The Comic Sans Song

by John Holbo on June 14, 2012

Zoe picked Comic Sans for her school report on tigers. I explained to her that many people would take issue with the selection of this font for body text in a long document, particularly one of an academic nature. Even as display type it is suspect. I explained about Microsoft Bob and that whole sad history. That said, it’s the best font in the world for someone like her, so she shouldn’t worry about it. Used in moderation.



Keith Edwards 06.14.12 at 5:06 am

There are plenty of fun comic book style fonts to be had on the cheap.


John Holbo 06.14.12 at 5:12 am

Yes I’ve got a bunch of those, too, but Zoe picked comic sans.


minnesotaj 06.14.12 at 6:01 am

Couldn’t you, at least, have steered her in direction of Coop Forged? But I think, to parental point… there are many other forms of snobbery to learn to finesse before typographic snobbery will block the road.


John Holbo 06.14.12 at 6:10 am

I told her that if she liked it, it was great for her!


JGru 06.14.12 at 6:12 am


Niall McAuley 06.14.12 at 7:45 am

Could be worse!


Niall McAuley 06.14.12 at 7:46 am

[font face=”papyrus” color=”green”]html joke fail[/font]


Andrew C 06.14.12 at 9:53 am

Could be worse!


Andrew C 06.14.12 at 9:55 am

[span style=’font-family:papyrus,serif;color:green’]CSS Fail[/span]

Curse you blogging software: may your child processes never terminate cleanly and may all your config files be edited with emacs.


Down and Out of Sài Gòn 06.14.12 at 10:34 am

Andrew C: you’re trying to insert what looks like BBCode in a non-BBCode environment. Of course it fails. Look below the text box: “You can use these HTML tags and attributes…”. They’re reduced to a certain subset for a good reason: allowing the full set is just making the site right for abuse. And yep – Papyrus is a bad ‘un as far as font over use is concerned.

One font Zoe may (but probably not) want to use for her next assignment: Essays 1743, which “is based on the typeface used in a 1743 English translation of Montaigne’s Essays.” Nice if you want to typeset like it’s 1699.


Alex 06.14.12 at 11:17 am

What he quotes is valid HTML, just with the angle brackets changed out so it appears rather than being detected as HTML markup and then no-op’d. It’s just that the span.. tag isn’t supported.


Salient 06.14.12 at 2:03 pm

“may your child processes never terminate cleanly” is quite an amphibolically terrifying curse outside the context of software, too.


Matt 06.14.12 at 3:41 pm

What did Zoe have to say about tigers? Is she in favor of them?


Theophylact 06.14.12 at 3:48 pm

Have I been banned for some reason? I tried twice to suggest Nina Paley’s “Nina” font, but my posts vanished into the Bardo.


Theophylact 06.14.12 at 3:59 pm

Well, there does seem to be a problem with posting links today. Anyway, just go to her site, “blog dot ninapaley dot com” and search on “font”. You’ll find it about the fourth hit down.

Don’t miss her other stuff, though; she’s a genius. “Sita Sings the Blues” is a wonder.


John Holbo 06.14.12 at 4:10 pm

“Is she in favor of them?”

Tigers! She likes ’em!

Sorry about lost comments, Theophylact. Don’t know what’s up, but I did really enjoy “Sita”. Zoe liked it, too.


The Raven 06.14.12 at 5:17 pm

You were mentioning aesthetic monoculture? Well…


Antti Nannimus 06.15.12 at 1:06 am


De gustibus non est disputandum. So of course, I’m with Zoe on this one.

Have a nice day!


Spring Texan 06.15.12 at 2:02 am

I *looove* Comic Sans and obviously lots of other folks do too.

But I’ve learned not to use it when it might matter cuz of the snobs.

It’s just a very pleasant font, and unpretentious.

So sue me!


Belle Waring 06.15.12 at 4:15 am

Zoe’s waaay in favor of tigers, and is annoyed at my great-uncle, who has a taxidermied tiger-head rug (you know, skin is a rug but head is in full motherf&*king efizzect) as well as every other creature in the world, all over the walls of his house, all of which he shot himself. I tried once to explain that back then they didn’t know we were running out of tigers and she glared at me and said “we already knew about passenger pigeons and dodo birds and wooly mammoths. That’s stupid.” Ah, OK, but don’t say that in front of Uncle Sonny please, because he is a dear. Also, let’s give the old man some credit for getting close enough to a tiger to shoot it (and this was in the 1950s; he wasn’t pulling any meager Palin helicopter shoots.) I’m pretty sure that once you’re close enough to shoot it properly, it’s close enough to bound over and eat you. Oh man, I’m so in line for some sweet taxidermy if Walker and them don’t want it all. That warthog over the bar is great. The leopard would just make the girls sad, but this is a hypothetical which is, God willing, far in the future. Everyone will want the tiger. Except Zoe.


rf 06.15.12 at 4:31 am

“Ah, OK, but don’t say that in front of Uncle Sonny please, because he is a dear.”

I’ve been there. Just swap Tigers for rabbits with myxomatosis, and Safari hunting uncle Sonny with slightly unhinged uncle Billy..


Antti Nannimus 06.15.12 at 5:10 am


Wait, wait, I thought we we talking about Comic Sans here, and yes, I’m with Zoe on that crisis. However if this debate is actually all about the preservation of the Panthera tigris (Tiger) species , and also preserving Ectopistes migratorius (the Passenger Pigeon), well, okay then, yes, I’m entirely on her side about those controversies too.

Never trust anyone over 30!

Have a nice day,


ajay 06.15.12 at 8:40 am

“That’s not a tigerskin rug, Zoe. It’s a real tiger, lying very still, waiting. And that’s why we don’t let you into the study on your own.”


Jameson Quinn 06.15.12 at 1:46 pm

“Grownups hate that” <- guaranteed winning message with kids.


SusanC 06.16.12 at 8:06 pm

I don’t like Comic Sans either, but some people are so down on it that I feel I ought to defend it.

It’s about choosing the right font for the context. Times Roman looked wrong when used for cartoon characters’ dialogue in Microsoft Bob, which led the creation of Comic Sans. To my eyes, Comic Sans gives an impression of the lettering used in kindergarten classrooms. Often, that isn’t the impression you want to give. But if you’re creating something that really does belong in a classroom — on a wall poster, or as the title font in a kid’s project on tigers — I don’t have a big problem with it. (Though it might be a bit annoying to read for large amounts of body text, even in a kid’s project).

P.S. Myself, when I want a comic lettering font I’d use one of the Blambots fonts, but the effect I’m usually aiming for is the lettering used in manga or on architect’s drawings.

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