Every once in a while, you come across a font that has done such a significant disservice to the art of typography that it would make Max Miedinger himself turn in his grave. To celebrate the absolute worst of the worst, we’ve compiled a list of truly awful fonts, along with a few notes by prominent designers on how and why they went so wrong. And while we have included Comic Sans, some things are too serious to joke about and this is one of them. Some things can’t be unseen, some things can’t be undone. Comic Sans is one of them.
If one day you find yourself a native blue humanoid or you harvest unobtanium on Pandora, you’re more than welcome to tell your entire life story in Papryus. Hell, get a tattoo of your mother’s name in Papryus. In the meantime, please refrain from ever using this font for invitations to your halloween party. The original designer Chris Costello wanted to create a font that looked like writing from 2000 years ago. In that sense, he achieved his goal.
Brush Script helped sell a lot of stuff to folks in the post-WW2 era. Advertisers in the 1950s flocked to Brush Script, for it apparently aims to emulate handwritten text. Except that nobody ever has written like this. Like ever.
Once described as “the tax man’s type”, Souvenir does a pretty good job of reminding you to pay your water bill on time. Souvenir has enjoyed a small comeback in the last decade, however this still doesn’t make up for the fact that it was also known as the “printer’s friend” as it was so forgiving when printing newspapers. When a font excels at mediocrity, avoid it at all costs.
Semiotician Ferdinand Saussure said, “…nearly all institutions, it might be said, are based on signs, but these signs do not directly evoke things.” If there was any doubt Tekton didn’t evoke things, it’s gone with the first abrasive lower-case y jabbing you in the eye and making you weep. Rarely do fonts look like they have a sound, but Tekton elevates itself to new lofty heights of annoying by reminding oneself of the sound of lying in bed on a hot summer’s night and hearing a mosquito buzzing close to your face in the dark. Annoying.
Often it’s argued that naming a child (or a font) doesn’t determine the child (or font’s) social outcomes in adult life. Unfortunately for Hobo, its parents obviously hated it and wanted it to have a miserable life. This font looks like it forgot to put on its pants with every letter you type. Hobo doesn’t feature any straight lines in its type face, so I guess that’s something. Hobo got its name because it was nameless for so many years. Before it was published, it became known as “that old hobo” to the designer Morris Benton. Fifteen whole years later, Benton got around to publishing Hobo. Slacker.
Similarly to Tekton, we can all hear the sound of a whining child when reading this font. Originally intended to portray swirling, whipping lassos flying about, this train wreck looks like the inner pages of a lovesick teenager, all that’s missing is the tiny heart above the “i”.
The full ornament set is actually titled “Giddyup Thangs,” if you weren’t already convinced.
Ah, Comic Sans. The big one. So much has been written about the cult-hate for this type. In 1995, Microsoft published designer Vincent Connare’s font Comic Sans to be used as a cartoon-speech-bubble-font-thing and to remedy the overuse of Times New Roman. While it was a relatively noble idea to try and improve the font we all used to type our resumes with, there is a je ne sais quoi, an aesthetic, even visceral reaction to such an astoundingly ugly font. Why does everyone love to hate Comic Sans? Because it’s the worst.
Recently in a Huffington Post interview, Vincent Connare advised all the Comic Sans haters to “get a hobby.”
We say, YOU GET A HOBBY VINCENT. YOU GET A HOBBY!
What do you think? Which is your least favorite font? Let us know in the comments.