Petition to rename font 'Comic Sans' to 'Comic Cerns'

Typography enthusiasts "moved by Dr Fabiola Gianotti's incredibly strange choice of font in announcing the recent results of Cern's ATLAS collaboration" are petitioning Microsoft to rename Comic Sans to "Comic Cerns." Cosmic Sans might work, too!


    1. Are you talking about the font nerds or the particle nerds?

      I for one hope Cern will never change their priorities as to worry about silly fontpicking duties in between their deadline crunchtimes. Love the awkward slides – the font choice is the least of their problems. It is a newsconference by scientists, for scientists, and it shows.

  1. I doubt Dr. Gianotti thought more than 1/2 a second on what font to use. But it will be nice for an internet petition to actually make a worthwhile change for once… Also, at least he didn’t use wingdings.

    1. If she hadn’t thought about it, she wouldn’t have used Comic Sans, because it’s not ever the default. She had to have consciously decided to change every text box and caption to Comic Sans. That’s why it’s getting so derided.

      I severely dislike Comic Sans, but I don’t personally particularly care – I do think it’s funny but the slides are a lot better than most scientist-created slides, amazingly.

    1. Actually to my eye, the font looks more serious in a context like this… its silliness mostly evaporates and it starts to look like a good choice for clarity; it’s a very legible font.

      It seems to look a lot better here than on the usual birthday invitation or whatever… instead of being earnestly ‘whimsical’ in that hackneyed way, it’s geekily presenting data with efficiency and disregard for social norms, like a pair of worn out, cheap but comfy runners under the lab coat.

      I approve of this redefinition.

      Scientists are definitely the sort of folks to say, there’s nothing odd about this choice; it fulfills all the relevant criteria quite nicely thanks. Comic Sans is a great fit for this angle, particularly given how good data looks in it.

    1. I was up at 2:00 am for the December non-announcement. There is something really surreal about trying to follow technical descriptions of particle physics on not enough sleep and then, suddenly, everything is in comic sans. I thought I was hallucinating. 

      1. Oops… Thanks for pointing that out. I must have seen her first name a dozen times while looking up the previous comic sans kerfuffle and overlooked it every time. 

  2. Everyone keeps using phrases like “inexplicable” and “incredibly strange font choice” when discussing the use of Comic Sans on CERN slides.

    It’s eminently explicable, and not strange in the least:  as mentioned by Robert Urquhart in a December 2011 Huffington Post article about the use of Comic Sans on CERN slides — Comic Sans designer Vincent Connare and CERN scientist Brian Cox are good friends.  (It’s also demonstrated in some good-natured friend-to-friend trash talk between Connare and Cox yesterday on Twitter.) 

    It’s just a wacky font-designer/scientist in-joke.

  3. The hatred of Comic Sans is one of the mysteries of the age, as far as I’m concerned. I never read comics when I was of an age to read comics, so I lack that association, and maybe that’s why. I find Comic Sans to be an intelligible, readable font. And I can’t for the life of me understand why using it provokes sniggers, or worse, snark.

    1. It’s the abuse of it that grates. 

      Ever since it made its début with MSWord, it’s been identified as “the handwriting fun font” by the unwashed masses, and promptly used in every possible handmade, badly-laid-out publication which tried too hard to be “hip” and “fun”.

    2. Personally I find it hard to read, but I’ve heard that many people find it easier. It’s the kitsch font.

    3. I took a bunch of typography classes as part of a design degree program, and my understanding is that the hatred of Comic Sans started in the design community.  Because it’s a decorative font and not a standard font, it’s not really appropriate to use in a design context – this would be like basing your design off Microsoft clipart.  It’s the same with the hate Papyrus receives.  As decorative fonts, they aren’t really appropriate for commercial design use, because they are someone’s original “art” (I use the term loosely.)  Thus any commercial or highly visible use of the fonts tends to draw ire from the design crowd and hipsters by association.

      1. Theres no reason for them to be barred from design, if you’re designing a playschool poster it’s perfectly acceptable. There’s certainly no rule about not using decorative fonts in design either; you could have spinning ballerinas around your letters if it was addressing the problem the design was attempting to solve.

        In fact it’s worth pointing out that the font was in fact designed – it’s not art, it has a purpose other than invoking emotion, it’s practical.

        1. Chuhhh, “design” a playschool poster I would not deign to do so as it would abuse the high art of my design prowess and masterybationary techniques when mirror flirting. *sips a coffee you can’t get and inhales a cigarette with a name you can’t pronounce while wearing clothing normally found on people buried 70 years ago.

          -response from a hater

      2.  That sounds about right, and in concordance with something I learned very early in my acquaintance with the internet: people can and will have a dick-size war over anything.

    4. It’s the appropriateness of its use. It’s a fun font, designed to resemble a comic font (and of course sans serif, hence the sans).

      Its ideal use is in play schools and arts and crafts rooms, or comics if you can’t be bothered to choose one of the many better choices, but not science reporting. It just looks silly.

      1. Its proper use is for small children. This is why you get business memos in it, because your boss is also an annoying small child.

        (Its *real* use is trolling graphic designers.)

    5. Incidentally, if you do ever open a comic, you’ll find the typical all-caps font inside doesn’t resemble Comic Sans.

    6. Actually, if you really want to know why people hate Comic Sans, here’s a very detailed write-up with accompanying talk:

  4. While I do think there are particular fonts work better in some places than others, poor font choice is nowhere near as annoying as sitting down to eat at a restaurant and having one’s dining companion go on and on about how terrible it is that the family who owns the place decided to use a font they don’t approve of. Why ruin an evening over something so irrelevant? So I’ve always thought that if I did something important, that I’d publish it in Comic Sans just to troll the ‘Helvetica or die’ crowd.

    Maybe the good doctor is trolling us here just like it is rumored James Cameron did when selecting Papyrus for Avatar.

  5. Theoretical physicists know how to troll. 

    I can picture them: 
    “hey, all these font-geeks are going to be twitching after they see this. Serves them well.”

  6. Now I’m all curious to know if there’s such a thing as Comic not-Sans, i.e.,, Comic Serif.

    …There is.

    1. Dyslexie is an ugly typeface– it’s not consistent from letter to letter. Then again, the essay Three Typefaces for Mathematics notes that

      Euler is intended to clearly stand out from surrounding
      text, Cambria Math is, like Times, intended to blend in as well as possible, producing a common effect despite the numerous difference in detail between the text and maths font styles.

      There’s an tension between beauty and practicality. 

      As a non dyslexic reader, I prefer my typefaces to be aesthetically pleasing.

      1. it’s not consistent from letter to letter.

        The whole point of the typeface is to make it easy to distinguish one letter from another.

        1. Letters form words. If the letterforms don’t share consistent elements, the words are harder to read.

  7. I swear to God I’m going to purposefully start putting out things in Comic Sans just to piss off font nerds. Maybe I’ll write a book and have it printed in Comic Sans, titled “Here you go, Rain Men: Hate It”. 

    So, so tired of the internet just collectively losing their shit about a font.

    1.  Maybe you have to have binocular vision to see how awful it is. To you, it’s not half bad. To us, it’s fully bad.

  8. In fact, now that I see the powerpoint… it reminds me a lot of the Simpsons. I don’t know why.

  9. the font is the least of the worries with this slide.  Red background, no clear reading direction (up-down?  left right?), no clear take-away message, tiny plots which would be more readable if larger and spread out over two pages, no indication of the date or originator (author or organization), aaaaahhhh!!!!       

    they need a powerpoint engineer.

  10. Maybe next time they should use Blackletter, to make the announcement of something as serious as the discovery  of ‘The God Particle’ :P

    But maybe that was the subliminal intention? “Hey, we found this new awesome fundamental building block of the whole Universe, but it’ no biggie” ;)

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