Why does everyone hate Comic Sans? Let’s find out!
If you’ve been working as a web designer or developer for a few months, you’ve probably heard this advice:
Don’t use the Comic Sans font, ever.
And here it is:
Comic Sans has a round, unelegant, and somewhat flamboyant style, which makes it look cartoonish and non-serious looking.
So is this absolutist, general advice against using Comic Sans in your work, actually good advice?
No, absolutist, black and white statements are rarely rooted in good thinking. It has become popularized to hate Comic Sans, to the point where the reasoning is often left out when designers deliberately bad mouth it on public forums.
That said, I wholeheartedly agree that you should probably not use Comic Sans on your or your clients' websites unless one of the following is true:
- it’s a cartoon
- the website is for kids
- the website has a comedic/unserious theme
If your website or your client’s website is a brand outside of the “silly/fun” category, you’ll almost always want to go for a more plain-looking font.
Plain doesn’t mean boring, by the way.
One pretty good argument I sometimes see against using Comic Sans is that it’s questionable how readable and legible the Comic Sans typeface is, especially for long-form content.
However, we should keep in mind that people read best what they read most — so if your audience consists of comic book fanatics, their experience will be different from the average person who is used to reading newspapers or magazines.
Context is key.
Typography has both aesthetic and functional purposes, but reader-friendliness (function) is always more important than form (aesthetics) when it comes to body text — which makes up around 90% of the average website or document.
A good rule of thumb
When in doubt, don’t use Comic Sans — or any other flamboyant typeface that is hard to read, either in long-form or at smaller font-sizes.
Before you decide on any typeface/font family for a project, remind yourself that:
The main purpose of typography is to make your text easier to read.