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Typeface is important in design isn’t it?

Fedex logo in Comic Sans

Every designer has a complete aversion to Comic Sans right? But some people don’t. It got me thinking, what if logos were designed using Comic Sans? What would they look like and how would potential customers react to them?

Would they still hold the same weighting and gravitas that their well thought out and well chosen opposites held?

A long time ago in an design agency far far away, I was working on some designs for a brochure for one of my clients. The designs were complete and presented. They loved the brochure and the style but something didn’t quite sit right with them.

They were a well respected blue chip company. They had clients in the US and Europe and they were doing well and they seemed to appreciate the value of good design.

The marketing manager said to me “I don’t like the typeface you have used, can we used Comic Sans?” And they were serious.

As a young designer I was abhorred by their reaction and immediately justified, or at least tried to justify, why it wasn’t such a good idea to use Comic Sans.

I have to say it was a bit of an uphill struggle to get them to change their mind, but I eventually managed to prove to them that it wasn’t such a good idea.

I get the humour value and the ‘low value’ approach to the type design. I get the childlike values and the low tech approach and to be fair to Vincent Connare, he obviously put a similar amount of effort into designing this cheeky little face as maybe one of his other well know typefaces, Trebuchet.

So why do people, particularly designers, have a total aversion to Comic Sans? It is possibly that it just looks so darn cheap. Friendly and fun, but cheap. It looks ill thought out and it just has as much finesses as a bull in a china shop.

I see it used so many times, and sometimes very subtly. But most times very poorly. The thing that makes it even worse is out the box it has the worst kerned letter pairs of any typeface I have ever used. It is clunky, badly weighted and the tone of it is just all wrong, but even as a designer I ‘love’ to hate it.

So. I got to thinking. What would a well respected logo would look like if it used Comic Sans as the basis for the construction of the logo? See my example on the header pic.You can of course see that it plain just doesn’t work. It is all wrong. As much as I spent a few hours manipulating the type, kerning and stripping bits out. The feeling just isn’t right. It doesn’t fit that particular business, or at least as much as we know of that business.

So typeface is important isn’t it? Of course it is. A well chosen typeface as just as important as a great singer choosing the wrong song to sing. If it isn’t chosen well, it will make the difference between the potential success or failure of a new brand identity or logo.

So choose wisely. With great type choice, comes great responsibility.

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