Friday, July 5, 2013

Comic Sans, the Origin of the World's Most Hated Font

Artists, designers and webmasters have some pretty strong opinions, so they rarely agree on much. But ask about a document or page laid out in Comic Sans and you can hear the collective groans. Still, are we being unfair to the typeface and the spirit it was created in? Our universal reaction of scorn or laughter really comes from the discordant view of seeing a font designed to be used in a Microsoft comic book software package in a setting that isn't juvenile and informal.  Here the font's designer tells the full story of how and why he came up with type that brings to mind the text in a Batman comic's cartoon balloons.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Best of Hacker News

Link to article:
Excerpt: "Comic Sans was designed because when I was working at Microsoft I received a beta version of Microsoft Bob. It was a comic software package that had a dog called Rover at the beginning and he had a balloon with messages using Times New Roman.

Comic Sans was NOT designed as a typeface but as a solution to a problem with the often overlooked part of a computer program's interface, the typeface used to communicate the message.

There was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children when I designed Comic Sans. The inspiration came at the shock of seeing Times New Roman used in an inappropriate way.

The designers and engineers at Microsoft spent lots of time drawing and coding the interface for MS Bob with comic characters but didn't bother to use a cartoon or comic font. I thought that was wrong and started to look at two comic books I happened to have in my office. I had been working with the Creative Writer team in the Consumer division at the same time supplying them with fonts for Kids software, things like fonts looking like Pizza, monsters and ones with snow. There was a need for these fun fonts at Microsoft at the time.

I started with the font drawing software Macromedia Fontographer, trying to make the capitals in a similar form as the lettering used in DC, Marvel and all other company's comic books. The Dark Knight Returns a Batman book was one of the books I referenced often. I took care not to copy the letters but looked at varying shapes in different styles. Also most samples only used capital letters so I had little reference for them. I printed it out so that the weight was about the weight of the Marvel and DC books. I looked at the varying letterforms that each book had since all the letters vary because they are manually written.

I used Fontographer's drawing path tool and used rounded corners and drew the letters over and over again in the program until I got the shape I wanted."

No comments:

Post a Comment