Good Fonts Gone Bad

Comic Sans & Copperplate have now left the building.

For the record, I have nothing against Comic Sans and Copperplate. Once upon a time they were lovely, lovely fonts. So shiny and full of potential.

Then, every time someone wanted to emphasize a quote, they used Comic Sans. When the vibe was playful Comic Sans showed up to party.

Banks and corporations staked a claim on Copperplate. They wanted Copperplate for their logos and annual reports. Drive by your bank today and chances are the sign out front is typeset in Copperplate.

Overexposed Fonts

Comic Sans and Copperplate, along with quite a few other fonts, suffer from extreme overexposure. Because of that, many professional designers, me included, won’t use them in design. They are no longer considered professional.

As famous fonts (and celebrities) do, Comic Sans and Copperplate have now retired and are sipping margaritas in Mexico. Rumors are they may never come back to the U.S.

They aren’t the first, or last, fonts to fall out of fashion. So what do we do when fonts retire? We find new ones of course!

Finding Better Fonts

There are many, many sites offering free fonts. However, the projects I work on are all commercial endeavors (logos, headers, print pieces, etc.) so I prefer to work with fonts that are professionally created. Some of these fonts are offered for free. Most have to be purchased.

Professional fonts differ from many of the free fonts in two key ways.

1. Professional fonts offer a full range of characters and glyphs. This is better for me because they include copyright marks, other symbols and accented characters like the â in château.

2. Professional fonts are formatted correctly to work with the full range of graphic design software programs
I use and to work with the software professional printers use. I don’t have to worry about Illustrator not recognizing the font or my printer calling with a font issue.

Two great places to start exploring fonts are:

Hand-picked free, commercial use fonts.

Easy searches for commercial fonts. Great tools to help you identifying fonts you’ve seen elsewhere.

Comic Sans and Copperplate were last seen on a beach in Mexico. I’d like to join them there soon and I’ve promised not to talk design!