Hello Higgs Boson, Farewell Comic Sans

You may have heard yesterday that some scientists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider/Super Armageddon Black Hole Generating Doomsday Device proved the existence of something called a Higgs boson, which from my understanding lends mass to particles, although not in the way McDonalds lends mass to people through it’s delicious/abhorrent range of products (I’m a damning indictment of educational physics at GCSE level). All you need to know is that some people are calling it the ‘God particle’, which sounds pretty important and probably means we should stop relying on repeats of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for our science knowledge and actually read up on it.

Being the cultured kind of guy I am, I rushed home from work last night to do a bit of research so I could bore everyone I know with facts about just why Higgs will change the world as we understand it and look really intelligent at the same time. Unfortunately, all I got was a lot of stuff about the Bono of the font world, Comic Sans.

It turns out that in the grand order of things, major scientific breakthroughs rank just below typographical faux pas as the internet decided to go crazy over the fact CERN’s scientists presented their ground-breaking findings in Comic Sans, just as people in the 60s probably went mad because of the shoddy camerawork involved in the Moon Landings (they didn’t). I couldn’t believe that the biggest scientific leap forward since that time we all thought time travel might be possible was actually being overshadowed by a sheer hatred of Comic Sans, so I used the ultra-scientific method of searching ‘Higgs Boson’ and ‘Comic Sans’ on Google News and comparing the amount of articles on each. For Higgs boson? 4769 articles. Comic Sans? 4778. A WHOLE NINE MORE (note: this has probably changed since this post was published)!

Apparently even being insanely busy trying to unravel the tapestry of existence doesn’t excuse you from not being up-to-scratch on basic font dos-and-dont’s which got me to thinking: if the world’s greatest minds aren’t allowed to use Comic Sans, then what chance is there for the rest of us? Did science, whilst proving the existence of the Higgs boson, accidentally disprove Comic Sans forever?

I can report that Comic Sans does still exist (I know, I checked) and hasn’t fallen into some space-time wormhole, but it does bear the question of where next for the most hated font in the world. The graphic design world shunned Comic Sans long ago in favour of more smug fonts like Helvetica (what kind of font has its own film?), and it’s fair to say that any design coming out of Fluid anytime soon definitely won’t feature Comic Sans on it. In a professional context, Comic Sans has been dead and buried for a long time.

Even outside of a professional context, hatred of Comic Sans has gone mainstream and it seems like not even a child could use the font without being subjected to disapproving threads on forums and serious news outlets like The Guardian questioning their typographical choices.

What use is Comic Sans then? Well, it’s obviously great for kids as it reminds them of comic books and has a sense of wide-eyed naivety that makes whatever random keys they’ve mashed look cute. It’s like the garish ‘painting of Daddy where he has five arms and is 40ft tall that goes up on the fridge’ of typography. The day a child doesn’t use Comic Sans as default and upgrades to Times New Roman is the day you can start lamenting on how ‘they grow up so quickly’.

It’s very easy to read too, which I suppose isn’t that much to brag about for a font but you know, it’s more than Jokerman can say. It’s one of the preferred fonts for people with dyslexia because of this, but it appears that some dyslexics aren’t too keen on it either. Still, I don’t see Helvetica helping people in that way. Too busy making films or something.

I suppose it’s good for people who work with kids and need to inject a sense of ‘fun’ (fun in a ‘tie round the head at the work party because I’m wacky’ sense rather than literal fun) into their work. It definitely looks like something The Chuckle Brothers would use to pitch their latest escapades to the bigwigs at CBBC.

Erm…it’s not Snap ITC? Okay, I’m struggling now. Have you got any ideas for where Comic Sans can fit in modern day society, or has CERN proton smashed the final nail into the coffin of the font that not many people would be sorry to see go? In the meantime, here’s our site in Comic Sans purely to induce nightmares in our graphic and web design teams.

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  • Written by on 5th July 2012 at 15:10
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