Monday, February 5, 2024

The Origin of Comic Sans

Thomas Steeles (via Jason Kottke):

[Most] people know of the font. By that notion, Vincent Connare, the creator of Comic Sans, has exclaimed that “I made the best font in the world.” Whether you believe that or not, it doesn’t exclude the fact it was, at one point, the second most complained about thing on Twitter and has a whole website dedicated to its banishment.


It’s understandable to see why Connare chose comics as his main source of inspiration; there’s a clear parallel to make between the speech bubbles used in comics and the speech bubbles that Rover uses. Additionally, the accessible, child-friendly atmosphere that Microsoft Bob wanted to achieve could be seen in the design of comic books – with the less-rigid hand drawn sans serif type, and bright colours.

Connare, in around three days, created Comic Sans; however, the curvy, soft-edged font that we all know wasn’t the intended final form of the font. Comic Sans was meant for screen-use only, and due to the technical limitations in the mid 90s, Windows didn’t have anti-aliasing technology, which meant fonts were pixelated – as a result most fonts looked jagged and sharp. Knowing this, Connare specifically designed Comic Sans with aliasing in mind, so actually Comic Sans was only intended to be seen like what is shown in Figure 1.


3 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Simon Peyton-Jones (a VIP in the Haskell programming language), is well known for using Comic Sans in all of his slide decks.

Dr Mike Currier

I am neurologically blind with very little functional vision. Comic sans has been my go-to font for years before i became blind. I wrote everything in comic sans through 3 PhD’s and now that i write professionally about 7,000 to 8,000 words a day. In my 2nd doctoral dissertation on “Cognitive Literacy, i read that comic sans is the preferred font for many dyslexic readers, those who don't like to read, and those who struggle with reading. Thank you forcreating it.

Oh dear god. This reminds me of the ancient days when people argued the advantages of Pica vs. Elite typewriter fonts. Elite was standard 12 pitch monospaced, but lots of people bought the Pica 10 pitch typewriters so they could fill a page with 20% fewer characters.

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