Recently, a crack team of scientists from CERN made a major announcement concerning the Higgs boson. Unfortunately and inexplicably, the slide used in the press announcement was done up in the notorious Comic Sans font, originally created by Microsoft designer Vincent Connare. This drew quite a bit of heated feedback both on Twitter and in the blogosphere, so I’ve decided to dedicate this month’s Free Font Friday to Comic Sans, the little font that could.
Yes, Comic Sans is one of the most notoriously abused typefaces, but it’s been taking it like a champ, and just keeps on being its cheery, quirky self. Also, it’s not the only comic font around – just the most famous one.
Also, if you’ve ever wondered what famous brand logos such as Starbucks or FedEx might look like when done up in Comic Sans, you might want to watch the video at the end of this post: It’s a lovely little documentary that takes a closer look at this much-maligned font.
Janda Manatee comes to us from designer Kimberly Geswein, in a solid version, as well as an outline “bubble” one. As you can see by the charming background in the specimen above, Janda Manatee embraces its childish nature. In fact, the background image was created by Kimberly’s 9-year-old daughter – I wish I could draw like that when I was nine. Janda Manatee’s blocky weight makes it a handy title font.
Anime Ace 2.0
Anime Ace 2.0 is a wonderful all-caps body font for comics. Just looking at these iconic curves makes me picture speech bubbles around and action. It comes to us courtesy of Blambot, a website maintained by designer Nate Piekos. Piekos specializes in comic fonts, and Blambot is an absolute treasure trove for fans of the genre:
Above is just a tiny sampling of the staggering selection of fonts offered on the site, neatly categorized into Dialogue fonts, Sound FX fonts, Design Fonts, and Symbols. Some fonts are free, some are commercial, and some are “limited edition,” only available on the one week the San Diego Comic Con is being held. An invaluable resource for comic artists everywhere.
Comic Book Commando
“Holy frozen margaritas, Bat-man!” says the tiny specimen, and I’m inclined to agree. The spunky, energetic Comic Book Commando is just one of many fonts you can find on Iconian, and is attributed to Daniel Zadorozny, 2002. Iconian contains plenty of other comic-related fonts, such as Casper Comics:
An excellent name for a tech blog if I’ve ever heard one, Geek Riot comes to us from Press Gang Studios. The specimen above shows how well it goes with a bit of an inner gradient and shading. I think its legibility suffers at lower point sizes (see bottom-right block on the specimen), but is definitely works as a bold title font with an attitude. If Comic Sans is cutesy and childish, Geek Riot is urban in an almost grunge-skateboarder sort of way.
I Hate Comic Sans
That’s not a personal opinion, it’s just the name of our next font. I Hate Comic Sans doesn’t have its own website, but its name convinced me I just had to find a place for it in this roundup. This font has been around for a while, first seen on DaFont before 2005. Interestingly, it uses a tiny version of the word “and” as its ampersand (&) glyph:
Not the best comic font in the world, but the name sure grabbed my attention.
Bonus: Comic Sans Documentary
Comic Sans is a cultural phenomenon, and is worthy of a closer look. Here’s a lovely documentary by creator Anita Brown that explores what would life be like if we had more Comic Sans around, especially in famous brand logos:
Weigh In: Is It Ever Okay to Use Comic Sans?
So now that you’ve given Comic Sans and its alternatives some serous thought, what do you think? Would you ever use Comic Sans for anything, or is it an absolute waste of bytes?