Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will
Man of Letters: Matthew Carter
Ban Comic Sans
Independent Lens: Helvetica
Killer Typography Tools and Free Font Downloads
While the names Helvetica, Palatino, and Perpetua might sound like the names of pricey luxury cars, they also happen to be rather well known fonts. Technically speaking, fonts are traditionally defined as a complete character list (including exclamation points and ampersands) of a single size and style of a particular typeface. Most laypeople don't think too much about fonts or typefaces, but one typeface in particular has raised the ire of a collection of artists, graphic designers, and other concerned parties. The typeface in question is Comic Sans, and it was created by Vincent Connare in 1994. Connare was working for Microsoft back then and he noticed that a certain children's computer program was using the common Times New Roman font. He was inspired to create something anew, and he found inspiration in two comic books in his office. Comic Sans was born, and since then it has been found on church flyers, restaurant banners, and countless other items. Since that time, the typeface has garnered a less than positive reputation in graphic design circles, and there is even a "Ban Comic Sans" website, which was started by Holly Sliger. Connare remains a bit more phlegmatic about the whole matter, commenting recently, "If you love it, you don't know much about typography. If you hate it, you really don't know much about typography either, and you should get another hobby."
The first link will take users to a Wall Street Journal article from this past Monday on Connare and the world of the Comic Sans typeface. The second link leads to a very fine profile of the famed typographer Matthew Carter, who has worked for the queen of England, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. Moving on, the third link leads to the fun Typographic website. Here, visitors can learn about the anatomy of letterforms, read a recent history of typography, and check out a glossary of typographic terms. The fourth link leads to the official homepage of the Ban Comic Sans movement. Fans of the Helvetica typeface will appreciate the fifth link, which leads to a site dedicated to a recent documentary about just this typeface created as part of the Independent Lens series. Here they can learn more about the typeface's history and even take a "What Font Are You?" quiz. Finally, the last link leads to a helpful set of suggestions on typography tools from Gina Trapani, writing for the Lifehacker site.
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