Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fonts: The Bad

My very favorite part of any layout or design is the typography!  I spend a lot of time choosing the font that is just right for the project I'm working on.  Fonts set the tone for what you’re trying to convey.  I’ve even been guilty of basing an entire design around a font-despite the fact that some people consider that a design sin.
All that said, there are some fonts that make me cringe.  Fonts that I would never use under any circumstances-except for a blog about fonts I dislike.  They are the nails on the chalkboard of typography.  And now brace yourself for............Comic Sans, Rage Italics and Algerian.

Comic sans is not one of the worst fonts of all time.  It is THE worst.  It was originally created as a “child-oriented” the fact that Cleveland Cavilers owner Dan Gilbert used this font in a public letter regarding LeBron James’s decision to leave the team is either stupidly appalling or evil genius.  I’m not the only designer who feels this way.  Others have banded together and formed entire organizations whose sole goal is to ban Comic Sans.  You can see one here, some "ban comic sans" merchandise here and the Facebook group page here.  

Bottom line: Unless your printer uses crayons, you’re a comic book designer or you are writing a public letter about LeBron James’s decision to leave your professional basketball team, do not use Comic Sans.  

Rage Italic.....first of all, why is it called that?  Everyone knows what a rage is and....oh wait.  All these years I have been reading "rage" but saying “rave” in my head.  Ha! still doesn’t make sense.  Does having road rage make you desire to write a strongly-worded letter to the person who just cut you off in a casual brush style script that is accented with a rough, textured edge?  I didn’t think so.  This font may have been ok in the beginning of it's creation but since it’s now been around 26 years (yes, more years than I have been around) the font is spent.  This font is supposed to have the look of true handwriting.  Word of warning:  This font’s evil step sisters are Mistral and Brush Script MT.

Bottom line:  If you want the look of true handwriting, write the thing yourself.

And finally, Algerian.  This one is not so much a pet peeve of mine as it is to my friend Amy-though it's not on my favorite list.  Amy is the editor of the magazine at work and also puts together a huge book of associates each year.  She knows her stuff and she hates Algerian.  Personally I think this is because this font is widely overused.  Algerian was originally created to embellish any work with a Victorian feel.  What actually happened was this font being used everywhere.  Restaurants, movie credits, advertisements, etc.  To see more of what I'm talking about click here or here.  The hatred of this font runs deep throughout the web.  Maybe more so than for Comic Sans.  

Bottom Line:  The Victorian era is over.  Algerian should be used in moderation....much like petticoats and corsets.


  1. Can you use comic sans if you are/were a kindergarten teacher?! That used to be my favorite font :)

  2. Oh sure! That's definitely child-oriented. In my opinion, that's who it was designed for. I'm sure they all loved it!