I have a client who wants to use Comic Sans MS for lots of things on a website I'm doing for him.

How can I explain that comic sans ms is so bad? He's fairly easily persuaded, I think I just need the right arguments.

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    @Emil - Loaded meaning... this is a legitimate question I have. I'm not trying to play devil's advocate or spark an argument or anything. :-) Nov 29, 2011 at 2:30
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    I think WWW.bancomicsans.com might have some additional arguments for you. Nov 29, 2011 at 6:36
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    I feel Comic Sans get bad press. It seems like a lot of designers have jumped on the bangwagon to hate it. I see a lot of bad use of it (saw it the other day on a electric fence warning sign!) but it also has it uses - There is the generalisation it is good for people with dyslexia and obvious applications such as comic books and kiddies stuff. Also makes me think - If so many hate Comic Sans why do so many people use it?
    – Wander
    Nov 29, 2011 at 9:11
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    @captain, it's neither a good face for comic books or 'kiddy' stuff. Kids can read good typography, and there are faces designed for actual comic book lettering. It's used so much mainly because it's ubiquitous. It's on everyone's PC so becomes the default 'fun' typeface. Given a very limited selection fo type, yes, maybe Comic Sans is the best option. But most designers should have access to type options that are more appropriate in most cases.
    – DA01
    Nov 29, 2011 at 15:37
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    I've just asked a similar question over on another SE (sorry I missed this). The answers there (from designers) include references to studies comparing fonts and to design articles explaining the technical failings of the font.
    – dumbledad
    Sep 5, 2014 at 14:37

9 Answers 9


This question probably belongs on Graphic Design.

That said:

Good visual design is about a lot of things, one of them being that it should be appropriate for the particular message one is trying to communicate.

Comic Sans was designed for MS Bob, a failed UI concept of MS's back in the day. It was created to be informal, but legible at low-resolution. MS Bob is dead, and most of us have nice computer screens now.

I'd ask the client what the use of Comic Sans seems to 'say' to them in terms of brand image. Are they hoping for an informal, friendly feel? If so, maybe steer them in the direction of any number of much better designed script faces that are truly designed as hand written. Are they looking for a comic book feel? If so, point out that while Comic Sans is named that, it wasn't designed for comic books, and then steer them in the direction of all the great faces designed specifically for comic book lettering.

If they are hoping for anything other than that, then it's your job to show them why it's an inappropriate choice. Just as you wouldn't choose stock photos of people in sweat pants eating fast food to sell luxury jewelry, you wouldn't use Comic Sans, either.

Given the uniqueness of the face and how much it's used inappropriately, it gives off a very cheap, generic feel to nearly everything its applied to. That's likely not the message your client is hoping to communicate--even if it is a subconscious thing.

In summary, and perhaps a more practical approach: Ask them what they want to communicate to their customers via the use of Comic Sans. You can then find typefaces that better communicate that message and are much less generic that will help the client stand out.

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    Very good and thorough answer DA01! I didn't know that about MS Bob, I'll be sure to mention that to him, as well as the "comic" part of the name. Thanks! Nov 29, 2011 at 2:29
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    +1 The first well balanced answer I have read about this type face. And with suggestions on what to do instead of MS Comic Sans instead instead of "just" deriding it. Nov 29, 2011 at 15:08
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    From a branding/presentation approach I think this is very important to UX as well as graphic design. A designer might tell you why Comic Sans is silly or stupid or ugly, but what's important is how it reflects on your product.
    – Ben Brocka
    Nov 29, 2011 at 15:51
  • I would totally use a photo of some really stereotypical Jersey looking guy in a red jumpsuit eating fast food while wearing a Rolex to sell the Rolex. Like Chris Christie with his left hand raised to his mouth with a 'Jersey Breakfast Dog' and Rolex showing. Typical Rolex quote on top-left.
    – Ryan
    Sep 5, 2014 at 14:55

Comic sans is a good font, if used correctly. It's for comic book situations like below. (usually all CAPS) It's not meant for emails or web page text. My suggestion is to show them the proper use of the font and ask them if they want comic book characters commissioned for the site. Then it will look correct.

Sometimes, trebuchet MS or Tahoma will make them feel better than Arial.

enter image description here

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    It was also meant for and looks great on Microsoft Outlook Notes. Oh, wait...
    – LarsTech
    Nov 29, 2011 at 2:23
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    It wasn't designed for that use, but in a pinch, it's better than nothing. That said, there are hundreds of better comic book lettering faces that were designed specifically for that.
    – DA01
    Nov 29, 2011 at 5:11
  • @DA01: Actually, it was. From Wikipedia:The modern Comic Sans was designed by Vincent Connare and released in 1994 by Microsoft Corporation. It is classified as a casual, non-connecting script, and was designed to imitate the historical look of comic book lettering, for use in informal documents.
    – Glen Lipka
    Dec 1, 2011 at 23:57
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    "Mr. Connare says he pulled out the two comic books he had in his office, "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Watchmen," and got to work, inspired by the lettering and using his mouse to draw on a computer screen. Within a week, he had designed his legacy." -- online.wsj.com/article/SB123992364819927171.html Dec 2, 2011 at 3:45
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    @glen it was inspired by, but not designed for comic book lettering. Yes, perhaps nit-picky, but what are we designers if not nit-picky, right? ;)
    – DA01
    Dec 2, 2011 at 4:58

This page discusses some of the reasons why Comic Sans is so hated, as well as examples and decent alternatives. One of the points discussed is:

Technical and Aesthetic Drawbacks
While many who hate Comic Sans do so just because of its omnipresence, others hate it because of aesthetic and technical drawbacks. Both the kerning and weighting of the font are inconsistent, leading to a haphazard appearance in large swathes of text (or even small ones).

A perfect example of the poor kerning can be seen here, between the "T" and "A": enter image description here

This example is taken from Todd Klein's Blog, where he also goes into great detail on why Comic Sans should not be used.


Comic Sans is sits in a typographic uncanny valley. It is clearly trying to imitate real handwriting, but the uniformity of line weight, repetitive features, and lack of variable glyphs make a a repulsive half-human of a font, a typographic abomination, a vaguely familiar but frightening beast.

Try Offhand Round for a nice alternate with all the features that Comic Sans lacks.


Some dyslexics actually find comic sans easier to read.

Though while I am dyslexic it doesnt work for me - Liberation Sans Narrow does. Uk Dyslexia association link to fonts


Explain to your client that it's all about "perception". Comic Sans has history of being perceived as a "joke" font and any message written in such a font will be taken as a joke. Readers will most likely perceive the message to be playful and lighthearted, which may contradict the actual message.

Every font conveys a message beyond what the sum of each letter and word. Some fonts evoke fear and scariness. Other fonts make documents look official. Others are silly and playful. Make sure your client knows that Comic Sans is too playful and might cause the reader to misinterpret the meaning of message.



Ignore the client and use a better type face. Say something like, "We think this font looks much better than comic sans." If they need more explanation -- "Comic sans looks really dated and is over-used. There are lots of other comic book fonts and handwriting fonts that will look cleaner and more modern." If that doesn't do it, they aren't interested in your opinion.

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    – elemjay19
    Jul 19, 2013 at 15:50

It has to be decided on a client by client basis, and definitely in the right context.

For internal discussions or sketches, Comic Sans can be appropriate to convey that something is not final, meant to be taken lightly, and is not an attempt at design.

For client-facing deliverables, it usually is seen as unprofessional, and should be avoided.

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    good call on the sketch usage. That is an appropriate context for using Comic Sans.
    – DA01
    Dec 5, 2011 at 20:24

Comic Sans is used pretty commonly in Primary Education.

If the client operates in the Primary Education field - then the client is probably right.

BTW - All the comments so far are subjective comments from the design community. What is lacking is some actual research on how people respond to it...

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    And your edit makes your answer more valid how??? Nov 30, 2011 at 2:21
  • I guess there's a bigger discussion here about whether you adopt different designs for different client groups - Eg: Should a bank's website look like a school's website ? Here's an example of a well known schools website here in the UK: woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk
    – PhillipW
    Nov 30, 2011 at 9:57
  • @PhillipW That's not a discussion it's a fact and common practice. Different designs are for different target markets and clients. Dec 1, 2011 at 11:40
  • I say don't insult kids by using Comic Sans. Kids aren't uncouth and are quite capable at discerning the idiosyncrasies and details in type. We sadly don't teach aesthetics and art as much as we should to children in the US, but even a kid knows Comic Sans is hokey and usually used inappropriately...even within the walls a grade school. ;)
    – DA01
    Dec 2, 2011 at 5:02
  • Also, I have to disagree that all the comments are subjective. There's MANY objective points made in the answers. Design and namely typography isn't pure subjective artist's whims. That's certainly a part of it, but there are plenty of objective critiques that can be made of nearly every typeface out there. The problem with Comic Sans is that no matter what category or target demographic you place it into, you will find objectively BETTER options than Comic Sans for that particular category or target demographic.
    – DA01
    Dec 2, 2011 at 5:04

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