Σάββατο, 6 Απριλίου 2013

Quickie: Comic Sans anecdotal

Here’s one thing about me: I’m not particularly a hater of Comic Sans. Nor a fan. I never got why there’s so much hate for the font, even though aesthetically is quite bad. But, I’ve gotta admit: This thing isn’t for writing everything.

 

Here’s the story

In the hospital I’m working in, we have many foreign people being submitted in collaboration with many international insurance companies. So, as usual, we had a very interesting French gentleman who had chest pains and he had to do a coronography. The doctor found some minor problems but he was alright and good to go back home and have a surgery there. Upon leaving, the doctor typed in and gave us a printed copy of a medical report for him to take to the doctors at home…. In Comic Sans. Bold, 16pt Comic Sans.

As usual, people in Greece are very mundane about those things. That’s part of why I’m constantly feeling alone in this country full of people who just don’t care. But a medical report in Comic Sans? That was way above my powers. So, I gave it to the patient, said nothing until I could find the doctor alone.

And I did.

Me. “Hey, Mister X, sir, can I ask you something?”

Doc. “Sure, boy, ask away”

Me. “Uh, it’s a little sudden, but, who typed the latest medical report you gave us? Was it your secretary?”

Doc. “Actually it was me. What about it?”

Me. “I don’t mean to be rude or tell you how to do your job, sir, but please, don’t use Comic Sans. Sorry if it sound patronizing but, I felt the urge to tell you.”

He was surprised. Somebody noticed the typeface? Usually that kind of thing goes unnoticed since nobody really cares.

Doc. “I’ve been using this for a long time. It helps me distiguish the letters.”

Me. “I can suggest you other sans typefaces, but, really, Comic Sans takes away the impact of your words.”

That seemed to confuse him and I started explaining the obvious as I realised I’ve got his attention for good.

Me. “The fonts we use is the dress of our written words. It’s as if, you, sir, being a very serious and well known doctor, were wearing clown clothes. We, who know and like you, we’ll see the substance, but your patients who expect a certain image of you, will stay with the red nose and show zero respect and trust.”

Doc. “So Comic Sans is like dressing my writings in clown clothes?”

Me. “Not only that, doc, but it’s also the most hated font on the entire earth. It was created for a kids’ program from Microsoft in a single night. It was never used but it stayed as a leftover on every computer in the world. It’s highly readable but it imitates badly the writing in comic books, it’s unbalanced and uneven. So it’s not just a clown but an unfunny clumsy clown everybody wants to see dead.”

The doctor was intriqued. He never heard where his typeface of preference originated or how hated it actually is.

Doc. “What do you suggest, Mario?”

Me. “You seem to go with more readable Sans characters. I’d suggest you Arial, Monospace and Helvetica. Whatever works visually for you. You can also experiment with other smooth typefaces that look more professional without looking uptight. Plus, you’ll find those typefaces way more balanced.”

He noted down Monospace, since it was completely new to him. But he looked kinda impressed somebody stood up and adviced him on that matter. Which made me happy, especially in a country where such things just don’t matter.

Did I succeed putting another nail to the Comic Sans coffin? I don’t know. We’ll see when the next foreign patient arrives for a corongraphy. Hope I’ll see a medical report that looks like one.

Say, What’s your font of preference?

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