Not in Comic Sans MS you can’t!

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This afternoon yet another pre-Scottish Election leaflet dropped through my letterbox. It was this one (above) from the Scottish National Party entitled Fife Independent with the strap-line “Together we can make Scotland better.”

As I tweeted at the time:

SNP newsletter through the door just now. Strapline says “Together we can make Scotland better”. Not in Comic Sans you can’t! #election

I’m a firm believer that the typeface that you select for a publication helps set the tone of what you have to say.

As Alex W. White says in The Elements of Graphic Design “choosing a typeface that matches the content is important. Words are symbols of emotions and ideas that manipulate the reader” (Ibid. p. 105). He encourages the reader to “listen to type”.

The Ban Comic Sans website says much the same thing:

Like the tone of a spoken voice, the characteristics of a typeface convey meaning. The design of the typeface is, in itself, its voice. Often this voice speaks louder than the text itself. Thus when designing a “Do Not Enter” sign the use of a heavy-stroked, attention-commanding font such as Impact or Arial Black is appropriate. Typesetting such a message in Comic Sans would be ludicrous.

The history of Comic Sans MS is fascinating (if you like that sort of thing) and in many ways it is a very well-designed font, modelled on the typography used in American comic books. But that is the context in which it makes most sense to use Comic Sans MS: comic books not party political newsletters.

Because no matter how good your arguments may be, Scottish National Party, I simply cannot take you seriously if you print it in Comic Sans. That is just down-right lazy.

2 thoughts on “Not in Comic Sans MS you can’t!”

  1. I think I’d prefer to keep RAF Leuchars whatever the font.

    More to the point, though, I’d been at uni for a year before Comic Sans was invented. That’s a scary concept.

  2. Interestingly, and I think this is exactly my point: I honestly didn’t notice that story headline. I think I’ve just been conditioned to ignore anything in Comic Sans MS as something unimportant; the all-caps doesn’t help either.

    In October 1994, when work began on Comic Sans MS, I had been a graduate for just over a year. That was the same month and year that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was founded.

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