Comic Sans MS, commonly referred to as Comic Sans, is a sans-serif casual script typeface designed by Vincent Connare and released in 1994 by Microsoft Corporation. It is classified as a casual, non-connecting script for use in informal documents inspired by comic book lettering.
The typeface has been supplied with Microsoft Windows since the introduction of Windows 95, initially as a supplemental font in the Windows Plus Pack and later in Microsoft Comic Chat. Describing it, Microsoft has explained that "this casual but legible face has proved very popular with a wide variety of people."
The typeface's widespread use, often in situations for which it was not intended, has been criticized.
Microsoft designer Vincent Connare began work on Comic Sans in October 1994. Connare had already created child-oriented fonts for various applications, so when he saw a beta version of Microsoft Bob that used Times New Roman in the word balloons of cartoon characters, he decided to create a new face based on the lettering style of comic books he had in his office, specifically The Dark Knight Returns (lettered by John Costanza) and Watchmen (lettered by Dave Gibbons).
He completed the face too late for inclusion in MS Bob, but the programmers of Microsoft 3D Movie Maker, which also used cartoon guides and speech bubbles, began to use it. The speech bubbles eventually were phased out and replaced by actual sound, but Comic Sans stayed for the program’s pop-up windows and help sections. The typeface later shipped with the Windows 95 Plus! Pack. It then became a standard font for the OEM version of Windows 95. Finally, the font became one of the default fonts for Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Internet Explorer. The font is also used in Microsoft Comic Chat, which was released in 1996 with Internet Explorer 3.0.
Comic Sans Pro (2011)
Originally appearing as part of Ascender 2010 Font Pack as Comic Sans 2010, Comic Sans Pro is a commercial variant designed by Terrance Weinzierl from Monotype Imaging. It added italic variants of the original fonts for a total of 4 fonts, extra ornaments and symbols including speech bubbles, onomatopoeia and dingbats.
OpenType features included ligatures, lining figures, localized forms, old style figures, proportional figures, tabular figures, swash, small capitals, stylistic alternates, stylistic sets (1-3).
The typeface became very popular and achieved widespread use. It has been criticized by several designers due to its widespread use, often in situations where it was not intended.
The Boston Phoenix reported on disgruntlement over the widespread use of the font, especially its incongruous use for writing on serious subjects, with the complaints urged on by a campaign started by two Indianapolis graphic designers, Dave and Holly Combs, via their website "Ban Comic Sans". The movement was conceived in 1999 by the two designers, after an employer insisted that one of them use Comic Sans in a children's museum exhibit, and in early 2009, the movement was "stronger now than ever". The web site's main argument is that a typeface should match the tone of its text, and that the irreverence of Comic Sans is often at odds with a serious message, such as a "do not enter" sign.
Comic book artist Dave Gibbons, whose work was one of the inspirations for the font, said that it was "a shame they couldn't have used just the original font, because [Comic Sans] is a real mess. I think it's a particularly ugly letter form."
Film producer and New York Times essayist Errol Morris wrote in an August 2012 posting, "The conscious awareness of Comic Sans promotes — at least among some people — contempt and summary dismissal." With the help of a professor, he conducted an online experiment and found that Comic Sans, in comparison to five other fonts (Baskerville, Helvetica, Georgia, Trebuchet MS, and Computer Modern), makes readers slightly less likely to believe that a statement they are reading is true.
In the Netherlands popular radio DJs Coen Swijnenberg and Sander Lantinga decided to celebrate the font by having a Comic Sans day on the first Friday of July. Comic Sans Day has been held since 2009. Some Dutch companies have their website in Comic Sans on this day.
A 2010 Princeton University study involving presenting students with text in a font slightly more difficult to read found that they consistently retained more information from material displayed in so-called disfluent or ugly fonts (Monotype Corsiva, Haettenschweiler, Comic Sans Italicized were used) than in a simple, more readable font such as Arial.
During the summer of 2010, NBA superstar LeBron James left his former team at the time, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a highly publicized media affair. The majority owner of the team (at the time), Dan Gilbert, reacted by posting a (ranting) letter to Cavalier fans. One of the ways the letter was heavily derided was for its use of Comic Sans font.
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- "Typeface Descriptions & Histories". nickshanks.com. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- "What's so wrong with Comic Sans?". BBC News (BBC). 2010-10-20. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- Connare, Vincent. "Keynote: From the Dark Side… Speak to Me". Ampersand Conference 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- Steel, Emily (2009-04-17). "Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will". Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company, Inc.). Archived from the original on 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "Ascender releases new OpenType font pack for Microsoft Office 2010". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Ascender Releases New OpenType Font Pack for Microsoft Office 2010". PRWeb. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Comic Sans Pro Typeface Family Makes its Debut - Comic Sans Pro Adds OpenType Features to Extend Versatility of Comic Sans and Inspire New Creativity and Expression". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Comic Sans Pro Typeface Family Makes its Debut". Archived from the original on 3 April 2011.
- Terri Stone (4 April 2011). "Comic Sans Pro Not an April Fool's Joke |". CreativePro.com. Retrieved 2015-04-17.
The Comic Sans typeface, one of Microsoft’s most popular designs, has received a makeover courtesy of Monotype Imaging. Today the company has introduced the four-font Comic Sans Pro family of typefaces. Featuring elements such as speech bubbles and cartoon dingbats, Comic Sans Pro extends the versatility of the original Comic Sans, designed by Vincent Connare for Microsoft in 1994.
- "New Typefaces for Windows 8". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Not Funny: Fighting the Good Fight Against a Very Bad Font". The Boston Phoenix. June 3, 2005.
- "Ban Comic Sans official page". Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Kinch, Tyler (2007-11-11). "NDP calls for ban on Comic Sans typeface". Kinch Blog. Tyler Kinch. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- Schofield, Jack (2009-08-12). "Computers draw a new chapter in comics". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- Morris, Errol (August 8, 2012). "Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth (Part One)". New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Comic Sans Dag op 5 juli 2013 - Nieuws - NPO 3FM - Serious Radio". NPO 3FM Serious Radio. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- Diemand-Yauman, C.; Oppenheimer, D. M.; Vaughan, E. B. (2011). "Fortune favors the bold (and the italicized): Effects of disfluency on educational outcomes". Cognition 118 (1): 111–5. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2010.09.012. PMID 21040910.
- "Cavs owner's letter mocked for Comic Sans font". cnn.com. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- MG Siegler. "Cavs Owner Goes Online To Rip LeBron A New One… In Comic Sans". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- "MagicPoint presentation foils". openbsd.org. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- "LibreSSL". libressl.org. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- Connare, Vincent. “Comic Sans Background Information.” Comic Sans Café.
- Connare, Vincent. “Why Comic Sans?”
- Macmillan, Neil,. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.
- Ascender 2010 Font Pack Overview with Comic Sans 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Comic Sans.|
- Comic Sans MS font information (Microsoft typography)
- Typowiki: Comic Sans
- Comic Sans Café (Microsoft typography)
- Snog Blog: The Vincent Connare Interview
- Comic Sans | Font for the masses or weed of the graphic world?
- Short video of Vincent Connare at 2009 ROFLThing NYC telling the story of Comic Sans
- Ban Comic Sans an opinion piece about the movement by Dr Chris Scanlon from La Trobe University