Comic Sans

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

designrants:: “I REALLY hate reading that studies show that children prefer comic sans on webpages. I don’t want to use comic sans, even if it performs better with children’s webpages.

Bleh. Bleeehhhhh. Stupid studies.”

Okay, well I hate Comic Sans as much as the next person, but if you read the comment above, and the supporting ones it received, you’ll see something that’s wrong with so many graphic designers.

It’s not what you like that’s important. It’s what the audience likes. Comic Sans is popular with children, they immediately feel that a site that uses the font is aimed at them. So make use of that because, as a designer, your job is to produce a design that appeals to the target audience.

Rather than rejecting the ‘stupid study’ (oh diddums, does it say something that you don’t like? Aww… get over it!) we should learn from it. Basically it’s saying children like sites that appear to be designed for them. Given a choice between Arial and Comic Sans, they’ll go for Comic Sans. Does that mean we’re forced to design our sites in that typeface? No.

What the study tells us (there’s no link to it so I’m guessing here) is that designers need to stop designing for their own tastes and focus on their audience. Choice of colour, typeface, visual style etc…
We’re not supposed to like most of the things we design because we’re not the intended audience! A professional designer should always be happy with what they produce but because it does the job, not because they personally would use the thing they’ve designed.

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