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I don't want to know why people hate Comic Sans. What I want to know is why so many people love using it?

A lot of us, including me, have an inherent aversion to it. A lot many others stop using it once they get to know of the intent behind it. But both these lots combined are still dwarfed by the large majority of the people who apparently find it the most appealing font in their palette. I wish to, for a moment, step in their shoes and see Comic Sans from their eyes.

The best that I can think of is that maybe it evokes a likeness to handwriting for other people, and hence seems more "organic".

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    Why do so many people watch reality TV and eat at Arby's? It's just one of those mysteries...
    – DA01
    Mar 15 '14 at 17:31
  • 1
    I think all the three answers pointing that it was the only standard non-standard font are very valid explanations. I'm accepting one of these rather arbitrarily, but thanks to every one who answered.
    – Manav
    Mar 16 '14 at 2:51
  • Because they have bad taste, simple as that. Mar 17 '14 at 11:57
  • Because it still beats Papyrus Apr 30 '19 at 16:28
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I think that really, it's the most standard non-strict font, in that it conveys a lighter tone given its non-strict nature as most fonts have. The curves and "smoothness" of it make it appealing for lighter messages, generally in a non-professional atmosphere.

That said, I haven't seen all that much use of it in the past 4+ years, as there are many other options available via web fonts that accomplish the same thing and can still permeate that essence of quality.

That said, Comic Sans MS is just the path of least resistance.

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The Comic Sans is part of the Core fonts for the Web Project by Microsoft in order to bring a standard set of fonts for website consumption.

Before web fonts were considered stable for general use (cross-browser, formats etc), font availability for the browser heavily relied on what fonts were available on the machine. And every machine could possibly have totally different available fonts. Using a font that didn't exist on the machine would appear as one of the fallback fonts: serif, sans-serif or monospace, depending on the family of the missing font.

Having these fonts out-of-the-box would have at least leveled the playing field a bit for users. I could see the same styles on my home PC as it would on a cafe PC.

The fonts included:

  • Andale Mono
  • Arial
  • Arial Black
  • Comic Sans MS
  • Courier New
  • Georgia
  • Impact
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana
  • Webdings

Now, if you observe, most of the fonts are "formal", typically meant for UI (sans-serif), or type (serif). Guess who's the only font that's both readable, "informal" and worthy of using without making your page another dull place to be (remember Friendster Layouts?) - Comic Sans!

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Comic Sans MS (a.k.a. Comic Sans) is a sans-serif casual script typeface. It was designed by former Microsoft font designer Vincent Connare, who also created other notable fonts, such as Trebuchet and some of the Wingdings. However, he is most well known for Comic Sans, which was released in 1994 by Microsoft Corporation.

Why did people take so fondly to Comic Sans? Connare says it's simple: Because they like it.

"Comic Sans isn’t complicated, it isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t the same old text typeface like in a newspaper. It’s just fun — and that's why people like it," Connare told Fonts.com.

Reference: Not My Type: Why the Web Hates Comic Sans

enter image description here

Original tweet

Comic Sans relays a relaxed un-authorative style, which was uncommon in computerized writing back in 1994. There was no other alternative than Comic Sans, which was one of the first casual styles. Being among the first, makes great advantage which is probably the cause why its still popular. Users are familiar with Comic Sans efen if there are better fonts for the occation today.

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My impression is that it has primarily to do with attention.

When people perceive something, they need a certain amount of mental stimulation to feel good. If there are too many details competing for their attention, or one thing sends too strong a stimulus (such as a very saturated color), they are overwhelmed. When we are talking about seeing design (in typography or something else), we experience such an object as cluttered or garish. On the other hand, if something does not have enough details or is too subdued, we perceive it as boring. A positive emotional reaction ("like") needs a Goldilocks middle.

But there is a difference in stimulation between typographers and non-typographers when looking at fonts. In the process of learning to be a typographer, a person learns to notice the details of font and layout and to attend to them. For the non-designer, it is as hard to notice the difference between Garamond and Caslon as it is for the designer to notice the difference between balls of ciabatta and pretzel dough (unless the designer is also a baker). This means that the amount of stimulation provided by a font is very different to the designer and non-designer. Where the designer sees leads, slants and m-widths, the non-designer sees text. A font which falls into the "perfectly balanced beauty" category for a designer falls into the understimulating "I see nothing interesting" category for the non designer.

So, a non-designer wants to create a document at her home computer (which came with MS Word). And she also doesn't want it to look like all the memos and reports which swamp her at work. She writes the text and looks at the list of fonts. They all look similar to her. The ones which catch her attention are the distinctive ones: the blackletters, Comic Sans, Papyrus. When she tries them out, her text looks different - and to her eye, this difference is pleasant and refreshing (aside from the blacklettering, which she probably finds unreadable, and maybe also associates with weird antiquated books). Looking at it engages her in a way which is not there when she looks at the same text in Arial. So, she leaves it at Comic sans, and may even add some bright color to catch the attention.

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    In summary: Many non-designers lack any real basic sense of aesthetics. :)
    – DA01
    Mar 17 '14 at 23:44
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    @DA01 absolutely not, and I find it sad that you drew such a conclusion from my post, because I never wanted to imply it. They have a very good sense of aesthetics, which prefers different aesthetics than that of designers.
    – Rumi P.
    Mar 18 '14 at 8:59
  • Note the smiley face. It was said slightly tongue-in-cheek. (Though I'd still stick with that as a reason...just like I've never been trained on how to play soccer well, most people have never been trained on how to lay out type well)
    – DA01
    Mar 18 '14 at 14:09
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It's a personal choice. Your choice is not to like it. I love it!

Moreover choice of font depends a lot on where you intend to use it. Even though I like this font very much, I won't use it for my (technical) resume!

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  • I was not denying the validity of your personal choice at all :) -- I was just trying to understand why it is a personal choice for some people and not for others.
    – Manav
    Mar 16 '14 at 2:43
  • There are no rules for personal choice. It's just like taste for food. Or colors...
    – kBisla
    Mar 16 '14 at 4:28
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Although this question has been answered I thought it was worth mentioning because no-one has said it yet, but I once heard that Comic Sans is an easier to read, more legible font if you have Dyslexia, so maybe this factor could be taken into account?

"Use a plain, evenly spaced sans serif font such as Arial and Comic Sans. Alternatives include Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Trebuchet."

http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia/further-information/dyslexia-style-guide.html

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  • There's a bit of a contradiction in that quote. The reason comic sans is often uses is because it's perceived as not being 'plain'.
    – DA01
    Mar 17 '14 at 23:48
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Comic Sans is a great font for wireframing. Using it clearly communicates that what reviewers are looking at is a "rough draft" or low-fidelity mock-up.

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    heh...I actually completely agree with using a handwritten font, but would suggest not going with Comic Sans as it's also an extremely common font. It's also not technically handwriting (as it was originally designed as a low-fi comic book lettering style)
    – DA01
    Mar 17 '14 at 23:46
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Comic Sans is used commonly in the primary education sector.

I guess the 'softer' form of the letters goes well with the use of primary colours which are favoured in primary education.

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    Nah, it's just being lazy. Why a teacher thinks their email need to look like 2nd grader scrawl is just unexplainable. :)
    – DA01
    Mar 17 '14 at 23:45

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