Critics of the Comic Sans typeface may be vocal, but they are outnumbered by its supporters
Who would have thought that a typeface could be controversial? But Comic Sans manages to be. Following its introduction along with Microsoft Windows 95, Comic Sans MS (the typeface's full name) quickly became popular for its playful look – a contrast to the straight-laced Times New Roman, then the default typeface for Microsoft Word. However, in recent years a passionate online opposition has emerged. The detractors tend to believe the overuse and irreverent style of Comic Sans make it inappropriate for most, if not all, circumstances, and they have devoted websites, campaigns and many column inches to discouraging its use.
But a new YouGov survey finds that critics may be fighting a losing battle.
It turns out 52% of British adults actually like Comic Sans – just 30% dislike it.
Respondents were shown a sample of the typeface (in case they couldn't recognize it by name).
Young people (ages 18-24) come close to disliking the font more than they like it (45% like it, compared to 42% who dislike it), but over-25s are firmly in favour. Comic Sans is most popular in the North, where (54% like to 27% dislike) and least popular in London (49% like to 34% dislike).
Not on a wedding invitation?
What’s more, many people view the use of Comic Sans as acceptable in many circumstances, even formal ones. Clear majorities think it is acceptable in a comic book (79%), a party invitation (70%), an email or letter to a friend (68%) a poster (65%) or a website (56%). 49% think it is an acceptable font to use in a notice at work. And while people tend to reject the font for use in more formal circumstances, significant minorities do think it can be used in emails and letters to colleagues (38%) or even a wedding invitation (36%).
Popular, but polarising
A related survey also finds that Comic Sans is not even particularly popular or unpopular when compared to a selection of other familiar typefaces. More people (24%) say Arial is their favourite typeface out of the six shown, and more also (42%) say Broadway is their least favourite.
However, the survey also hints at why the typefaces may have struck such a vein within popular culture: 16% like Comic Sans the most out of the six options, while another 18% like it the least, making it the only one that is most and least favoured by significant numbers.
Image via AgencyFusion