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In the Making

Why We Love to Hate Comic Sans and the Return of Fonts with Personality

In the Making
In the Making

If Comic Sans showed up at a house party, would it be welcome or shown the door? In this episode, the Wireframe team parties down with a wild array of fonts, good and bad, to learn about the rise of novelty typefaces like Comic Sans and the proliferation of the now all-too-familiar geometric sans serif typeface. They’ll find out what the popularity of these fonts says about how we think about the role of typography in today’s world. And they’ll also talk to some exciting new type designers who think that it’s time for a new chapter in the story of type, one that reflects a richer, more diverse set of voices. Join host Khoi Vinh, and producers Pippa Johnstone and Dominic Girard as they explore the personalities of the typefaces we know and love and ideas that are influencing what we’ll see next.

Emma Tucker is a Comic Sans apologist. She’s a senior writer and deputy editor at Creative Review, and believes there’s a time and a place for this font. Though she’s noticing how its “time and place” has become more subversive and cynical than before.

Next, Stephen Coles is a major expert on type. He’s the co-publisher of Fonts in Use and Typographica and editorial director at Letterform Archive. He explains how Comic Sans’s rise made sense, and follows up with an argument for why design is ready to embrace more expressive fonts, and not fear personality so much.

Then, young independent type designers introduce us to a pair of fonts they’ve created that embrace personality and expression in very personal ways. Tré Seals is the founder of Vocal Type - and we hear about how he made his Martin font, and its connection to the American Civil Rights era. Lynne Yun, of Space Type Continuum, introduces us to her “earthy and bold” font, Ampersandist. Both of these designers explain how they find creative reward, and liberty, in type design.

Other fonts mentioned in this episode: Times New Roman, Impact, Arial, Comic Sans, Calibri, Garamond, Windsor, Cooper Black, Roboto and Wingdings. And here's an excellent resource of comic book style alternatives to the font we love to hate.

Find a transcript to this episode here.

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