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Typefaces (Comic Sans is no joke for dyslexics)

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BrianBoyko
1386125.  Mon Jul 26, 2021 5:59 pm Reply with quote

Just saw the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OQf6Q5oL3A entitled "Joe Lycett hates the QI Klackson Font" and as a joke, they replaced his font with "Comic Sans."

Comic Sans is no joke. (Pun intended.)

Back in 1996, Comic Sans was created by Vincent Connare at Microsoft for use in Microsoft Comic Chat https://t.co/cNO0h8PKbY?amp=1



It was based on Internet Relay Chat, which was the precursor to the modern Slack and Discord and other internet chats... but what made it distinctive was that the text would appear as a bunch of comic panels. Connare thought that Times New Roman was inappropriate, and so sought to create a typeface based on comic books at the time, most specifically The Dark Knight Rises, which is perhaps the most influential comic book of the 1980s - it was the first to give us the "dark and brooding" Batman made famous by the Tim Burton films as opposed to the wacky versions of the 1960s Adam West TV show.

What's weird is that the very reason typeface designers find it so tacky is because, just like every letter in The Dark Knight Rises was written by hand, and therefore distinctive, the letters in Comic Sans do not re-use shapes -- which is one of the reasons that it looks so "wrong" for a professional context.



However, the fact that it doesn't re-use shapes means that ironically it is much easier for those suffering from dyslexia to read, as each individual letter is entirely distinctive. In fact, it's recommended by the British Dyslexia Association (https://bdatech.org/what-technology/typefaces-for-dyslexia/) and the Dyslexia Association of Ireland as one of a number of "dyslexic friendly" fonts, given it's "character disambiguation" and it's "variation in letter heights"

For those who like the *feel* of Comic Sans but want to have more of a professional look to it, there has been a re-imagining of Comic Sans as "Comic Neue" (http://comicneue.com/).



I do suggest that if there is a Typefaces episode, and Joe Lycett is the guest, that in his honor, the QI klaxon uses Comic Neue for the day.

 

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