Few typefaces are so well-known and instantly recognisable as Comic Sans. Even people with no interest at all in typography will pick it out from a random selection of typefaces, having no clue what the others might be called. And never has a typeface been such a cause of divided opinion: hate or love but rarely agnostic.
Even the designer is reported as saying that he’s only used it once. But in the Netherlands, there’s an annual Comic Sans Day – and it’s coming up soon, the first Friday of July.
The extremes are probably best explained by a ‘Ban Comic Sans’ website that makes the classic case for matching a typeface to its purpose; that the irreverence of Comic Sans is often at odds with a serious message, such as a “Do not enter!” sign.
The answer also lies in its origins as a face specially designed for children’s reading materials and inspired by comic book lettering. It was never intended for use in formal documents, but the ‘tin eye’ brigade fell in love and happily apply it to everything from funeral notices to arrest warrants. No prizes for guessing which side we’re on.