The Joy of Comic Sans
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03 July, 2020
To celebrate Comic Sans Day 2020 we take a look at the font and how it has recently found a role in areas of accessibility.
Designers throughout the world have, for many years, decried the font we all love to hate; Comic Sans. Originally created by Vincent Connare it was introduced during 1994 as a default typeface in Windows 95 and was conceived as a cartoony typeface aimed at children.
Since it’s introduction it has been ridiculed and many see it as a font with no place in the Graphic Designer’s arsenal. Countless memes now circulate showing seemingly inappropriate and ill-advised usages.
However more recently the font has seen a new band of supporters as research seems to indicate that many who suffer from dyslexia or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) find it easier to read. The British Dyslexia Association encourages the use of sans serif fonts as the letters will appear less crowded to sufferers, and singles out Comic Sans in it’s style guide as an example of a font that improves readability for many.
This appears to apply to those with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions. Informal studies show that ease of reading, and therefore understanding and comprehension, of complicated material is increased in those with ADHD by the introduction of a sans serif font as opposed to more traditional serif alternative. Comic Sans is suggested as one of the best placed of the sans fonts due to it’s irregular spacing, casual appearance and non-confusing letter shaping. Several sources that address the need for clear communication for those who have a neurodiverse condition list Comic Sans, along with Arial, Verdana and Helvetica, as a recommended font for both print and digital usage.
So maybe we in the Graphics industries have been a little harsh to the much maligned font and it isn’t just for primary school projects and poorly received PowerPoint presentations. As communication tools print and web design need to reach the audience in a way that best delivers our clients message and it turns out that poor old Comic Sans has a place after all.