A question:

How do you feel about this font?

It's surprisingly controversial, as evidenced by The Ban Comic Sans Manifesto. The jeremiad is grounded in aesthetic elitism:


We believe in the sanctity of typography and that the traditions and established standards of this craft should be upheld throughout all time. From Gutenberg's letterpress to the digital age, type in all forms is sacred and indispensable. Type is a voice; its very qualities and characteristics communicate to readers a meaning beyond mere syntax.

Early type designing and setting was so laborious that it is a blasphemy to the history of the craft that any fool can sit down at their personal computer and design their own typeface. Technological advances have transformed typography into a tawdry triviality. The patriarchs of this profession were highly educated men. However, today the widespread heretical uses of this medium prove that even the uneducated have opportunities to desecrate this art form; therefore, destroying the historical integrity of typography.

It is, however, attempting to overthrow its nemesis by stoking populist fervor:

We are summoning forth the proletariat around the globe to aid us in this revolution. We call on the common man to rise up in revolt against this evil of typographical ignorance. We believe in the gospel message "ban comic sans." It shall be salvation to all who are literate. By banding together to eradicate this font from the face of the earth we strive to ensure that future generations will be liberated from this epidemic and never suffer this scourge that is the plague of our time.

The Wall Street Journal covered the controversy over this font in April 2009, explaining its origins:

The proliferation of Comic Sans is something of a fluke. In 1994, Mr. Connare was working on a team at Microsoft creating software that consumers eventually would use on home PCs. His designer's sensibilities were shocked, he says, when, one afternoon, he opened a test version of a program called Microsoft Bob for children and new computer users. The welcome screen showed a cartoon dog named Rover speaking in a text bubble. The message appeared in the ever-so-sedate Times New Roman font.

Mr. Connare says he pulled out the two comic books he had in his office, "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Watchmen," and got to work, inspired by the lettering and using his mouse to draw on a computer screen. Within a week, he had designed his legacy.

A product manager recognized the font's appeal and included it as a standard typeface in the operating system for Microsoft Windows. As home computers became widespread, Comic Sans took on a goofy life of its own.

Indeed. Occasionally I'll find myself on the receiving end of a forward from the far right asserting that President Obama and the American left are allying themselves with radical Islamists. More often than you'd expect, these angry e-mails arrive in Comic Sans, as if their authors are either unaware of the tone set by the font, or else curiously aware of how absurd their own argument is.

Okay, another question:

How do you feel about this font?

There are people who love Helvetica. I like it all right, but I can't say it's an aesthetic element that particularly excites me. In fact, on the whole I am on the sidelines of the typeface battles, although I have my own preferences as a writer, and often I change typeface between the draft version of a piece and its final version. 

What does excite me is that people are paying attention to type face, because design matters. Indeed, as a wonderful Joshua Yaffa magazine piece on font and highway signs demonstrates, choosing the right typeface can save lives in some circumstances. Its good we've begun to think about these things, so whether you're a Comic Sans defender or its most ardent opponent, I implore you, keep arguing.