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The case for Comic Sans in Prince George

Posted on 1 April 2015

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If you spend time in the right circles on the internet, you know that using Comic Sans as font choice is a nogo for the discerning designer.

So when the city of Prince George released a report written in Comic Sans, it attracted some attention.

There’s a document from the #CityofPG planning department written in Comic Sans. This is unacceptable.

— Charelle Evelyn (@CharelleEvelyn) March 26, 2015

@CharelleEvelyn what is comic sands — Brian Skakun (@BrianSkakunCity) March 26, 2015

@BrianSkakunCity @CharelleEvelyn http://t.co/g53l22pQgT — Andrew Kurjata (@akurjata) March 26, 2015

 

@BrianSkakunCity That’s the gist of it. Font snobbery. — Charelle Evelyn (@CharelleEvelyn) March 26, 2015

@CharelleEvelyn Unacceptable? I think it is magnificent.

— Peter James (@pjames) March 26, 2015

You want to get buzz for a document in 2015? Comic Sans is the way 2 go. @akurjata @BrianSkakunCity @CharelleEvelyn — Jonathon Brown (@callmejbro) March 26, 2015

At first I was in the anti-Comic Sans camp, but I think that was just my learned, knee-jerk reaction. I mean sure, designers and the people who follow them know that Comic Sans is only acceptable for comic books and children’s messages, but when it’s one of the default choices on most operating systems, people in the wider world are only going to know it as a somewhat friendly looking font. That’s why you have the Vatican and the research team for the Higgs-Boson particle using it. Comic Sans may cause some people to recoil, but in the wider world most people don’t even know its name.

To test this, I printed two copies of the report- one in the original Comic Sans and one in the default Arial, and asked people which they preferred. The results were half and half. No one had any issues with Comic Sans. I had to explain what a “font” was to some.

I also found it interesting that the people who liked Comic Sans better (and some of the ones who preferred Arial) said that Comic Sans was “friendlier” or more eye-catching. I started thinking about how we’re always talking about ways to get people feel more involved with local government, and that one of the barriers is how intimidating it can be. There’s a lot of technical jargon and rules that the general public might not feel comfortable with.

Maybe in certain instances when you want to get people to feel involved and welcome, Comic Sans is the way to go. It’s also accessible – some research has shown that people who are dyslexic have an easier time reading it than other fonts.

Plus I think we’re hitting a turning point. Already there’s a backlash to the backlash in this debate. There have been pieces in the Guardian and Slate in defence of Comic Sans. By embracing it, the city of Prince George could really be riding that trend.

I mean, we’re a city with a giant wooden lumberjack for our mascot and a moose on our official coat of arms. We have to lean into that and embrace our kitschy, so uncool-it’s-cool identity.

People have called Vancouver the no-fun city- let’s make Prince George the PRO-fun city

And the perfect font for that?

Comic Sans.1

pro fun city

 

 


  1. This may or may not be entirely serious 

Filed under: design, Prince George

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There are messages everywhereIf you don't walk in random places you don't see stuff like thisOn the side of the old RCMP building in Prince George. #graffiti #cityofPGInteresting.#cityofPGMy office buddy is cuter than yours