A Lesson in Comic Sans

My 14-year-old niece disagrees.
  • My 14-year-old niece disagrees.

The font normally reserved for 14-year-old girls' gossip emails and chain letter forwards from your mother got a new celebrity endorsement last week when Cavs' owner Dan Gilbert fired off an open letter to the NBA world using Comic Sans.

Naturally, Gilbert took some heat for his font choice. I've exchanged emails with Gilbert before, so I can tell you this wasn't a one-time thing; Gilbert digs the Comic Sans and has for a long time. But to employ it for a nationally published open letter addressing the dire concerns of Cavs fans? Perhaps he should have gone with Times New Roman for that one.

Joe Posnanski tackled the history of the much-maligned font for Sports Illustrated this week because as much as its been derided, people apparently can't get enough Comic Sans. Bonus: Posnanski wrote the piece in Comic Sans.

The story apparently goes a little something like this: Back in 1994, a font designer at Microsoft named Vincent Connare invented this Comic Sans font. The obvious question is: Why? Well, based on a story that appeared in the Wall Street Journal some 15 years after he created the font (which he originally called "Comic Book"), Connare says he was inspired by a Microsoft children's program featuring a cartoon dog barking in the much more staid Times New Roman font.

This clash of dog and font sent him reeling — dogs most definitely DO NOT bark in Times New Roman.

And so he went to his comic books (which included "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Watchmen") and used them as inspiration as he created the Comic Sans font. He apparently did not take the font too seriously — it only took him a week to design.* He had much more important work to do, such as his not-quite-as-famous Trebuchet MS font.

So there, now you know the origins of Comic Sans. Read the rest of the piece if you want Posnanski's opinion on Gilbert's font choice as it pertains to actual sports. Or, just open your email and fire off a letter of your own in Comic Sans. It really will make your day better.

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