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Typography in Web Design (And a Short Tale of Comic Sans)

Typography in Web Design (And a Short Tale of Comic Sans) post images
Image courtesy of Alexander Andrews

Written By : Sam Moffatt

Posted 10/08/2022

There once was a typeface called Comic Sans. It was ridiculed as the ugliest font that ever lived. But how did this unassuming child-like script wind up being so reviled?

The story of Comic Sans highlights the importance of choosing the right typography in web design and other design disciplines. Because fonts, like all other facets of design, evoke certain thoughts and emotions. As a web design agency that puts a lot of consideration into font choice, we thought we’d share the illuminating story about the most loathed typeface in graphic design history…

The rise and fall of Comic Sans

Originally designed for Microsoft Bob by Vincent Connare in 1995, this typeface had a very specific user in mind – children. The user-friendly software featured a cartoon dog on its interface, with message balloons that had Times New Roman text. Seeing the unsuitability of the formal font, Connare came up with Comic Sans.

While Microsoft Bob died a quick death after launch, Comic Sans gained popularity, often seen as the ‘fun’ font. It was used by office workers creating bake sale posters, used in comic books, as well as homemade birthday cards and leaflets. Rather unprofessionally, it was used on people’s business cards, and even made it onto the Wall Street Journal one time!

Overuse (and inappropriate use) of the font meant that it was quickly very polarising. This led to Comic Sans being mocked by designers and others in the creative industry, and later spurred on the ‘Ban Comic Sans Manifesto’ (yes, that was a real thing).

Unsophisticated, basic and juvenile, Comic Sans became the poster child for amateur design, and it’s still very much disliked and ridiculed today.

Why typeface matters

The demise of Comic Sans tells us a lot about the connotations linked with different fonts (and the importance of using the right one for your project). Typography in web design matters – and what you choose for your website can impact how customers feel about your brand.

Vincent Connare’s sans serif script didn’t get a bad rap because it was poorly designed. For Microsoft Bob’s talking dog, it was perfect – and most importantly, it was suitable for its intended audience. But because the font was used by so many people (including professionals and organisations) and for all the wrong reasons, it provoked mass condemnation. So we could conclude that it was all just a very big misunderstanding.

The moral of the story is that the right font can elevate your website and brand identity, while the wrong font can make you appear cheap, inexperienced or unprofessional.

Need help with your website?

We are a digital marketing and web design agency offering both app and website design services in Yorkshire. We eat, sleep and breathe all things digital – and can talk for hours about typography in web design!

If you’re looking for website design in Wakefield, web design in Leeds, or the rest of the Yorkshire area, get in touch with Identify Digital today. Call 01924 911333 or fill in our online enquiry form.

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