The real problem with Comic Sans

My wife recently asked me why designers hate Comic Sans so much. I waffled my way through an answer with phrases such as “abomination” and “hideous atrocity”, but I just sounded like I have some deeply buried psychological issues that will take years of therapy to address. Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve found the perfect answer to this question – and in the most obvious place: Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style:

Letterforms have tone, timbre, character, just as words and sentences do. The moment a text and a typeface are chosen, two sets of habits, or if you like, two personalities, intersect. They need not live together contentedly forever, but they must not as a rule collide.

Letters are microscopic works of art as well as useful symbols. They mean what they are as well as what they say.

Typography is the art and craft of handling these doubly meaningful bits of information. A good typographer handles them in intelligent, coherent, sensitive ways. When the type is poorly chosen, what the words say linguistically and what the letters imply visually are disharmonious, dishonest, out of tune.

So the next time someone asks me about Comic Sans, I will simply pull out this quote and talk about the disharmony between the typeface and the text it tries to represent. Well, unless it’s a lemonade stand poster.

No Comic Sans please

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