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Photos: Mia Haugen
Is Comic Sans really that bad?
The font everybody loves to hate lives strong on the streets of Oslo. Are we being too harsh?

The Comic Sans saga started in 1995. Typographer Vincent Connare received a beta version of Microsoft Bob – an instructions manual for young Microsoft users featuring a comics dog named Rover. Rover had speech bubbles set in Times New Roman.

“[It was] a system font oddly unsuited to the comic context. My inspiration for Comic Sans came from the shock of seeing Times New Roman used so inappropriately,” Connare says in an interview on fonts.com. He decided to design a more child friendly font, inspired by the comics. Originally intended for children only apps, Comic Sans ended up becoming a system font.

From rags to riches. Comic Sans filled a gap for people who needed to be cheerful or child-friendly in writing. It made the grade as a Microsoft system font.

Ever since, Comic Sans has made appearances everywhere: in school papers, kids’ birthday party invitations, corporate balance sheets. It has long since made its way into pop culture, where people use it ironically or just make blatantly sure everybody knows they hate it, as a cultural distinguisher and antithesis to good taste.

Why do we hate it so?

The Comic Sans Project

Recently, while skimming the internet, a project caught our interest:

Love and hate. Comic Sans is a favorite object of hate for design snobs everywhere. Some have made it their mission to rectify its bad reputation (Illustration: Screen grab from The Comic Sans Project)

The Tumblr blog “The Comic Sans Project”  was created by defenders of Comic Sans who believed the hate was undeserved. They made it their mission to redesign the world in Comic Sans, encouraging people to redesign famous logos in the spirit of Comic Sans.

Look at these logos. They aren’t that bad. Honestly, some of them look fine.

Oslo by Comic Sans

Inspired, we went on a Comic Sans logo-hunt in the center of Oslo.

Using the “6 criterias of a great logo” from Free logo design’s blog, we wanted to establish whether or not it is  possible to create a great logo using Comic Sans.

The criteria:

  1. Memorable/Recognizable: Is it easy for your customers to remember you? Is the message you’re sending through your logo clear, and does it represent the values of your business?
  2. Flexible: Does your logo fit everywhere – printed and on the web, on a white and a black background, on a small business card and on a big sign?
  3. Colorful: The logo should work in colors and in black and white.
  4. Unique: Keep it simple. By making an uncomplicated logo it ensures that it will be readable in whichever format.
  5. Timeless: It’s important to follow the trends, but at the same time the logo should age well and look good through the years.
  6. Distinctive: Again, be unique and make your logo stand out from the crowd.

Dovrestua (Pub)

  1. Memorable/Recognizable: Yes. The sign is big and the location of the bar is in one of the busiest streets in Oslo. Since it’s written in Comic Sans, it’s an eyecatcher. It’s minimalistic, there’s nothing but text, it’s a pub and just a pub. Perfect.
  2. Flexible: Yes. It works on different platforms.
  3. Colorful: Yes. It works in different colors.
  4. Unique: Yes. It’s simple and readable in all formats.
  5. Timeless: Not sure if it looks good through the years, but it is certainly timeless.
  6. Distinctive: It does stand out of the crowd.

Riktige Leker (Toy store)

  1. Memorable/Recognizable: Yes. The sign is big and the logo is written in both versals and in the controversial font. Red is a color that makes it easy to catch someone’s eye. It’s playful and childish – like a toy store should be.
  2. Flexible: Yes. It works on different platforms, but would probably work better if the logo had a frame around it, ensuring it would be visible everywhere.
  3. Colorful: Yes. It works in different colors.
  4. Unique: Yes. It’s simple and readable in all formats.
  5. Timeless: As above. It’s definitely timeless.
  6. Distinctive: Yes. It does stand out of the crowd.

Den Lille Kokosbollefabrikken (Café)

  1. Memorable/Recognizable: Yes and no. The sign is quite small and the colors do not really catch your eye. That said, you still remember the place: It’s written in Comic Sans!
  2. Flexible: Yes. It works on different platforms, but just like the logo for Riktige Leker, it would probably work better framed.
  3. Colorful: Yes. It works in different colors.
  4. Unique: Yes. It’s simple and readable in whichever format.
  5. Timeless: Definitely.
  6. Distinctive: Yes. It does stand out of the crowd.

The conclusion: Comic Sans makes for good logos. Its reputation as font bad boy is undeserved.

What do you think?

The writer, Mellina Villanueva, is a student at Kristiania University College and an editor in Untold Editorial, the group of students and young professionals that produce The Creative Industry Brief. 

1 Comic Sans Project
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Comic Sans Project

WE ARE THE COMIC SANS DEFENDERS. WE FEAR NO FONTS AND WE WILL MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD COMIC SANS.
BECAUSE HELVETICA IS SOOO 2011

2 fonts.com
Ilene Strizver
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The Story Behind Comic Sans

There may not be a designer on the planet who hasn’t heard of Comic Sans. In fact, there may not be any computer-using non-designers who aren’t familiar with — and don’t have an opinion about — Comic Sans. Vincent Connare’s 1995 design for Microsoft has become one of the most popular and most maligned typefaces of our time.

3 Free logo design
Elisabeth
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6 CRITERIAS OF A GREAT LOGO

With FreeLogoDesign, creating your own logo is very easy (and free) but to make sure you succeed in that creation, here are 6 criterias that a powerful logo should have. Follow these tips to create your personalized logo that will define your brand image!



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