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On Comic Sans

WE ALL NEED TO RECONSIDER COMIC SANS MS, LIKE YESTERDAY. Although 1998 feels like last year, we wore 2000 glasses and shouted the goofy “see you next century” sixteen years ago already. It’s like a decade has gone in a minute. I’m not nostalgic, but I was thrilled about the strong return of the 90s in fashion.

As many raised-by-the-Spice-Girls kids, wearing fishnets and chokers feels natural. We don’t have to try too hard, it’s just who we are. But we also know the 90s are not only about that. It might be okay for someone who just bought an “I Heart the 90s” H&M t-shirt two weeks ago, but for the Schott progeny, the come back of this iconic decade is completely incomplete without Comic Sans MS. If we’re talking 90s material, what is more representative of this era than the “best font in the world”? And why is it not the one you chose for your latest tattoo?

One word. Popularity.

People crave distinction to the point of hating anything they love when they realise they’re not the only ones to do so. Britney Spears, Lacoste, UGGs… Like many others, Comic Sans suffered a love overdose. By becoming too mainstream, overused and overloved, the “amusing” typefont designed by Vincent Connare and released by Microsoft in 1994, became the overrated, overhated “Devil’s font”.

Initially inspired by comic books, the designer created the “casual script typeface” based on the lettering style of The Dark Knight Returns [lettered by John Costanza] and Watchmen [lettered by Dave Gibbons]. In the heyday of Comic Sans, designers started arguing that it had become overused. Its inappropriate or disrespectful use – for a Dutch war memorial or advice for rape victims – didn’t prove them wrong. From CVs, to company emails or blog posts, Comic Sans MS was everywhere and almost always where it shouldn’t.

As its number of detractors grew, their hatred grew too, even going as far as the creation of the movement “Ban Comic Sans” whose main argument is that a typeface should always match the tone of its text – making a “do not enter” sign in Comic Sans absolutely ridiculous.

Although any mother would say “they’re just jealous”, you can’t argue with that.

But banned though? If we can forgive Kanye for his tweets, I‘m pretty sure we can all chill out and find an okay-to-use-sometimes place for the Comic Sans MS. Popularity doesn’t disappear forever. What was once loved will be adored again; it’s mathematical. – and – equal +. Now imagine – and – and – and – and – [that’s about where Comic Sans MS is at right now]. It can only equal a massive +. Look at Miley Cyrus. She went through hell and came back stronger than ever. It’s just a question of time.

Then why is she not writing this article in Comic Sans MS if she’s so fond of it?

Because let’s not make the same mistake twice. Although too controversial to use as an actual typeface, Comic Sans has a fantastic fashion potential. Think about it. It could be your next t-shirt. Or a necklace. Even better… imagine it on a bag! It’s just like “Who’s The Boss?” or “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. You wouldn’t actually watch a whole episode. But please, Mona and Jonathan on my chest, NOW. If Champion made it to Lily Allen’s closet, then why wouldn’t Comic?

In 2016, I’ll fight for the return of my favourite font. Hope you’ll do too.

– – –

Written by Margot Noel,
featured image is a part of a Comic Sans project from a Paris-based creative duo –
Florian Amoneau and Thomas White of We Are Cephalization.

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