Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com, ShutterstockAh, Comic Sans. The bane of every writer’s existence. This playful font was all the rage when we millennials had to type our first reports in elementary school. Now it entices a combination of depressed laughter and rage inside nearly everyone who sees it in public. Those who perpetuate its use, ironically or naively, are the instigators of the most divisive debate of the digital age.
But when Vincent Connare designed the Comic Sans, he couldn’t have imagined the moral stir his font would cause. And if he had, he would have been all the more excited.
When Connare was an arts student in New York City in the 1980s—before anyone knew that their favorite font could reveal their innermost personality traits—he often wandered through art galleries in SoHo, the fashionable neighborhood of lower Manhattan. There, he followed his personal criteria to evaluate each piece of artwork: If it made you stop and stare, it was good. If you passed by unaware it was there, that was bad.
“It either shocked you or you really liked it,” Connare told Great Big Story, “but if you didn’t even notice and just walked through, it was a disaster.”
The key for Connare was that the art was notably different. Whether it evoked positive or negative emotions mattered less than whether it caused any emotion at all. So when the typographic engineer was asked to design a “playful” font for a program called Microsoft Bob, he already had his goal in mind: creating something different.
He studied the font styles in comic books, like Batman and Watchmen, and eventually created an irregular font with characteristic curved, almost bubble-like lines. He dubbed it Comic Sans after the source of his inspiration. The font wasn’t used in Microsoft Bob as it was intended, but after its release in 1994, it was pre-installed on every Macintosh by 1996.
The first instance Connare first saw his creation in public was on a sign for a store called Fun Stamps, and its use has only grown since. Even though typing with Comic Sans in a work email is a scientifically proven annoying email habit, Connare probably doesn’t mind. People notice his font, and that’s what makes it art.
[Source: Great Big Story]