I don’t usually beg, but please, please go listen to the brief Marketplace piece on what fonts to avoid using. Comic Sans might look fun and quirky to you, but it’s painful to the rest of us who have a smidgen of design sense.
Some of you might find it strange, geeky, or art nerdish to hear that I and many of my co-workers and associates find the fonts people use in everyday life as a source of entertainment. I mean, can you imagine walking out of a movie and saying something like “Can you believe they used ITC Benguiat on that notice in Chocolat when that font wasn’t invented until 1978 and the film was set in the 1950′s?!” to your friends? I can.
But some fonts are not funny. The name of the font “Comic Sans” literally means “no fun.”
Once upon a time, Comic Sans could have been properly used for announcements about children’s birthday parties, or at a circus. But overuse in the most improper of circumstances has rendered it offensive in any situation much like the swastika, once a proud and respectable symbol used by Native American Indians, has been made useless because of a short man with a funny mustache whose offense at being denied admission to art school resulted in the murder of tens of millions of people.
Your use of Comic Sans in emails hurts those you care about. They would tell you, but they are afraid to confront you about it. It also hurts your opportunities for success in life as those you communicate with become more and more convinced that you are unprofessional, incompetent, and best suited to the company of three-year olds as well as only the hottest and noisiest jobs.
Almost as obnoxious as Comic Sans is the use of Times Roman. While not inherently evil like Comic Sans, by virtue of it being the default font in many computer applications, Times Roman has come to be the font used by those who are 1) ignorant of the existence of other fonts, or 2) don’t know how to use different fonts in Word. Any other font could have suffered the same fate had it been chosen as the default font, but the fates decreed that Tmes Roman should suffer that fate. Ironically, the default font has become the one font you should never use unless you’re writing a book.
Along with the use of Comic Sans and Times Roman we should also ban background patterns in emails. If you’re a rocket scientist or a mathematician then perhaps using a background that looks like graph paper is allowable, but it is certainly off limits for anyone else.
Next time a co-worker or loved one shows you something they’re working on and it contains Comic Sans or Times Roman stop immediately, think, and then engage in a crucial conversation. You have no idea the ripple effect your small action might have in making the world a better place.