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As if you don't have enough reasons already
April 2, 2010 4:20 AM   Subscribe

7 reasons to not use Comic Sans in your comic.
posted by sambosambo (83 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
So, I was at work on Wednesday, and in comes a broadcast email to the hundred or so IT workers on our floor. The email had an autumn outlook theme (yes, its spring here) complete with a leaf .gif header and brown color scheme, and consisted of: 14pt bold italic comic sans. What was the content of the email, you ask? Well, the daughter of one of the building security guards was brutally murdered by her husband, who also killed their two kids (10 and 2 years old), and then himself when the cops came. All this. In full detail. IN ORANGE BOLD ITALIC COMIC SANS.

WTF.
posted by Mach5 at 4:34 AM on April 2, 2010 [57 favorites]


Not very comic.
posted by DU at 4:45 AM on April 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Comic Sans MS remains the only font known that both has a hand-drawn feel and renders well at low point sizes w/o anti-aliasing.
posted by effugas at 4:52 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice one.
posted by alms at 5:12 AM on April 2, 2010


If you use the letter "I" with crossbars within a word, many people hate you. (I learned the hard way) The capital "I" with the crossbars is reserved for the personal pronoun only.

Huh, really? That's an interesting way for text to evolve.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:25 AM on April 2, 2010


The classic Achewood cartoon, submitted without further comment.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:28 AM on April 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Comic Sans is based on Watchmen. Why do you hate Alan Moore?
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:29 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Was coming here to mention that bold, orange Comic Sans was a bewildering font choice for the heartbreaking Powerpoint slideshow I saw earlier this week as the keynote presentation at a ritzy charity benefit for Haitian relief, and then I saw Mach5's story...wow.
posted by applemeat at 5:34 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apparently adding insult to injury is the new caring....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:38 AM on April 2, 2010


Comic Sans walked into a bar and the bartender said, "Sorry, we don't serve your type."
posted by geekyguy at 5:52 AM on April 2, 2010 [30 favorites]


The most useful writing I've ever found on Speech Balloons, the Care And Feeding Of, is in these posts by Eddie Campbell. His method of doing the balloons first and composing the art around them really transformed the way I think about lettering.

The "industry standard" way is for the lettering to be one of the very last parts of the process. This is okay, I guess, for an assembly-line comic created by Diverse Hands. But it can result in a lot of wasted effort as people draw, ink, and color things that just vanish behind pasted-on balloons - balloons that feel foreign to the comic's art because they're drawn and lettered with a precision that may not exist in the rest of the art.

Good lettering is merely Not In Comic Sans, Or Some Other Inappropriate Font. Great lettering breathes and flows, hinting at subtleties of how a character delivers dialogue; so many of the tricks to do this are as easy as breathing when you're doing it by hand, and a huge hassle when you're pushing around text laid down by a computer. If you're going to spend a couple years of your life working on an intensely personal comics project, I strongly advocate lettering it by hand.

Unless, of course, unwavering machine-set text is what fits your vision. I've done that too. But to me, a "comics font" really tends to be in an uncanny valley - machine-perfect, but pretending to be organic. I can't help but notice that every "A" is just like every other "A".
posted by egypturnash at 5:55 AM on April 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Comic Sans stands at that psychic locus where the Academy reluctantly gives way to the trailer park, where Armani abjectly yields to Burlington Coat Factory, where El Bulli quietly bows to Lunchables. As such, the psychological disruption its use can instill in those who exist on one side of that boundary is immeasurable.

It drives me fuggin' nuts.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:56 AM on April 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Gasp! I wish my keyboard could do breath marks.
posted by Flashman at 6:03 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Comic Sans is the Sarah Palin of fonts. You just know how a Metafilter thread is going to go the minute it gets mentioned.
posted by dortmunder at 6:06 AM on April 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I really liked this person's lettering
posted by Flashman at 6:10 AM on April 2, 2010


Flashman: it can.
posted by aqsakal at 6:11 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Me, in re reason one.

Also, reason seven -- Lettering is the one thing that people will stare directly at as they read your comic. -- is an excellent point!

Good lettering is merely Not In Comic Sans, Or Some Other Inappropriate Font. Great lettering breathes and flows, hinting at subtleties of how a character delivers dialogue; so many of the tricks to do this are as easy as breathing when you're doing it by hand, and a huge hassle when you're pushing around text laid down by a computer. If you're going to spend a couple years of your life working on an intensely personal comics project, I strongly advocate lettering it by hand.

Unless, of course, unwavering machine-set text is what fits your vision. I've done that too. But to me, a "comics font" really tends to be in an uncanny valley - machine-perfect, but pretending to be organic. I can't help but notice that every "A" is just like every other "A".


All I can do is point at this, nod vigorously, and tear up at how perfectly CORRECT egypturnash is. Nine times out of ten, when I'm reading a hand-drawn comic, I'd rather read shitty hand-inked text than a perfect robot font.

Having to adjust between the beautiful organic quality of drawn strokes and the cold unwavering lines of a machine is so FUCKING offputting. It's like a man and a woman trying to have sex by having the man hold a dildo and the woman hold a fleshlight, and then they put the former inside the latter for about a half-hour. Like, I'm watching it, and I'm all, "But why would you even DO that? Who can be satisfied by this? Wouldn't you be better off just hugging or something?"
posted by Greg Nog at 6:21 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


OH, AND THE ARTICLE'S ACCEPTANCE OF ALL-CAPS AS THE DEFAULT STATE FOR COMIC LETTERING IS RIDICULOUS MARVEL/DC-SUBLITERATE NORMATIVITY AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, BUT THAT'S A PET PEEVE FOR ANOTHER DAY, 'CAUSE I HAVE TO GO RESCUE GWEN STACY FROM THE CLUTCHES OF PROMETHEUS!!!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:24 AM on April 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


If you use the letter "I" with crossbars within a word, many people hate you. (I learned the hard way) The capital "I" with the crossbars is reserved for the personal pronoun only.

I thought the rule in comic letttering is you use "I" with crossbars if there would still be a capital "I" if it weren't written in all caps (e.g. the pronoun "I" or the name "Ike"). If there would be a lowercase "i," you use the straight vertical line "I."
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:29 AM on April 2, 2010


Comic Sans is the Sarah Palin of fonts.

For so many reasons.
posted by grubi at 6:44 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Comic Sans would be an incompetent President. Sarah Palin would be malcompetent. There's a difference.
posted by DU at 6:51 AM on April 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Stickboy creator Dennis Worden said something like, "the entire comix industry could fit inside a lunchbox".
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:57 AM on April 2, 2010


Good link! Honestly, I expected something a little more lowbrow and more like those hastily thrown-together top ten lists you see all around the web, but I was pleasantly surprised. Those were detailed and well thought-out reasons for avoiding Comic Sans, and were mostly new to me.
posted by Vorteks at 7:02 AM on April 2, 2010


MetaFilter: needs breath marks
posted by bwg at 7:03 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's like a man and a woman trying to have sex by having the man hold a dildo and the woman hold a fleshlight, and then they put the former inside the latter for about a half-hour. Like, I'm watching it, and I'm all, "But why would you even DO that? Who can be satisfied by this? Wouldn't you be better off just hugging or something?"

I was just about to say the same thing.

Because the (possible) misuse of fonts is exactly like sexless voyeur porn that happens only in my head. Too.
posted by tigrefacile at 7:16 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting. I never learned the "rule" about serifed/sans-serif capital I explicitly. Never was much of a comics reader either. But in my own handwriting, which is mostly of the subliterate all-caps variety, I basically follow it without thinking. Crossbarred I for the first-person pronoun, sans-serif I in the middle of longer words. (I think I alternate between forms for the initial I in, say, "ink" or "illegibility.")

I do find it makes for greater readability. And when your handwriting is the half-human scrawl I've got, you need all the readability you can get.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:33 AM on April 2, 2010


Comic Book Grammar And Tradition
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yesterday (thanks to some April Fool's Day hijinks) a coworker discovered that using italicized Comic Sans of a certain size inside an HTML Marquee tag causes some trailing pixels to persist on the screen. This allowed me to, in all sincerity, put "Comic Sans is incompatible with the Marquee tag in some cases, and should be avoided" into our coding best practices document.
posted by davejay at 8:07 AM on April 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


The most useful writing I've ever found on Speech Balloons, the Care And Feeding Of, is in these posts by Eddie Campbell. His method of doing the balloons first and composing the art around them really transformed the way I think about lettering.

What Campbell's saying makes sense if you're the artist and the letterer and you're working on paper. I was a little surprised when I found that my frequent drawerer draws everything (regardless of whether it'll be covered up by a balloon) until I realized that he's moving the balloons around all the time before the book is actually finished, which is the prerogative of artists who work digitally.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:16 AM on April 2, 2010


8. helvetica is the perfect font for any use in any context at any time.
posted by the aloha at 8:17 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not for lettering comics it isn't.
posted by Artw at 8:42 AM on April 2, 2010


...I should explain more: It looks way too sterile and machinelike. When I've seen it used for lettering, particularly dialogue, the effect is rather jarring. Turns out that hand lettering, or the appearance of hand lettering, is part of what comics work.

BTW There's an interesting talk here, by Kevin Larson of the Microsoft fonts team, on the use and legibility of various kinds of fonts, including the way interacts with word recognition.
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on April 2, 2010


You will instantly look unprofessional

Heh. Y'know, I like Comic Sans. But I can't decide what I like more - The friendly, unassuming look-and-feel of it... Or the fact that it sends pretentious graphic designers into apoplectic fits. ;)

Anything that pisses off the sort of people who pretend to care about fonts (within reason) immediately goes to the top of my list of things to do. And yes, I do like my coffee black and lacking in Italian adjectives.


This is Comic Sans but I pushed the kerning so it was obvious to a non-letterer

Aka, if you turn it into a caricature of itself, it looks silly. Deep. So by that reasoning, all those racist "political" cartoons portraying Obama as a monkey somehow prove his (recent, not Darwinian) simian ancestry?


For example, Comic Sans is missing breath marks

Let's see... Total number of fonts installed on my computer that contain breath marks... Zero.


If you use the letter "I" with crossbars within a word, many people hate you

Well, yes and no. In normal text, we don't use all caps - In fact, online, we tend to aggressively discourage the use of all caps. Comics, however, tend to get a pass on this, but can't avoid the fact that I-with-crossbars takes up 3x more horizontal space than the minuscule. Obvious solution? Perhaps comics should lose the "EVERY... WORD... LOOKS... SO... EXCITING!!1!1!" angle and just write normally.


Lettering is the one thing that people will stare directly at as they read your comic. Making it blend to your art is important. A badly chosen font will distract people from your work and story

I would call this the sole valid point in TFA - To a degree. If you swapped Morpheus' text style with Delerium's, it would just look silly. But whether the letters themselves have one pixel's worth of "uneven kerning? Get over yourself.
posted by pla at 9:16 AM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Total number of fonts installed on my computer that contain breath marks... Zero.

That would certainly be different if you were proffesional comics letterer, or interested in lettering up to that standard, and so had invest in a comics lettering font.
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on April 2, 2010


How to do lettering very, very wrongly
posted by Artw at 9:20 AM on April 2, 2010


Oh, and that even links to the history of the breath mark, which I was just looking for.
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on April 2, 2010


Anything that pisses off the sort of people who pretend to care about fonts (within reason) immediately goes to the top of my list of things to do.

Repeated for irony.
posted by applemeat at 9:25 AM on April 2, 2010


Anything that pisses off the sort of people who pretend to care about fonts (within reason) immediately goes to the top of my list of things to do.

Who does this? Nobody does this. I never had a single design student, even the most bitter, sarcastic, even depressed ones, who would use Comic Sans after my Comic Sans Lecture.

Now Papyrus, they would still use like crazy. It has this white-man's-burden effect of "this font exactly represents every culture that is foreign to me" that really resonates with the new age crowd.

I agree that comics aren't the best arena in which to bash Comic Sans. The breath marks comment made me wonder why on earth somebody is using breath marks...that would be inside the bubble, right? Not sure when I last saw that. Peanuts maybe?

But whether the letters themselves have one pixel's worth of "uneven kerning? Get over yourself.

Who said one pixel? It's proportional...

To be more realistic about it, if you want to wear big-boy pants and make comics, you just can't use Comic Sans. If you want to make a real gesture like "screw all of you because I hate what you like" then you'd probably want to pick a team that isn't full of other people who just don't give a care.
posted by circular at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2010


Thank god a "letterer" has deigned to offer some advice to the vulgar cartoonists of the world. Otherwise, how would they know that their cartoons look like ass?
posted by koeselitz at 9:35 AM on April 2, 2010


It's like the number 1 rookie movie in self published comics... I see it all the time.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on April 2, 2010


Don't Name Your Comic Book Character "CLINT"
posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on April 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


And for all of you letterers out there, I'm going to insist on using Comic Sans at every opportunity, in every circumstance I possibly can, just to piss you off. I hope you're fucking pleased with yourselves.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 AM on April 2, 2010


Comic Sans is based on Watchmen. Why do you hate Alan Moore?

Heh.

I apologise in advance for asking Gibbons what he thinks of Comic Sans, a Microsoft typeface partly derived from his Watchmen lettering. It was only intended for Microsoft's cartoon dog, Rover. However, as a free Windows 95 font, it has been used everywhere from product packaging to vehicles to official notices. It's the only thing that, temporarily, clouds his blokey geniality.

"It's just a shame they couldn't have used just the original font, because it's a real mess. I think it's a particularly ugly letter form," he says. "The other thing that really bugs me that they've used an upper case I with bars on it: it looks completely wrong to the comic eye. And when you see store fronts done in it, it's horrible.

"There are people who specialise in lettering, and I've had my hand lettering made into a digital font. I picked up a copy of the Dandy the other week, and I was amazed to see that it was completely lettered in my hand-lettering font. It was quite a thrill, really, having been a Dandy reader years and years ago."

posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


circular : I never had a single design student, even the most bitter, sarcastic, even depressed ones, who would use Comic Sans after my Comic Sans Lecture.

Except, you've just nicely illustrated the entire problem here - You actually need to go out of your way to teach people - and from context, artistically-inclined people at that - to dislike Comic Sans. It has so much inherently wrong with it that even folks with an eye for aesthetics will chose to use it until an expert patiently explains the error of their ways to them?

If that alone doesn't make you go "hmmm", nothing I can say will.


And for the hyperbole-impaired (so far, all four responders since my post), I don't seriously plan to go out of my way to use Comic Sans. I merely wished to express my contempt for those who froth at the mouth over its use.
posted by pla at 9:52 AM on April 2, 2010


And for the hyperbole-impaired (so far, all four responders since my post), I don't seriously plan to go out of my way to use Comic Sans. I merely wished to express my contempt for those who froth at the mouth over its use.

Again, repeated for irony.
posted by applemeat at 9:59 AM on April 2, 2010


Comic Sans is based on Watchmen.

From great good can come great evil...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:03 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not for lettering comics it isn't.

i once watched a documentary about helvetica. so there.
posted by the aloha at 10:05 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You actually need to go out of your way to teach people - and from context, artistically-inclined people at that - to dislike Comic Sans. - pla

In the context of first-year design students, we are probably talking largely about people whose previous formal training is next to nil.

* * * * *

A large part of learning to be a visual artist is learning how to see. Learning how to turn off the filters in your brain that replace most things with vague symbols of them, and actually see the world. To see a car, your hand, a newspaper, free of the context of "car" or "hand" or "newspaper" and instead see an arrangement of metal shapes, a conglomeration of bone and muscle wrapped in flesh, or ink on paper.

And once you start to learn to see free of symbols, you start to see things. To see how you can draw that car by starting with a couple of loose boxes that you carve into a particular car, instead of starting with an immensely detailed drawing of the wheel that turns out to be way too big to fit the car on your paper. To see how the different areas of small text, large text, and photos on that newspaper create a visual balance.

And when you apply that sort of vision to individual letterforms, you start to feel that some fonts are beautiful, and some are not.

To an untrained eye, with only a dozen fonts to choose from on their stock Windows install, Comic Sans leaps out as "playful" and "informal". And, for that matter, "bold". It's the closest to handwriting most people will have (and who's going to have enough confidence in their lettering to grab a piece of paper and a marker, now that most of us have hideous penmanship due to typing everything from the age of three?).

But to a trained eye, that's learnt to see the raw shapes bereft of meaning… Comic Sans is pretty ugly.

* * * * *

So yeah. You have to teach new kids not to use Comic Sans. You also have to teach them how to leave white space to let their layouts breathe, you have to teach them how to think about the whole page rather than one detail at a time, you have to teach them all kinds of principles of composition and drawing. That's what they're in school for.

posted by egypturnash at 10:17 AM on April 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


applemeat : Again, repeated for irony.

"I do not think that word means what you think it means."

Unless, of course, you consider it somehow surprising that Group X expressing distaste for (popular) Concept Y will in turn lead to people defending Concept Y and even reflecting that distaste back on Group X.

Or put more simply:

"I don't like broccoli, and consider anyone who does, a moron"
"Well I do like broccoli, and consider you a moron"


egypturnash : But to a trained eye, that's learnt to see the raw shapes bereft of meaning

Which doesn't include your audience. Thus the whole problem.

Yeah, a master chef might appreciate the delicate and subtle flavors arising as the end result of four hours of his time slaving away in a kitchen - And just hearing him use those words tells me "I'll want to add a LOT of salt to this".
posted by pla at 10:33 AM on April 2, 2010


... which is why design school is pretty much a waste of time.
posted by koeselitz at 10:33 AM on April 2, 2010


*shrug* Most people can tell, I think, that something badly-designed is badly-designed. But they don't have the vocabulary and eye to explain why. And since they haven't tuned their senses as finely as someone who loves solving visual problems has, it doesn't bug them as much.

What are you specialized in? How frustrating is it when someone who doesn't appreciate any of the difficulties of your craft just craps out a horrible, amateurish, aesthetically-displeasing example of it? What subtle judgements are you trained to make that some naïve schlub like myself would completely miss - but might pick up on in some vague form they can't articulate?
posted by egypturnash at 10:41 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And just hearing him use those words tells me "I'll want to add a LOT of salt to this".

So basically you're just kind of a self-destructive ass?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:55 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're talking about art, then you can't ignore how people receive it. If it's popular, then it has some kind of aesthetic merit. It may not be your or my cup of tea. It may not appeal to educated critics or people who have training, but it has aesthetic appeal.

Only a camera can "see the raw shapes bereft of meaning", a human being can't. The eye receives the light, but the brain sees the image. Comic sans resonates with people despite its technical flaws. It is also good at what it does - it is legible at small sizes and conveys a handwritten feel. It may have technical flaws, but to weigh those more heavily than its benefits is not a question of absolute truth, it's a matter of taste.

To take a couple of examples. The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat doesn't sound particularly well-produced. The engineer thought it was garbage and walked out on the recording. Now it's lauded as a great record. Comic sans is maybe more like the Black Eyed Peas - wildly successful despite critical disdain. It may lack elegance, but it gets the job done and many people love it.

It just works. It's not a crime against nature.
posted by factory123 at 11:08 AM on April 2, 2010


Yeah, a master chef might appreciate the delicate and subtle flavors arising as the end result of four hours of his time slaving away in a kitchen - And just hearing him use those words tells me "I'll want to add a LOT of salt to this".

This is why you can't have nice foods. Or fonts.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:18 AM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If it gets a job done that job is not lettering comics. It looks like ass when used for that, please don't do it.
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on April 2, 2010


So basically you're just kind of a self-destructive ass?

No, he's a contrary self-destructive ass.

Comic Sans is almost an allegory for Microsoft Windows itself. As it turns out, when something is "good enough" and becomes widespread, it has a tendency to crowd out "great." There are other, better "comic" fonts, but this one was made available for free, and nothing short of MS pre-loading a different, better "comic" font will make people stop using Comic Sans.

Comic Sans is pretty terrible, and it's the sort of "genie out of the bottle" that is impossible to undo. Why do we make fun of it, when so many people "don't get it"? It's not because we're snobs, it's because a lot of people just lack taste or professionalism. You see Comic Sans in people's e-mails, for crying out loud! At the very least, I would think we'd all agree that the "fun" font doesn't belong in company e-mail (nor pastel colors and flowers, etc. for that matter), but there it is!

There's a time and place for everything, and the place for Comic Sans was specifically for on-screen text. It was never meant to be used in print, for certain. When something becomes so misused, sometimes it's just better to abandon it completely.

Dragging people toward taste is an uphill battle where they cry, scream and kick. You see this with everything from food ("a burger is a burger!") to beer ("I'll drink anything as long as it gets me drunk!") to coffee ("caffeine delivery system"). When did everything need to become utilitarian? Why can't we enjoy things and have standards without being called snobs? For that matter, when did "elite" become a dirty word?
posted by explosion at 11:20 AM on April 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Don't Name Your Comic Book Character "CLINT

Are you kidding? After reading those, I feel compelled to write a Captain America parody where Cap's civie name is Clint Flicker.
posted by Decimask at 11:31 AM on April 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


egypturnash : What subtle judgements are you trained to make that some naïve schlub like myself would completely miss - but might pick up on in some vague form they can't articulate?

I write code. I personally consider my code a form of art. I don't, however, expect anyone to notice that, nor do I expect most second-hand code I see to come anywhere near the beauty of what I would have written in its place (though occasionally I will find a rare gem and just drool over it for hours). For the most part, I breathe a sigh of relief if a section of code I inherit merely works.

So comparably - I have no problem if you don't personally like Comic Sans. I only get bristly when I see yet another diatribe against what I consider a font that "merely works".

I can only presume that Comic Sans occupies the "wrong" part of the uncanny valley of fonts - It comes close enough to "nice" to tease those with an eye for such things, yet not close enough to just use it and call it good.

That said, perhaps the real point of contention here involves no so much the merits of the font itself, as the context of its use. In a hand-lettered comic, no, I probably wouldn't expect to see Comic Sans, and it may well stand out as distracting from the work. But on a sign by the office coffee-pot, or a personal web page, or yes, even a webcomic? As effugas pointed out, on a stock Windows box it counts as the only choice that has even a hint of softness to it, and it does stay clean even at low font sizes.


Artw : If it gets a job done that job is not lettering comics. It looks like ass when used for that, please don't do it.

It looks a hell of a lot better than Times New Roman or Courier New for comics. And this issue really does come down to that. Unless scanning in hand-drawn work, you have to use some font. Name a font likely to exist on most machines (aka "stock Windows fonts") that would look better.


explosion : Dragging people toward taste is an uphill battle where they cry, scream and kick.

Because in many contexts, it amounts to asking them to spend considerable time and effort learning to dislike the vast majority of what they will get.

You mentioned beer, a subject on which I would call myself something of an elitist. But y'know, many times at various social events, I have sorely regretted the fact that I would rather drink camel piss than Coors Light, because no one stocks the fridge with four+ dollar a pint artisanal brews (except me - And then, no one drank them! Not that I minded doing so myself, but I couldn't fit food in the fridge for almost a month).

Do I get that much more enjoyment out of microbrews? Not really - Bud drinkers appear to enjoy their libations every bit as much as I do. I just can't palate the low end, anymore. Net loss to me. So, in hindsight, why the hell would I have spent so much time (and money!) learning to appreciate something that brings me no more, and arguably less, happiness?
posted by pla at 11:42 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


FWIW, pla, I thought Comic Sans looked like giant ugly ass long before anyone else told me to think so. I'm not sure why you keep framing decent objective aesthetics as, like, a cruel handicap forced upon innocent bystanders.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:46 AM on April 2, 2010


shakespeherian : FWIW, pla, I thought Comic Sans looked like giant ugly ass long before anyone else told me to think so.

And I respect that as your opinion. However...

I'm not sure why you keep framing decent objective aesthetics as, like, a cruel handicap forced upon innocent bystanders.

Because most people don't share that opinion - As proven by its over-use, as proven by the need to teach people how much it sucks, as proven by how much hate (on both sides of the battle) it generates. As proven by its continued non-replacement by something better after 15 years of ubiquity.

People don't over-use colonoscopies. You don't need to teach them not to rub sand in their eyes. No one goes off on long diatribes against (or in support of) mowing the lawn with pinking shears. And, who tightens a drawer-pull with a butter-knife when they have a screwdriver in their pocket?

Most people just consider it "good enough".
posted by pla at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2010


I write code. I personally consider my code a form of art. I don't, however, expect anyone to notice that…

No argument here on code as art. I'm a programmer on and off myself; I even see a certain sort of similarity between programming and animation - you can spend hours slaving over something that goes by in a fraction of a second, that nobody notices when it works right except a tiny segment of other people in your craft, but everyone sees when it goes wrong.

So… let me try a programming analogy, then.

Comic Sans is to people who care passionately about visual things as Visual Basic is to people who care passionately about programming.

Sure, they both get the job done, they can even have a certain rough-and-ready appeal in that they're the first half-assed tool that comes to hand, there can even be rare places where they are exactly the right tool for the job - but nobody's ever going to call them "elegant". Ain't nobody ever gonna wax rhapsodic about the joys of coding in VB the way they do about Ruby or Python or Haskell or Lisp.

And yet how many ugly VB hacks persist because they're "good enough"?
posted by egypturnash at 12:57 PM on April 2, 2010


It looks a hell of a lot better than Times New Roman or Courier New for comics. And this issue really does come down to that. Unless scanning in hand-drawn work, you have to use some font. Name a font likely to exist on most machines (aka "stock Windows fonts") that would look better.

No, there isn't a stock windows font that is any good for lettering comics. You're going to have to buy something or download a free font like Anime Ace. If you are going to the effort of making something and sharing it with people it's worth the effort.

There isn't really a stock windows program suitable for creating or lettering comics either, so I don't really see this as unreasonable.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on April 2, 2010


I really have no problem with teaching design professionals why Comic Sans is bad, and for it to be avoided generally in professional design work (say, a store or company logo). I have no problem with design-conscious anyone having distaste for it.

But I just can't see what's wrong with it when it's used "correctly" -- for example, some of the bancomicsans movie's examples are casual signs in stores like "please pick up order here". Seems like a perfectly suited typeface for that, and indeed a wide range of similar uses. I wouldn't even object to it on the odd menu (for casual dining, anyway). It's notably readable at small sizes and when it is that small I don't think it's noticeable as a fake hand-drawn font so much as a sans with a loose feel.

As to the objectionable kerning issues, has anyone ever tried to fix what they don't like about the typeface as distributed?
posted by dhartung at 1:25 PM on April 2, 2010


!
posted by applemeat at 3:15 PM on April 2, 2010


> To be more realistic about it, if you want to wear big-boy pants and make comics,

you want something that never was, is not, and never will be.
posted by jfuller at 3:39 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't you be better off just hugging or something?"
posted by Greg Nog at 6:21 AM on April 2


... or just buy the t-shirt !!
posted by infini at 3:53 PM on April 2, 2010


WOW you are all nerds!

(I only say this because it's something everyone says about me, and I almost never get to say it about anyone else.)

I do not understand how someone can manage such rage about something so insignificant as a typeface. Oh, no! How dare you inflict your webcomic on me with its stock typeface instead of some specialized webcomic text generating software? Good God, if I ever wanted to do anything fun and put it up on the web, I don't anymore.
posted by Xezlec at 8:48 PM on April 2, 2010


I'm sorry if my suggestion that people might like to try to be vaguely competent offends you.
posted by Artw at 10:20 PM on April 2, 2010


Also I'm pretty sure that none of you guys that are so pissed at this advice have created a comic, lettered a comic or intends doing anything of the sort, and likewise none of you know anything about comics lettering, so I really don't know why you've got such a stake in being so pissy and dismissive.
posted by Artw at 10:26 PM on April 2, 2010


Pogo used different typefaces for different characters to great effect.
I say it's OK to use Comic Sans in your comic, as long it's for when it's a simple/stupid person talking.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:47 PM on April 2, 2010


If Metafilter did April Fools day pranks, a good one would be a stylesheet that makes the default font comic sans.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:43 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


More comics fonts than you can shake a stick at.
posted by Artw at 7:28 AM on April 3, 2010


So, pla, what I'm getting from your comments is that Comic Sans is your ironic trucker's cap?
posted by ErikaB at 10:29 AM on April 3, 2010


I'm sorry if my suggestion that people might like to try to be vaguely competent offends you.

You? It wasn't directed at you personally. It's more the "many people will hate you" stuff that bugs me. I don't have a webcomic, but I did used to have a couple of web pages, and I've worked with friends on a couple of other things online, and I guess it's the general obsessive-compulsive hating on everything on the internet that isn't "just so" that I find weird. C'mon, it's the internet. Can't I wear jeans and a T-shirt here, of all places?
posted by Xezlec at 1:09 PM on April 3, 2010


Comic Sans isn't jeans and a T-shirt.

Comic Sans is jeans, a large, ill-fitting Tweety-bird T-shirt, and a shopping bag full of Precious Moments figurines.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:33 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why the hell do people need fonts for comics? I don't get it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:38 PM on April 4, 2010


Agreed. In the case of Walt Kelly's Pogo, he did the lettering by hand.
And oh man, it was beautiful.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:50 PM on April 4, 2010


Jesus, this is exactly the attitude that I'm perplexed by. Like, if something this invisible to me is so profoundly, earth-shakingly awful to so many people, what other aspects of me that I don't even notice might also be blood-curdlingly offensive?
posted by Xezlec at 10:37 AM on April 5, 2010


Your use of "like?"
posted by applemeat at 10:39 AM on April 5, 2010


Lettering - The Hidden Art?
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on April 5, 2010


Your use of "like?"

Clearly, I'm a fish out of water on Metafilter. I guess that explains it.
posted by Xezlec at 6:19 PM on April 5, 2010


Why the hell do people need fonts for comics? I don't get it.

Agreed. In the case of Walt Kelly's Pogo, he did the lettering by hand.
And oh man, it was beautiful.


Hand lettering comics - a pretty labour intensive activity.
posted by Artw at 8:37 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lettering dos and don'ts - a little harsh on the computer lettering there though, it doesn't have to look that harsh and mechanical.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on April 23, 2010


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