We’ve all seen Comic Sans; a form that is both loathed and (secretly) admired some people have even devoted a website to educating people about the very limited use of comic sans cases! It has had a major global influence over the decades since its initial use-case, the Microsoft Bob software.
By 1996, it was popular enough to be pre-installed on any Macintosh machine that rolled off the assembly line, but how exactly did this font come to be? What kind of mind was behind this ultra-kiddy font?
Comic Sans: The Man Behind the World’s Most Contentious Font
Check out this video and meet Vincent Connare, the father of Comic Sans, for all intents and purposes. As he came up with the concept of the font, he searched through stacks and stacks of comic books, which is possibly unsurprising. In particular, he’s been reading through DC Comics’ Batman and Watchmen stories… and he’s been inspired!
Commissioned by Microsoft to develop a font, Connare came up with a font that resembled the comic lettering he’d seen in the story’s expression and thought bubbles.
Unfortunately for Connare, his boss at the time, Robert Norton, did not like his comic-inspired typeface. Norton figured the face was meant to be more “typographical” and had something to do with its general curiosity and strangeness. Connare continued and defended the potential of Comic Sans to stand out as it appeared markedly different from what people might have seen in their school textbooks. Even so, Comic Sans didn’t make it into Bob’s final release, but at the end of the day, Connare had the last laugh.
Today, comic sans is freely available all over the world! Although the font is undoubtedly overexposed, Connare always receives a large amount of reward from all the places the font has seen as he flies. Whether in neon signs for small businesses or in war memorials and packets of bread, Connare is vindicated.
To hear Connare say it he has no regrets about the font. On the contrary, while he openly acknowledges that comic sans is certainly not one of the best types of art, it is nevertheless, conceptually, the very best he has ever achieved in his career, in all probability.
All told, not a bad result for a guy who worked as a typographical engineer at Microsoft and, possibly, whose most popular font had never seen the light of day in the original Microsoft program for which it was intended. Interestingly, Connare was also a donor to other prominent faces, such as Trebuchet.
To understand why he first came up with comic sans, we need to understand his theory of art. Good art was an art that was noticed and poor art was an art that nobody noticed and was thus a failure.