It’s classified as a sans-serif, handwritten typeface initially intended for use in speech bubbles on Microsoft Windows operating system interface.
Why is It So Hated?
Comic Sans is one of the most reviled typefaces. Why is that so? There’s a long history of designers criticizing Comic Sans. Many don’t know why they’re doing it, but they do. I’ll give you three reasons.
1. Letterform Design
Comic Sans has very inconsistent letterforms. As a matter of opinion, it’s not hard to see why it’s considered ugly. Usually, in type design, many letters are based on each other. See the glyphs for the letters bdpq in the Gibson typeface, a neo-grotesque sans-serif.
The glyphs are all based on the same forms, though they don’t all end up being exactly identical. Often, the ascenders and descenders have different lengths.
As you can see, the same cannot be said for Comic Sans. As part of its hand-written design, each glyph is completely different from the other. While this gives it a messy look, it is said that this actually increases engagement in young readers.
If you refer to the Boom! speech bubble below, you can see how letter spacing in Comic Sans is very loose. This also makes it easy to read for beginner readers.
Using any typeface in the wrong context can make it look inappropriate, unprofessional or even silly. Comic Sans was designed to be used in a casual context like a comic book speech bubble. Its letter forms are intended to be casual. They also happen to be very inconsistently designed.
For this reason, setting it in a serious context will make it look very wrong.
The use of Comic Sans on a Danger! sign makes it look wildly out of place. On the speech bubble, it’s not so bad.
3. Torches and Pitchforks!
Comic Sans is often disliked simply because of its reputation as a bad typeface. Designers get all contorted over this misshapen typeface. Strictly speaking all typefaces have an application, however limited it may be. I don’t like the typeface because of its design. That’s just a matter of taste and opinion. That doesn’t prevent it from finding a home in primary school classrooms.
There are numerous handwritten typefaces which boast more consistent designs. See this category on Adobe Fonts for examples. Remember the importance of choosing at typeface that’s contextually appropriate for your design.