Virgin Galactic

Ludology vs. narrative

Ban Comic Sans

You’ve undoubtedly seen Comic Sans, the Microsoft font that attempts to look like classic comic-balloon writing. It doesn’t, of course: Quite the contrary, it is a “painful and inadequate usurpation of comicbook style lettering”, as blogger Brandon Rickman correctly puts it. But because Comic Sans looks “wacky” and “goofy”, it is constantly used in Powerpoint presentations, as the assistant vice president in charge of paperclips attempts to kickstart his two-stroke-engine of a soul and somehow express his inner creativity.

Clearly, this madness must stop. So it came as no surprise for me to discover that there is a highly-organized campaign to ban Comic Sans. As their web site argues, Comic Sans …

… has been used in countless contexts from restaurant signage to college exams to medical information. These widespread abuses of printed type threaten to erode the very foundations upon which centuries of typographic history are built.

There is no way for reasonable adults to disagree.

As a public service, the site hosts free-for-download fonts that do a much better job of emulating comic-book lettering; one of my favorites is “Action Man”!

(Thanks to Brandon for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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