Comic Sans MS, commonly referred to as Comic Sans, is a sans-serif casual script typeface. The modern Comic Sans was designed by Vincent Connare and released in 1994 by Microsoft Corporation. It is classified as a casual, non-connecting script, and was designed to imitate the historical look of comic book lettering, for use in informal documents.
Originally appeared as part of Ascender 2010 Font Pack as Comic Sans 2010, it is a commercial variant designed by Terrance Weinzierl from Monotype Imaging. It added italic variants of the original fonts for total of 4 fonts, extra ornaments and symbols including speech bubbles, onomatopoeia and dingbats.
OpenType features included ligatures, lining figures, localized forms, old style figures, proportional figures, tabular figures, swash, small capitals, stylistic alternates, stylistic sets (1-3).
The Boston Phoenix reported on disgruntlement over the widespread use of the font, especially its incongruous use for writing on serious subjects, with the complaints focused around a campaign started by two Indianapolis graphic designers, Dave and Holly Combs, via their website "Ban Comic Sans". The movement was conceived in 1999 by the two designers, after an employer insisted that one of them use Comic Sans in a children's museum exhibit, and in early 2009, the movement was "stronger now than ever". The web site's main argument is that a typeface should match the tone of its text, and that the irreverence of Comic Sans is often at odds with a serious message, such as a "do not enter" sign.
Comic book artist Dave Gibbons, whose work was one of the inspirations for the font, said that it was "a shame they couldn't have used just the original font, because [Comic Sans] is a real mess. I think it's a particularly ugly letter form."
Film producer and New York Times essayist Errol Morris wrote in an August 2012 posting, "The conscious awareness of Comic Sans promotes — at least among some people — contempt and summary dismissal." With the help of a professor, he conducted an online experiment and found that Comic Sans, in comparison to five other fonts (Baskerville, Helvetica, Georgia, Trebuchet MS, and Computer Modern), makes readers slightly less likely to believe that a statement they are reading is true.
In the Netherlands popular radio DJs Coen Swijnenberg and Sander Lantinga decided to celebrate the font by having a Comic Sans day on the first Friday of July. Comic Sans Day has been held since 2009. Some Dutch companies, such as KLM, have their website in Comic Sans on this day.
A 2010 Princeton University study involving presenting students with text in a font slightly more difficult to read found that they consistently retained more information from material displayed in so-called disfluent or ugly fonts (Monotype Corsiva, Haettenschweiler, Comic Sans Italicized were used) than in a simple, more readable font such as Arial.
On 1 April 2014 CERN announced that Comic Sans font will be used for all official communication channels, in a move to update the image of the laboratory for this, its 60th anniversary year. However, this was later revealed to have been an April Foolsgag, and the change was subsequently reverted.