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List of the 7 worst fonts. What, no

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2006

List of the 7 worst fonts. What, no Hobo or Brush Script? Comic Sans is, of course, #1 with a bullet. (via wider angle)

Reader comments

jburkaOct 13, 2006 at 11:24AM

my company’s employee handbook is now produced in comic sans. this is basically the only thing that makes me, a loyal employee of 10 years at a medium-sized IT contracting firm, want to find a new job.

SommarOct 13, 2006 at 1:14PM

I often see lists of the worst… any thoughts on the best fonts? (Besides Silkscreen of course ;) I’m not in design but often produce materials for use in my workplace and obviously Comic Sans is not the way to go.

BenOct 13, 2006 at 1:31PM

I think a list of best fonts is trickier, only because a good typeface choice is almost always dependent upon what you’re designing. Usually there are only a few choices for a project that are truly appropriate out of thousands of gorgeous faces, but there are a select few that are never appropriate, so listing those is easier… and more fun.

If you’re looking for some license-free downloadable respectable fonts to use for documents, I’ve found this list by Vitaly Friedman to be very helpful:


GregOct 13, 2006 at 1:41PM

That’s a nice list, but I agree with some of the commenters there about a significant omission: Times New Roman, which is bad on so many levels. Its use destroys credibility, it’s practically ubiquitous, and it performs poorly at its primary use, setting text.

la_florecitaOct 13, 2006 at 2:03PM

I agree Comic Sans should be #1. My personal list includes Mistral and Sand in the top 3 ugliest. (Followed by Brush Script … shivers.)

I don’t mind stuff like Times New Roman, Helvetica, etc. if they are used sparingly and in the right places (if they have to be used at all). They are legible and utilitarian and their letters aren’t ugly in and of themselves. Unlike, say, Sand.

I disagree with Papyrus being in the top 7. I think it’s well-designed, just unfortunately overused.

mattbucherOct 13, 2006 at 2:41PM

I have seen Aquiline abused on way too many book covers and movie posters. http://images.google.com/images?q=Aquiline+font

MarkOct 13, 2006 at 2:56PM

Been there with the whole “I’ve complained about Comic Sans MS” thing. I e-mailed a lecturer once about how unprofessional it was to get a term handbook printed in comic sans ms and it got treated as a formal complaint. Result.

Ken HirschOct 13, 2006 at 3:47PM

Does anybody have any objections to using Comic Sans for lettering in comic strips or comic books? Are there better fonts for that? Yes, I hate receiving email in Comic Sans.

I’m curious as to what Greg means when he says Times Roman “destroys credibility” and “performs poorly at its primary use, setting text.”

ssflandersOct 13, 2006 at 3:53PM

Me, too, Ken. Hopefully he doesn’t mean “your favorite font sucks.”

TrentOct 13, 2006 at 4:31PM

Hey Jason, would you have linked to this if Silkscreen had been on the list? (j/k)

A “best” or “worst” font list is always difficult, because every font has some sort of use. It depends on what you do - there are appropriate uses for Comic Sans and Bradley Hand, and there are bad uses for things like Verdana.

Dan BolandOct 13, 2006 at 5:27PM

I disagree with Papyrus being in the top 7. I think it’s well-designed, just unfortunately overused.

I actually clicked on the link to ensure that Papyrus was on the list. Yes, it’s grossly overused, but I think it looks cheesy as hell anyway, in just about any context.

ShochoOct 14, 2006 at 10:02AM

I love Vivaldi. Screw those guys.

PaulOct 14, 2006 at 2:31PM

Our sidewalk “BOOKS” sign at the used bookstore where I work: Comic Sans. There is no escape.

Colin DavisOct 15, 2006 at 10:35PM

I second the motion on drafting “Hobo” onto the list… Everytime someone sets a headline in hobo, baby jesus cries.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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