The World Needs More Dialog Boxes Like This

by Joey deVilla on June 21, 2007

Here’s a dialog box from Aegisub, an application for subtitling video:

Dialog box from Aegisub warning of the dangers of using “Comic Sans”
Screen capture courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.

For the benefit of RSS readers and search engines, here’s the text of the dialog box:

You have chosen to use the “Comic Sans” font. As a programmer and a typesetter, I must urge you to reconsider. Comic Sans is the most abused font in the history of computing, so please avoid using it unless it’s REALLY suitable. Thanks.

I’m really glad that such a dialog box exists!

If you’d like to join the cause to rid the world of that horrible font, I suggest that you visit the Ban Comic Sans site.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve June 22, 2007 at 2:58 pm

That’s what the “alt” tag is for :-)

2 jkillah1 June 22, 2007 at 6:22 pm

This whole “Comic Sans” thing is way too hyped up. Who really cares about some stupid font? I’m sick of hearing about this unimportant bullshit. Nobody cares! Seriously!

Want a font that seriously should be banned?

I’m going to go invent the Mussolini Hitler Bush font now.

3 Tom Reynolds June 23, 2007 at 6:29 am

I’ve seen patient’s medical notes printed out in Comic sans.

Eye-bleeding.

4 Joey deVilla June 23, 2007 at 7:19 am

@jkillah: You should be aware that they make decaffeinated coffee that’s just as tasty as the real thing. Just a thought.

5 Rash June 23, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Abused fonts? What about Papyrus, geez.. I see it every time I walk out the door

6 kgirl June 24, 2007 at 1:32 pm

oh puh-leez
thats the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard
: 1

7 J. June 24, 2007 at 10:57 pm

…why bother making a stupid comment that’s negative toward the blogger? He won’t care, and surely neither does anyone else.

I, personally, HATE the comic-sans. It’s most often NOT used properly at all. And, honestly, if someone is putting in an error message to guide against it, maybe it’s because they thought it was a bad idea. Too bad it can’t magically make it disappear like the rest of crap fonts that people insist on using.

Kudos to the programmer that made this, and kudos to the blogger that posted about it. It made me smile, and I’m sure that was the whole point of the thing…to bring something with humor (and a message) to people that just happened along the site.

8 timbo June 25, 2007 at 4:09 am

I don’t really understand the hatred of that font either, jk. Thats the one I learned to read on and I find it very comfortable to use every day. As a matter of fact my pen is even set to comic sans.

9 Aaron June 25, 2007 at 9:53 am

Isn’t Sand the worst font ever? Comic Sans can’t be worse than Sand! And Papyrus, please people, stop using Papyrus!

10 Andy June 25, 2007 at 10:28 am

I think it’s not even so much the font itself that annoys me – horrible as it is – as the kind of documents that are written in it. I associate it with poorly-spelled amateurish plays, written by that woman at the youth group whom everybody’s really just humouring and noone has the heart to tell her they’re crap…

11 Timron June 25, 2007 at 10:35 am

How many letters can you put in an alt tag?

And does Google treat it the same as normal text for relevancy ranking of the page? Is it used in search results excerpts on Google?

I always put my “accessibility transcriptions” in text, not in alt tags. (I don’t really give a flip about accessibility, but I want the Google traffic.)

12 Ian Adams June 25, 2007 at 10:42 am

I’m pretty sure Papyrus (ab)use has long since eclipsed Comic Sans. Seriously: there should be a tax for using Papyrus!

13 tony June 25, 2007 at 11:29 am

Finally, someone else (several of you, it seems) also hates Papyrus. Being vegan I am in the health food store a lot and this font is more than abused, it is tortured. I agree, this font may have eclipsed the dreaded Comic Sans.

14 John June 25, 2007 at 11:35 am

FWIW, I’m still occasionally seeing Apple’s historic bitmap font ‘Chicago’ used in print and video. Talk about font abuse!

15 Rick Bob June 25, 2007 at 12:10 pm

The “Ban Comic Sans” site sells merchandise that promotes banning the font but the same font is used for all the text on the merchandise. Does that seem stupid to anyone else? Of course I also feel the t-shirts and stickers that claim a baseball team sucks are stupid. I mean if they suck then why not wear a shirt promoting a team you do like? I guess some people just prefer to always be negative.

16 Joey deVilla June 25, 2007 at 12:26 pm

@Rick Bob: Hence the saying “You can have a popular movement without a God, but you can’t have one without a Devil.”

17 Scott June 25, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Now, if only MS Word’s helpful suggestions included, “It looks like you’re making a sign! Might I suggest something other than Times New Roman and All Caps?”

18 Name June 25, 2007 at 2:44 pm

[this is …umm…]

19 bowerbird June 25, 2007 at 7:00 pm

i love comic sans…

-bowerbird

20 Dane June 25, 2007 at 9:56 pm

Comic Sans, Papyrus… I nominate Copperplate Gothic to the mix.

21 muruk June 26, 2007 at 2:52 am

Comic Sans is indispensable as a young learner literacy teacher. The letters are clear, and look like the students expect them to (especially the “a”).

Outside of the classroom, however, is another story…

22 Joe Clark June 26, 2007 at 11:54 am

Instead of “[f]or the benefit of RSS readers and search engines,” try “because I am a competent Web developer and I know that every image requires an alt text.”

23 Sameer June 30, 2007 at 7:35 pm

There is nothing funny about Comic Sans.
It’s deplorable.

24 Gopinath M July 5, 2007 at 3:42 am

What is wrong in using that font? Why is it abusive?

Tech Thoughts

25 Down10 July 5, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Great! Now we need one for Arial, Trajan and Impact.

26 Nincompoop July 5, 2007 at 2:58 pm

I feel it works perfectly at http://www.dopeyhead.com
: )

27 FliP July 14, 2007 at 10:21 am

Comic Sands is the BEST font EVER!!! I’ve used it on every web site I’ve ever made:)

28 mikeypod July 18, 2007 at 12:58 pm

hellz yes. Hate that font.

29 ComicSansWarrior July 20, 2007 at 11:51 am

I love Comic Sans.

my name is ComicSansWarrior! And I am ready to defeat my antiComicSans enemies!

30 frogs August 23, 2007 at 5:40 pm

There is nothing wrong with Comic Sans in and of itself. The problem is that it is used in situations that do not warrant it.

If you’re designing a comic book, or a handout for first graders, Comic Sans might be appropriate. If your target audience is adults, that font should never be used. Ever. Using Comic Sans in a professional situation is like wearing cutoffs and a T-shirt to a black tie wedding. It looks stupid, it sends the wrong message, and it makes you look like an idiot.

31 Steve Jobs August 23, 2007 at 6:29 pm

J: “It’s most often NOT used properly at all”

I think you’ve missed the problem here.

Most of us really don’t give two shakes of a rat’s derriere what font someone uses. When people go off on “this font sucks” rants, we snicker at them as elitist snobs who pretend one of a million basically-identical fonts somehow magically convey the author’s level of education; as though “typography” counts as the pinnacle of human endeavors.

REALLY broad families of fonts have meaning. Serif vs non-serif, proportional-vs-np, cursive-vs-block. The rest of the distinctions so many self-titled “artists” make strike most of us as the worst of pretensions.

32 Miguel August 24, 2007 at 12:45 am

I personally like comic sans, but also understand that it may be used too often or inappropriately in some peoples opinion. If I could rid the world of a font it would be (this) Times New Roman. I mean come on, it may be easy to read (but so are many other fonts), but it has been used more than any other font. It’s old, tired, needs a damn rest. I mean when are we going to move into the twenty-first century and say my damn computer does NOT have to look like a type-writer. Just my opinion. For all the Comic Sans haters, I suggest you create a font that people want to use so much that they forget about Comic Sans or just let it go. I mean I hate looking at baseball caps or high-heels, but I’m not gonna tell anyone how to dress, let alone how to type.

33 Carl October 5, 2007 at 2:13 am

“…is like wearing cutoffs and …”
Nice analogy!
Cited in Analogies & Metaphors.

34 mate November 2, 2007 at 5:59 pm

the most appropriate analogy is that comic sans supporters are pro-freedom and haters are anti-freedom.

35 Jinky Williams December 4, 2008 at 4:17 pm

@Steve Jobs
So, you’re making it a point to make sure that he knows that his passion isn’t like most others? How about fashion designers? Color coordinators? There are many similar elements in these occupations with differences that those outside their respective industries wouldn’t even know to look for. Yet they are integral parts of these individuals’ work, and therefore they have developed a keen awareness of when something is off or diffferent. How about people who work in print shops? They worry and lose sleep about whether or not Pantone 186 looks too much like Pantone 185, or whether the 300dpi image will be good enough. Or jewelers, who have diamond classifications by which they sort the gems based on imperfections so small that they require the use of a loupe to see.

It’s not about level of education. There’s no pretension. It’s his passion and his pursuit of what interests him. As far as your presumption that the pursuit of typography expressed to the extent that this person has is not shared by many, check out typophile.com. There are plenty of people in this world who would cringe if they heard that Arial was considered the same as Trade Gothic.

It seems to me like you’ve never been in a position that routinely required that type of attention to detail. This isn’t to put you down, but merely to state that the other people may have had experience in things that you have not.

However, your initial observation that most people don’t care about Comic Sans is correct. But many people display the decency to respect the pursuits of others.

Joey is the one who wrote the post. This is his website. No one forced you to come here, and no one forced you to mock his lifestyle.

36 Frank January 7, 2009 at 2:17 am

As per the above commenter saying “no one forced you to come here” I can say that in my case that is blatantly false. I stumbled on this site. I had no choice in the matter. Blogs like this have to realize that they are no longer just open to their fans – people reading their posts will no longer just be the loyal readers and one or two disinterested new readers… but the entire internet. With all its varied opinions.

I for once think Comic Sans sucks in about 98% of the cases it is used. I find it hilariously silly that people are so up in arms about it, but find the blogged about popup to be a good way to start reducing those 98% to something more manageable.

But seriously, I am not from the readership of this blog. I am from the “General Public”. As are many of the other commenters. If some of you, like Jinky Williams, gets up in arms about some of us disagreeing, talking annoyingly, or even being outright arseholes, then they need to remember that this post is apparently on stumbleupon. Some of us was “forced” to come here, and some of those that came disagreed.

And some are arseholes.

Either way, complain to whomever stumbled the post – not the general public who followed.

37 Chris January 8, 2009 at 3:51 pm

To those that seriously want it to disappear: delete it from your system. Consider though, every font does have a use somewhere, even those that are abused and used inappropriately.

38 Slrman September 19, 2009 at 10:28 am

As a professional writer and designer of manuals and other books, Comic Sans is a fine font. It’s easily readable, consistent in size, and pleasing to the eye. The whiny bastards that complain about it are just trying for a way to feel superior to someone. That’s not too surprising as they have a lot about which to feel inferior .

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