignominious death…

    Yeah, sorry; It’s late.

    Or: Its late.

    Can Goods on Aisle 4…

  34. I think I’ve used comic sans to give something a handwritten feel that you can actually read. But I agree with Tracy. It should never be used for any professional demonstrations.

    I also hate those cheesy metallic type affects. Two years ago someone used an unreadable one for as a report title. I wanted wanted to scream, but she was one of my supervisors, so I couldn’t.

    I also hate skipintros on web sites. You’ve already convinced me to come to your site, I don’t need to watch an ad to convince reassure me that I made the right choice.

  35. I do a lot of lettering (I design ambigrams as a hobby). Comic sans bugs me mostly because it is an example of a font (formerly known as a typeface) that is very specific to a certain time (in this case the 90s). Most of these, whether authentic or retro, are not usable except in extremely limited circumstances.
    Other examples of misuse of lettering: ALL CAPS “Old English” letters, the use of “graffiti” style letters as short hand for urban, and “distressed” lettering to equal edgy. It’s just lazy.
    To my eye some of the less obvious art deco or art nouveau typefaces have the chops to become classics.

    As far as words that bug me, I can’t help screaming at the announcer when they say it is going to be “unseasonably” warm. YOU MEAN IT CAN’T BE SALTED? ARRG

    I feel better now.

  36. Websites with anything (ads, banners, pop-ups, etc.) that automatically plays sound effects or music–especially at loud volume. Band websites are particularly bad, because sometimes the player is hidden at the very top or bottom. Sometimes the page opens a whole new window that’s just a tiny music player, and you pull out your hair trying to find where on the main page (the one you actually navigated to) that blasted noise is coming from.

  37. Four weeks ago I got a day of comic sans slides on some management mumbo-jumbo. On the feedback I wrote “Comic sans is, at best, a font for 3rd grade birthday invites. Stop using it.” And then I went on to point out all the other stuff that was annoying and stupid with her presentation…

    The principal then started sending me emails in comic sans to annoy me, but I didn’t notice…

  38. I have never understood all of the hate for various fonts… but I tend to be fairly a-aesthetic in a lot things.

    However, things that drive me bugfuck:

    1) People who refuse to follow directions.
    2) That one bastard who has been coming to the library for a year and still doesn’t know shit about the programs and websites he uses. How the fuck do you go a year and not learn how to cut and paste?
    3) People who tell me something doesn’t work, or isn’t there, when I fix it or find it immediately. “Oh, the book isn’t on the shelf? Did you miss these FIVE sitting here?” “Oh, your computer doesn’t work? Did you jiggle the mouse to see if it’s just asleep?”
    4) People who cannot communicate a problem. “My computer doesn’t work.” “What’s wrong with it?” “It doesn’t work.” “Really, fuckhead? I missed that the first time you said that. Do you think you could give me a useful piece of information, like mention that it has an error message, seems to be off, or is on fire, or something more descriptive than ‘Doesn’t work’?”
    5) People who refuse to type clearly. I’m not talking the occasional typo, or jargony word (the infamous pwn or the like). That happens. I’m talking about the people who write poorly, and when you say “Can you please check things over before you post them”, they whine that it’s “too much like school/work and they shouldn’t have to on a recreational site.” You know what? Fuck you. My work was, for a number of years, dissecting the writing of idiots. Your writing horribly means MY recreation is more like work. And don’t pull “I have a learning disability.” I’ve worked with disabled, dyslexic, and ESL students. You know what that means? It means you need to fucking practice doing things correctly, and check shit over carefully. Yes, you will make mistakes. But you will stop looking like a fucking moron.

  39. OK, first of all, a bit of pedantry: Comic Sans isn’t evil incarnate since that would require it, as Dinosaur Comics would so delicately put it, to be made of meat.
    But, yeah, it’s pretty dreadful.

    Power Point presentations with… well, OK, Power Point presentations period. PP is a tool commonly employed by complete boobs to attempt to conceal that they haven’t a clue what they’re talking about. I generally interpret them as a license to take a bit of a nap.
    There are a very few situations where PP (or its much superior relative KeyNote) may be justified. If, for example, you’re giving a lecture on art history and don’t feel like dragging a shitton of art prints around.

    Arial is another font usable for nothing. If you’ve got to use a boring sans-serif font, use Helvetica. Arial just looks like a cheap Helvetica surrogate which is pretty much what it is.

    Underlining for emphasis is also a bit of a peeve with me. We don’t actually write texts on old, non-electric typw-writers any more. We have better, more aesthetic ways of showing emphasis.

    And obviously poor grammar and spelign do nothing to make you look professional. NOR DOES USING EXCESSIVE ALL-CAPS OR MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!

  40. Heh. Much like George Carlin has said that it’s not the words themselves that are bad, it’s the intent behind them, Comic Sans isn’t bad, it’s the way people use it.

    A lot of people don’t realize there are many great sites to download fonts for free, how to upload new fonts, or simply don’t want to pay for them. Stuck with a standard Windows Font set, Comic Sans ends up getting use it shouldn’t.

  41. I quit a job the week I was asked to priotitize an action item on my agenda.

    Coincidence, of course, as it was a temp job and I got the phone call that offered a permanent job a day later, but I like to think I would have done the same anyway, had I been independently wealthy.

  42. The powerpoint and such made me think of this, and I’m at work.

    I work with 3 people (our dept. has 4) that format word documents (Engineering documents to repair aircraft) with carriage returns and spaces. And they insert figures so that if you make any changes the text slides behind the picture or worse the picture straddles pages.

    High performance organazation we got here, I tell ya.
    Go Bearcats.

  43. Gun n’ Roses should be called Guns ‘n’ Roses. Otherwise, when you spell it out in full, it would just say Guns nd Roses, which is clearly nonsense.

    Drives me nuts.

    Oh, and I concur on bad Powerpoint stuff, especially when people insert unreadable graphs/data. Grrrrrr…

  44. Like a climatologist?
    Ba da bing!
    Thank you! I’m here all week!

    And to add something not just to be a jackass.
    I hate people who can’t conjugate the verb be and my sister in law (insert hyphens as needed) doesn’t realize there is more than one there (their, they’re).

    NP – Can’t Hardly Wait – Justin Townes Earl
    I’ll be home when I’m sleeping, I can’t hardly wait.

  45. Hey, I use comic sans all the time.

    Whenever I quote a creationist, I put his or her words in Comic Sans. It’s only appropriate. If they were speaking in public, I’d ask them to put on a big red nose, fright wig, and floppy shoes for the same reason.

  46. ahhh, design….
    one of my sources of revenue ….
    If it looks good to ur client… then it’s ok.

    personally, for ease of readability, body text is Century Schoolbook. Headlines… Frutiger.

    Don’t need eye follow with the headlines…
    need the serifs on the body text to lead the eyes to the next word.

    i am an old fart.

  47. i did not knw that. i was talking about the university of cincinnati bearcats which I, my parents, and hopefully my younger brother are alumni of. and they are now big east champions.

    you could have used comic sans in the scream bubble over my head during the game.

  48. Before I knew of the hatred of comic sans I worked at a hotel in a large destination resort for families and made a boilerplate template for the newsletter that still gets handed out several hundred times per day. There was quite a bit of time spend looking for the right font that would be on all of the computers.

    I used comic sans.

    I since have felt horrible for what I did to the world.

  49. These days most “sans serif” fonts don’t even have the word “sans” in them anymore. I really don’t use a whole lot of “alternative” fonts. You should never use a non-mainstream font on a website, for one thing, because if the system it is viewed on does not have that font installed it will revert to the default, which is usually Times New Roman.

    Speaking of which, I don’t really like Times New Roman for general purpose use. It’s too thin and doesn’t show up as well on screens. I like Arial. Yeah, arial. It has gotten more than its fair criticism for being too similar to pre-existing fonts, but how the hell many ways can you create letters in a simplistic, sans-serif font? It’s actually owned by Monogram Corp, but it’s ubiquitous on just about every damn platform out there.

    I don’t even use comic sans in my comics or cartoon cells. Note this one (by the way, I would have been happy to make a comic for this, Teek.): http://www.depletedcranium.com/Gayexorcismtoon.jpg

    That is arial all the way! (well except for the stencil part) Actually it’s bold.

    Oh, don’t even get me started on PowerPoint. You know what Powerpoint is good for? When you’re explaining something and would like to show a photo of it or a diagram or something. You know what it’s not good for? Putting all the text you’re talking about up there.

    Damn, I hate when videos have long lines of text that come up like a typewriter complete with sound.

  50. In graphic design, it is occasionally appropriate to use Papyrus, for example, a company might ALREADY have their identity tied to Papyrus, and you have no choice but to go along. It is never appropriate to use comic sans. If you absolutely need a “handwritten” style, use any one of the 5,000 handwriting styles that weren’t designed by Bill Gate’s drunk 10 year chihuahua . Unless that font is already outlined when you get it, just refuse. Make up some technical reason, the client won’t know enough to argue.

    People who set up their email with backgrounds/pictures/fonts embedded are evil incarnate. You people suck. Stop trying to give me a migraine.

    Power point has destroyed all pretense at creativity among lecturers, who have replaced the thought they might have put into the form and content of their presentation with dithering over the exact nature of the hideous background that they plan on using to distract me from the fact that they are reading slides at me.

  51. @Tometheus: I like clean fonts that are quick to read and don’t intentionally try to slow you down looking at the letters instead of the words.

    ———–

    The evidence suggests that serif fonts are exactly as readable as sans fonts. Here’s a review of the literature. Money quote: “It is of course possible that serifs or the lack of them have an effect on legibility, but it is very likely that they are so peripheral to the reading process that this effect is not even worth measuring ( Lund, 1999 ). “

  52. @Mark Hall:

    1) People who refuse to follow directions.

    Ugh, this is exactly why I always preferred to do chemistry and biology labs alone during high school and college. In high school and early-level college courses, lab procedures were generally written out completely, so that theoretically anyone could do them, even with no knowledge of the subject. It was especially bad when lab partners were assigned by the teacher, because often the teacher had this “great” idea to put a great student (me) with a student who was a little behind, in the hopes that my skills would rub off or something. Anyway, it’s so frustrating when my partner reads “mix 5 grams of NaCl into 10 ml of distilled water” and just stands there looking baffled, trying to figure it out. Or even worse, they’ll do something completely different for no reason. If the procedure says to add things in a certain order, why would you do them in a different order? Do you think you know more about this than the person who wrote the procedure? I would often leave labs wondering how these people managed to make Kool-Aid correctly.

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