I have a confession to make: I like Comic Sans. I know in design circles this will be seen as heresy but I want to explain why this much maligned font can have a valuable role to play.
Comic Sans has been hated pretty much since its inception. It’s a cursive font that can be described as difficult to read, unprofessional, tacky and a host of other less than pleasant terms. When it appears on posters or letterheads it screams “the designer lost this fight” or “I’m trying very hard to be fun when I’m not”.
These qualities that make it – and its brethren – such valuable tools.
“Let’s use your hand-drawn sketch on our website”
My early sketches for wireframes and layouts are usually done on paper. These visual notes are done by hand with my slightly dodgy handwriting. No one expects my client to say, “wow, let’s do that exactly as you’ve drawn it”. The same applies as we hit the screens. When I’m building up designs in Balsamiq or Sketch or Designer my initial versions are about getting the right bits in the right place. I want the focus to be on structure – function not form.
This is where I use Comic Sans.
Comic-sans = please ignore the words
When I want my client to focus away from the detail and onto the bigger picture I reach for the cursive fonts. It makes it easier to concentrate on the real decisions because it looks like I’ve drawn the designs by hand. Perhaps as importantly it also stops me from getting wedded to whatever I’ve come up with because I know it’s going to have to be tweaked at best, reworked most likely.
So let’s all give Comic Sans a bit of a break. Sure, it doesn’t belong on a letterhead or in a company report, but it does have its uses in helping us get out of the blocks in our race to the final design.