Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Font of Goodness

This makes my rebellious little heart almost giddy with happiness. Hating Comic Sans is Ableist. Now before I go on I have to say that I hate the word "ableist". I hate pretty much any recently coined word that ends in "ist". But I won't get any further into that now. I have never had any strong feelings about Comic Sans one way or the other. It's just a font; it's kind of cute, informal, probably shouldn't be used for resumes or term papers but if you did I don't think it would be a deadly sin or anything like that.

Look, I can understand people having font preferences and dislikes and that they might differ from mine. But I will never understand the amount of energy some people waste on hating Comic Sans. I mean, it's not that it's difficult to read, the only legitimate reason for hating a font; people just hate it for no good reason - because it's casual, I guess. But whatever the reason, the way people express their dislike for it is just too over-the-top. Come on, people; there are many things in the world more worthy of all that hate, if you must hate.

Now, here is an excellent reason to demand tolerance for comic sans.

The day my sister, Jessica, discovered Comic Sans, her entire world changed. She’s dyslexic and struggled through school until she was finally diagnosed in her early twenties, enabling her to build up a personal set of tools for navigating the written world.

“For me, being able to use Comic Sans is similar to a mobility aid, or a visual aid, or a hearing aid,” she tells me while we’re both visiting our family in Maryland. “I have other ways of writing and reading, but they’re not like they are for someone who’s not dyslexic.”

The irregular shapes of the letters in Comic Sans allow her to focus on the individual parts of words. While many fonts use repeated shapes to create different letters, such as a “p” rotated to made a “q,” Comic Sans uses few repeated shapes, creating distinct letters (although it does have a mirrored “b” and “d”). Comic Sans is one of a few typefaces recommended by influential organizations like the British Dyslexia Association and the Dyslexia Association of Ireland. Using Comic Sans has made it possible for Jessica to complete a rigorous program in marine zoology at Bangor University in Wales.

As the article notes, there are other fonts designed for dyslexics but some still find Comic Sans the easiest to read and I think people, disabled or not, should be allowed to choose what makes their lives easier without ridicule from self-appointed guardians of good taste. Okay, I have to admit, I lean toward being a guardian of good taste myself in some ways like, for example, if your bra straps are showing and it's obviously not an accident I definitely think badly of you but I'm not going start a website devoted to outrage over exposed bra straps. It's all about the amount of energy you put into hating relatively unimportant things. Comic Sans might be a serious irritant to some people but it's not up there with bigotry, poverty, and a whole long list of actual problems. So, Comic Sans? Just get over it, people. It's only a font.


  1. My hunch is that much of the hatred of Comic Sans is meant to be a status marker. People who don't know much at all about design are attempting to signal the idea that they're at least one step above the flyer-printing masses--that they're closer to web-savvy designers than they are to grandma who's still on AOL. It's silly...although I find it delightful to learn that this typeface comes in handy for people with reading disorders.