Comic Sans: The Font Everyone Loves to Hate

It seems like every designer out there has an opinion about the Comic Sans font, and it seems the overwhelming majority of those opinions are negative. How has a single font become the focus of so much ire? And what, exactly, is behind all the hate?

Comic Sans: The Font Everyone Loves to Hate

A Brief History of Comic Sans

Comic Sans was created by Vincent Connare in 1994 for Microsoft. It was originally designed to be used with Microsoft Bob, but it was completed too late to be included in the program.

The font was based on lettering from comic books Connare had in his office, specifically Watchmen (lettered by Dave Gibbons) and The Dark Knight Returns (lettered by John Costanza).

A Brief History of Comic SansOn the left: Watchmen characters. On the right: The Dark Knight Returns cover

According to statements from Connare, he never intended the font to be released for general use, and only designed it to be used in comic-book-style speech bubbles within MS Bob.

Vincent Connare presentingVincent Connare presenting in 2008.

The Life of Comic Sans in Microsoft Applications

The font ended up being included in Microsoft 3D Movie Maker, which used it in its pop-up windows and help sections. Later it was included with Windows 95 Plus! Pack and then became a standard font for the OEM version of Windows 95. Eventually it was included as a default font for Microsoft Publisher and Internet Explorer.

Some Well-Known Uses of Comic Sans

Comic Sans has been used on a number of well-known products. Beanie Babies have used the font on their tags since the late 1990’s. The 2004 Canada Day 25-cent collector coin also used the font. The Sims video game uses it as well.

The Origin of the Comic Sans Hate

One of the main reasons Comic Sans became the target of such hatred was its widespread usage, particularly when dealing with serious or formal subjects.

While Comic Sans was perfectly adequate in designs for children or designs related to comic books or cartoons, it had no place in business or professional work usage. It’s also ill-suited in content body text – it’s best used as a headline/heading font or short quote (such as in a comic book). But nevertheless, Comic Sans has cropped up all over the place.

The "Ban Comic Sans" Movement

Ban Comic Sans website image

The "Ban Comic Sans" movement started in 1999. It was reportedly started by Dave and Holly Crumbs, graphic designers from Indianapolis, after an employer insisted they use Comic Sans in a children’s museum exhibit.

While the group is a bit tongue-in-cheek, they do point out one of the biggest problems in amateur graphic design: disregard for appropriate typography choices. Where a professional designer will (usually) consider the impact their font and typography choices have on the overall tone of a project, an amateur will often just pick a font they like, disregarding the font’s impact on the final design.

Inappropriate Uses of Comic Sans

The single biggest complaint against Comic Sans is that Comic Sans portrays a very definite tone and feeling when it’s used; mainly, an immature, informal, childish mood.

A recent Flickr discussion in the Ban Comic Sans group talked about inappropriate uses in the wild.

Some of the uses shared were:

A Showcase of Improper Usage of Comic Sans

Here are real-world examples of when you shouldn’t use Comic Sans.

Imitation weapons

By Aimee Daniells

Portugal Basketball

By ocacsms

United Church

By Aimee Daniells

Help prevent tragedy

By Simon Clayson

Custom Coach

By Justin Henry

Not an Exit

By Tom Magliery

Do not enter.

By Liz Hall

Do not climb

By Esther Simpson


By Marc Moss

No table service.

By Marc Moss

Warning Sign

By Raltaran

Technical and Aesthetic Drawbacks

While many who hate Comic Sans do so just because of its omnipresence, others hate it because of aesthetic and technical drawbacks. Both the kerning and weighting of the font are inconsistent, leading to a haphazard appearance in large swathes of text (or even small ones).

Technical and Aesthetic Drawbacks

Todd Klein did an analysis of why Comic Sans isn’t even appropriate for comic books in his post, "Comic Sans Font Examined". It’s an interesting read, and points out some further shortcomings of the font.

Some Alternatives to Comic Sans

If you’re looking for a font that gives the same impression and feeling as Comic Sans but doesn’t come with all the negativity, give the following fonts a try.

Lexia Readable

Lexia Readable

P22 Kaz Pro

P22 Kaz Pro

JM Doodle Medium

JM Doodle Medium

FF Friday Regular

FF Friday Regular

Sharktooth Regular

Sharktooth Regular

Comic Strip

Comic Strip

Ban Comic Sans has a list of Comic Sans alternatives available on their website.

Additional Resources about the Comic Sans Controversy

Image Sources:

Related Content

About the Author

Cameron Chapman is a professional web and graphic designer with over 6 years of experience in the industry. She’s also written for numerous blogs such as Smashing Magazine and Mashable. You can find her personal web presence at Cameron Chapman On Writing. If you’d like to connect with her, check her out on Twitter.

This was published on Dec 1, 2009


Eric B. Dec 01 2009

I’m with the people that also hate Comic Sans. I remember, in school, some people would hand in a couple of pages of text in Comic Sans, just because they loooove it so much.

Even worse is those people that would write an entire Papyrus.

Design Informer Dec 01 2009

Nice! Thanks for providing those alternates.

I recently wrote a mock of Comic Sans. Pretty funny! You can check it out here.

Matthew Heidenreich Dec 01 2009

great post!

CodeDude Dec 02 2009

Great article there. Always wanted to know the history of the “hated font”. Thanks for the alternative font list also…I’m sure that will be helpful to me sometime.

You might as well add Papyrus to the most hated list.

Couldn’t someone just create the worlds first good worm that just crawled across the internet and all it does is delete comic sans from every computer it infects? And while it was at it maybe papyrus, impact, tekton, jokerman, curlz, bradley hand, snap itc, brush script, goudy stout…I’m sure I’m missing some.

for me, it’s the font that clients use when they do thir own design work. I think that’s why we hate it:) we see it too much!!!

Abdussalam Dec 02 2009

Hmmm…Interesting!! Another alternative to Comic Sans font is Tekton Pro. (I used in the header of my blog).

Monsieur M Dec 02 2009

really intersting…

This font is used and re-used in bad context.

Thanks for this post !

Doug Barned Dec 02 2009

Great run down of info, thanks very much.

Will now have a more up-to-date place to send clients who insist on using Comic Sans for something ridiculous.


diesis Dec 02 2009

You just have to add this example:

This is a menacing letter sent to newspapers from an italian terrorist group.. the main line says “No to the coup d’etat, yes to the revolution”.. all written in COMIC SANS! ;)

Marina Dec 02 2009

Just to make sure: I h8 comic sans sice I was a child LOL =D

Deny Deyn Dec 02 2009

hi, i never knew about this
thx for info, really interesting

It is used in education so much as it is the only(thank i can think of) shipped font which forms the letter a as you would write it.

Valldeperas Dec 02 2009

Maybe we should do some “comic sans revival project”, can be interesting. I’ll keep the idea in mind.

Mohawk Kellye Dec 02 2009

At least it’s not Curls

simon saunders Dec 02 2009

Ban Comic Sans worldwide and make sure it’s not the last font you’ll ever see!

I have to agree with Nico. Papyrus is just the worst in being used in situations it should never be used in. It’s awful!

Great article. :)

Lianne Dec 02 2009

Someone just needs to create a book on font etiquette and the appropriate uses of fonts. Just so we are all on the same page, no pun intended.

Delia Dec 02 2009

Thanks for putting up this great article! I agree that Comic sans was used overwhelmingly for everything, especially inappropriate designs. But personally I think “hating” a typeface makes anyone sound like a high school student during critique: “I hate it..because…everyone else hates it.” The typeface is fun for certain designs. Don’t use it for everything and you won’t have to hate it it, right?

Crocodile Jock Dec 02 2009

Nice article. More fuel for the fire here, with links to several other great (and free) alternative fonts you may want to use. And a paid for one here:

therapix Dec 02 2009

It’s hard to go through college and having to look at comic sans on EVERY slide on most of the lectures during 5 years…

You can also add this short documentary:

spydergrrl Dec 02 2009

This College humor video makes a hero of Comic Sans:

Tenny Dec 02 2009

As I outlined in my blog there is a very clear time when it is OK to use Comic Sans:

I agree with some people on here. Papyrus ins’t hated as it should be, i think it’s even more overused than comic sans.

Reid Klos Dec 02 2009

What’s interesting about this post is that I never paid that much attention to Comic Sans. It never had the clean, crisp, demanding presence that I like so I always overlooked it. Nevermind the fact that it is named COMIC Sans. That suggests more of a chill, whimsical, free idea.
Looking at the comments I’m surprised at how many professional people actually use that. I wouldn’t go as far as “Rob” suggests by getting rid of all of those creative fonts because they have a place, yet it is apparent that people need educating about the use of fonts and the impressions they carry and/or present.

Andrew Yates Dec 02 2009

Throughout school people would submit essays that contained only Comic Sans. Infact I had a teacher that also hated it.

Nice article. Nice to know its origins.

comic sans is so awesome i use it in every rotating guitar GIF i make!

I don’t know why everybody hates it… ?
It makes me feel all fuzzy and warm inside!

Jon Crim Dec 02 2009

Every font has it’s place, including Comic Sans – just need to know when it’s appropriate.

Kerri Dec 02 2009

On a basketball uniform? The horror! I mean, really!

Emma Sugarman Dec 02 2009

I have to agree with creator Connare when he says, “If you love it, you don’t know much about typography, but if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby.”

Also, the “No Table…” photograph taken by Marc Moss is not Comic Sans.

Twice Dec 02 2009

Only the worst designers hate Comic Sans. Those are the same that probably love Helvetica as well.

If you’re really creative then why would you join in on the opinion of tens of thousands of others?

Anonymous Dec 02 2009

I was forced to use Papyrus on a logo once because a client loved it so much. I did a quick search and it seems this logo never made it to google image cache. I wonder why.

Maybe my suggestion was drastic, but it comes from a deeply rooted hate for them. I guess they do have their place, but even if that situation presented itself I still would use something else. I would also agree the hate for them comes from years of misuse by really bad designers.

Chrispis Dec 03 2009

A friend of mine owns a t-shirt company. one day a man of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle club asked him to put some type along some visuals on a t-shirt. He was asked to use comic sans because it is so fun looking font. Totally misplaced imho. :D

@twice,.. it has nothing to with being creative or not,… you could better hate comic sans than go against tens of thousands and love it, like you are stating.

Elliott Dec 03 2009

Just to be different… I like Comic Sans Serif.. it’s easily read, ideal for dyslexics etc. It is overused though and I’d only use it for headlines etc.

Lauren Jordan Dec 03 2009

I don’t think I hate Comic Sans, but I never use and I have never had a reason to use it. I remember when I was in 5th grade, it was the first time I had noticed the font because EVERYONE in my class would use it to type up their homework, or used it in invitations to birthday parties. It even became the font to be used in Instant Messages. I think from that alone, is the reason why I don’t care for the typeface. Comic books is where it should stay.

Good article, though one has to wonder why so many people are drawn to it? And I’m talking about the non-designer crowd here, you know, your everyday people who use the font for everything, inappropriately.

In my opinion it simply shows that most people (people who are not in the design business) don’t really care about the technical aspects of the font (really, do they have to?). All they care about at the end of the day is how the font ‘looks’. There is something appealing about the font for them, regardless of the ‘kerning’ and the ‘weighting’.

Honestly, if I had to convince a client why Comic Sans would be inappropriate for their web site, etc. I wouldn’t be using ‘big’ words like ‘kerning’ and ‘weighting’, or even mention that it is simply a ‘taboo’ in good design, instead, I would first try to find out why they find it so appealing, then offer solid reasons, in simple clear language, why the font is not appropriate in this or that scenario related to their business.

As a designer I don’t love Comic Sans, but I can understand why other people who are not in our business, may find the font appealing.

George - Planet Anarky Dec 03 2009

I can’t abide Comic as a font. It’s just ugly! And saying “if you’re so creative, why are you joining the opinion of others?” is, frankly, retarded: just because it’s a commonly-held opinion doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

My favourite worst culprit for using Comic in the worst possible way is RyanAir, a large & well-known budget airline in the UK, who use it for their corporate logo. Eurgh.

See here for my review of their site:

Don’t hate Comic Sans. Hate those who have misused and abused it. Just pick the right font for your design and message. When in doubt, keep it simple.

smheath Dec 03 2009

Great article! One problem, though. The “no table service in the upper tap room” example is actually Chalkboard, not Comic Sans. It is, however, just as inappropriate as the Comic Sans examples.

I have to agree with Vincent Connare (the font designer), who was quoted in a Wall Street Times article:
If you love it, you don’t know much about typography. But, if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby.

Wall Street *Journal*

Pieter Dec 05 2009

I don’t think Comic Sans is that bad, but I hate it when used on the web or for official documents (I get letters from school in Comic Sans).

But yes, as mentioned before: Papyrus is worse. Changed 14 pages of text from Papyrus to a nice, readable font last week and spent 15 minutes on proper repositioning.

Sheffield Dec 08 2009

I once did a nursery school website, and yep – you guessed it they asked for comic sans, this made me slightly vexed, although looking back it was nowhere near as inappropriate as some of these examples.
I feel sorry for the poor guy who invented it (Vincent Connare) – MS made it a monster – not him!

Lyndon Dec 09 2009

As one of my professors from design school said to me years ago, “If you want a font to have a handmade look…hand make it.”

I cringe every time a designer uses a font like comic sans or papyrus or any of the other common threats. But we should recognize that they give people without the knowledge of accepted visual aesthetics a chance to feel like a designer.

Melody Jan 04 2010

I don’t entirely get why people care so much that they want to ban it, just use it in a aesthetically pleasing form.

Very interesting post. I didn’t know that there are people who hate comic sans. I am not of them though.. so will that me an odd and corny person? LOL

Design Ideas Jan 08 2010

Hehe, funny post. Love it

Devon Feb 07 2010

“Every font has it’s place, including Comic Sans – just need to know when it’s appropriate.” – Jon Crim

Agreed. All this hate on this font is just a popularity contest. It’s the “cool” thing to do, or something similar. I don’t think it’s the most amazing font in the world, but I also just don’t see how it warrants so much hate.

Use on a grave marker certainly seems out of place, though.

jahrends Feb 18 2010

All I can say is that this article made me want to use the font more… If it pisses off all the self important “Font” critics in the world! That is awesome!


Lokendra Feb 25 2010

This is really nice i never seen before. but it’s funny
Thanks for nice posting

Ummm whats the big issue its a font ?:S if you dont like it leave it alone and go for whatever font YOU like, dont make a f****ng hate site about it gheez most childish thing ive heard for 2010 :| :|

jacob rendell Mar 20 2010

Delia, tom, gina – yes i agree. jahrends – cheers! ryan, you’ve got a point. all of that bullsh*t about kerning and weight is, well, bullsh*t. a good designer can always make it work. people like comic sans cos it makes em feel cozy. im not saying that its easy to use, but i mean, it is easily recognizable and this makes it better than other choices in many situations. i think designers should think more about why something doesn’t work. just because it is used in the wrong context very often doesn’t mean it is overused. what is overused? can helvetica ever be overused? yes i realize the gravity, and yes i realize that i am comparing one of the most versatile families to a single typeface which was actually originally designed to be used for one thing only: speech bubbles within a computer program. which might have worked out great! just like Costanza’s hand lettering does in his comics.

i think Papyrus tries to do too much. part display, part grungy or something, it probably won’t work for anything, however it might make something misleading or fake, if thats what you wanted to do. and Times New Roman is just a default for whatever reason. it has some strange pointy serifs and beaks.

“Comic Sans: The Font Everyone Loves to Hate”
I thought that was Arial…

Puneet Jun 18 2010

I am with the peple who hate this font. Completely agree.

Grace Jun 21 2010

why are people that use comic sans always cocky, erragant, and act like it’s bush vs. obama? (gobama!!) really everyone knows that the indie, cool, graphically inclined people hate comic sans! and really james cameron?? ruin a movie (avatar) by putting PAPYRUS font in the subtitles?? STUPID. the movie sucked 2 though.. thats a lot to say about james cameron then..

Guys, checkout ‘myndraine’ for comic sans alternative.

I’m Comic Sans, Asshole.

Comic Sans Lover Nov 06 2010

One additional point over what Matt’s monologue states…

has it occured to any of the haters that if a sign is intended for an audience then it may be better to use the font that the readers are used to for that subject matter? E.g. if a parent of a toddler is used to seeing comic sans in toddler material then anything written in comic sans is going to grab his/her attention because it likely talks about something related to the kid.

This is a prime example of when professionals perfect their art so much that very soon the art fails to connect to the people that are supposed to use it.

Next thing I know, I need to go to a font appreciation class. I already am an unsophisticated couth because I cannot appreciate music.

JFSFhljaskfg sdjfkal Feb 18 2011

I have a teacher that makes us write everything in this font.

I wrote an essay on the Holocaust. IN COMIC SANS.

This is hilarious. People need to calm down. It’s a fucking font. Grow up.

janet Apr 01 2011

My mom used to use Comic Sans as her email font, and I always hated the way it looked. Thankfully she uses her iPhone for email now, so it’s no longer a problem. But until I read the comments, I was unaware of the hatred of Papyrus! My friend used it for wedding programs and it looked great in that context, much like Comic Sans being appropriate for Beanie Babies. To each their own.

steve Apr 01 2011


“Use on a grave marker certainly seems out of place, though.”

Why? If that’s how the person wants to be remembered, what’s the diff?


That’s a great one.

jon banquer Apr 01 2011

Interesting to me that Mickeysoft, the big advocates of Intellectual Property who make it impossible to even reinstall a paid-for operating system on new hardware, ripped off the basis for one of their fonts from other people without so much as a by-yer-leave credit.

Hypocrisy is rampant in the United States these days.

Sophia Apr 05 2011

Now, I hate Comic Sans. But for titling purposes, I see nothing wrong with fonts such as Papyrus and Goudy Old Style. I wouldn’t write a full body of text with them, but I think for more creative documents they make good titles.
For most things, I tend to use Goudy Old Style. Someone almost attacked me when I told them this. Can someone tell me why THAT font is so repulsive?

RaulJones Apr 05 2011

I use Comic Sans every chance I get. I prefer it, mainly becuse the obnoxious twits who “hate” it get irked when I do. They will just have to get over themselves. Comic Sans will *never* get banned, so get used to it.

People hating Comic Sans is the primary reason why I keep using it.

Chris Jun 10 2011

If someone else would just come up with an informal, handwritten-looking font that *IS* well designed, and then make it as ubiquitous on computers as Comic Sans, I’d switch in a minute. 99% of Windows computers and 92% of Macs have it installed.

For the Web, if you are sticking to informal handwritten-looking fonts that a high percentage of people on BOTH Mac and PC have, Comic Sans is pretty much it — unless you are using @font-face or other remote-font technology, which not everyone can do.

The only other “handwritten” fonts that come close to Comic Sans’ universality are various “chancery” fonts like Monotype Corsiva or Apple Chancery, and they do not look the same AT ALL nor do they give the same flavor.

So far all the proposed alternatives to Comic Sans I’ve seen are for print design, where you can basically use any font you wan, because your end user does not always need to have the font installed. The Web is different.

OMG…I cannot believe what all of you people are saying. You people disgust me…

You hate…a digitally rendered typeface…

Think about that for a moment.

There are infinitely more things in this plane of existence that deserve as much hate as Comic Sans is getting. There is nothing wrong with Comic Sans. It is a font…leave it alone, get out of your basements, leave your mother’s house…and GET A LIFE!

I would never use Comic Sans on an essay, or even a semi-informal piece of work…but then, I would never use Times New Roman on a social greeting card, party invitation, social website, or any other fully informal piece of writing.

On the internet, there are only so many fonts that our browsers can support, Comic Sans is one of them. Doesn’t this say something for Comic Sans, how it has beat out thousands of other fonts in the very exclusive list of universally supported fonts?

You people don’t like it because it is popular and widely accepted. Jealousy breeds hatred I guess.

David Jun 30 2011

Can´t believe I have been reading so many comments about a font!

Anyway, I think the main reason that Comic Sans is so much used is that it is the ONLY “funny but readable” font you can find in MS-word.
For a non-designer (as me) the fonts in Word look all the same as Times NR or are just unreadable.

Bobby Jul 01 2011


Wow, I’m learning as I practice graphic design and I just found out that this font… which I used in my last big project… is hated so much. I picked it in the beginning because I just thought it was a somewhat artistic looking, modern font, so hey.. why not use that. that’s all! I never thought there would be so much animosity, bickering, and hate over something as small as a font. From all that I’ve read about why people hate it so much makes me think it’s pretty ridiculous. So much hate for a font? I see a little on how it can be used in the wrong ways but I think it has it’s good side like how I mentioned. Stop the hate, take a pill.

Antonia Merk Aug 30 2011

Wonderful submit. No-one requires a chronic illness. Some of us get them. Everyone is able to really benefit from this, regardless. Almost all existence get their happenings of pain, grief plus burning. People need the particular empathy we’re able to get one other. Maintain formidable!!

Wew…reading comments makes me wonder why Comic Sans is disliked by so many of you…I think what we should know is just how to use the right font for particular project, task, or design. Also, in my country, the typeface commonly used for professional work or school assignments is Times New Roman. Comic Sans is usually used for informal purpose.

I’m not a designer and I don’t give a damn of what you think. I’m a normal user and yes, I did homework and some essays in Comic sans. I like it. Most people don’t like it because they were told so, they were told it is ugly and “inappropriate”. It’s a FONT, people! And not everyone likes the same things! You need to grow up and get a life, honestly. At University we were due to hand homework in Times New Roman and I hate it. Still, in the end, I don’t care, it’s just a font.

You KNOW there is a reason why it is so used?!?! Yes, because people LIKE it. Because it’s easy to read, it’s clean, it’s appealing, big enough for it, and it’s “round” like the way we write with our hands (specialy girls!).

Mountain Mama Sep 28 2011

This is good example of people just taking themselves too seriously.
I did not know that there is a stigma attached to this font. I have used it for a long time. It is legible, clear, and clean. That does not make it right, but who really cares? As long as the message is written with care, intention, honesty, integrity, and truth it does not matter what font it is in…
Nuff said….

KEN the Scribe Dec 09 2011

It seems that a mouse may appear to be an elephant in some folk’s eyes. A molehill becomes a mountain. Why do you folk get so heated over an issue that’s about as important as that when pigs are arguing over the quality of oranges? If you like being chained to your feelings then go on as you are.Get a life! Start asking questions and not letting off steam like a darn automatic machine. It is UNECESSARY to do that . STOP IT !!!! ( It CAN be done).

Marcel Sep 27 2012

why so hateful? Comic sans is only a font. if a person wants to use it, let them use it.

If you are the person that hates a font so much, that you will tell your customer he/she is wrong, then you have the wrong idea about how to treat a customer.

Bottom line is, millions of people use this font, because they like it. Not because somebody says its appropriate or inappropriate.

Creativity comes from an individual, not from following the masses.

Unknown Oct 10 2012

I do not care what other people say. I like Comic Sans. And besides, what is so wrong about it? Who cares? As long as I can read, I am fine about it. In this case, I can. Why can’t you?

meta morfosa Oct 10 2012

Nothing is good or bad itself, it’s always in the eye of the spectator. I didn’t choose comic sans because I liked it (which I actually don’t) but for one reason only: the children’s story of “meta morfosa” is told by a worm who is able to write by forming his tiny excrements in the shape of letters. sorry, but I couldn’t find any type which suited better :)
the framework story and the comments, as well as the table of content, of course, are not comic sans.
So, whatever type you choose, it should depend on what you want to express by it.


David Kadavy Mar 03 2013

That’s an amazing write-up! I had never seen those basketball jerseys before – I wonder how it’s affected the team’s performance :)

Aside from the fact that Connare never intended for Comic Sans to be used widespread, computers didn’t have anti-aliasing at the time of the invention of Comic Sans. Actually, it didn’t look all that bad aliased. You can see what I mean here:

Lucas Jun 18 2013

I have to say that Comic Sans is an awesome font. Just because people are silly and use it in the wrong scenario doesn’t mean you should hate it. Instead, you should hate the people who use it in the wrong way. I agree that Comic Sans should be used for things like guns and stuff, but it should be used in friendly places like day care or a baby store. And anyways, why do people make such a big deal over a font? How would you like it if the most popular font was in Chinese and you had to read Chinese 24/7?

Lucas Jun 18 2013

I meant to say: “I agree that Comic Sans SHOULDN’T be used for things like guns and stuff…”

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