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Happy Birthday to the Font Everyone Loves to Hate

October 11th, 2019

Comic sans birthday

Seriously? We're saying Happy Birthday to a typeface?

Sure. If it's good enough for The New York Times who are we to disagree - even if Comic Sans is the only font in history to be well enough known to be hated.

And loved.

Well, maybe loved is too strong a word. After all, its creator Vincent Connare himself says: “If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography." But, then he adds, "And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.”

Love it or hate it or don't much care, chances are that at some time in the 25 years since Connare loosed Comic Sans on the world you've used it: Maybe in a casual note, or for a kid's party, a flier for a company picnic. Or, as attorney John Dowd did this week, in a letter to Congress declaring his clients won't participate in the impeachment investigation.

Developed 25 years ago this month, Comic Sans barely survived. Were it not for inclusion in Windows 95 Plus!, which had miscellaneous games, screensavers and supplemental fonts for an early version of Windows, the typeface might have been stillborn. But it did survive, gaining notoriety by the near unanimous opprobrium of designers.

So reviled is Comic Sans that it has a site to report its inappropriate use ( Comic Sans Criminal ) and its own hashtag that's gotten quite a workout since the Dowd letter was released.

A Tumblr site for defenders of Comic Sans had its last post years ago.

Yet, here it is, 25 years old showing up in the most unlikely places: impeachment letters, a groundbreaking presentation about the Higgs boson particle and, as Comic Sans Criminal shows us, on ambulances, defibrillator devices and electrocution warnings.

Happy Birthday!

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