Thursday, August 7, 2008

Take your font and shove it.

Today I went off on someone at work over a font.

A few years ago, it was excusable to go off on someone over the Comic Sans font. It was everywhere. And unless you were a daycare or a school, you had no business using Comic Sans. In anything. It was tacky, and overused, and it made no rational sense to use Comic Sans. Unless you were a child, in which case you still should've been scolded and sent to the corner.

Today, that font is Papyrus. It's everywhere. And unless you're a salon or Egyptian, you have no business using Papyrus. It's become so prolific, in fact, that's it parodies itself.

A non-profit has me working on a banner for a golf outing. The organizer asked if I could use Papyrus in the banner since "that is what the rest of our golf lit uses."

Excuse me, but a golf outing does not call for the dusted, desert-ish, foreign-looking font. This is golf tees and carts and cases of beer - not the fucking sphynx.

Here's my response:
I'm sorry, but I am philosophically opposed to Papyrus font.

Not kidding - I really think you should consider another one, even if you donít like mine. Look around town sometime and tell me how many places use it. Everyone uses it.

I can see it for salons or if youíre doing something Egyptian. Otherwise, we can be more creative than that.

My two cents.
Not as harsh as I had it in my head, but keeping my cool over issues like font usage is a big step for me. Especially when the goddamn font is Papyrus.

In this age of everyone's-a-designer, mysterious and stylish mutants like Papyrus come along every few years and dash any hope of progress or enlightenment in our dark age. I found instances of Comic Sans used throughout our corporate intranet, and I puked blood for a week straight. It's horrific, and barbaric, to use a child-like font like Comic Sans anywhere other than where it's intended. But thanks to cretins like Microsoft Word, Comic Sans and its playful style was unleashed upon the world with no consideration of common sense or taste.

And now that Papyrus is out there - even on fucking real estate signs - there is little hope of stemming the tide. Little hope, that is, until some other useless fucking font comes along and steals the spotlight. Like Chinese character tattoos ("hope," "dreams," and "creativity" - that last one's ironic - permanently in Mandarin text) or those little Calvin windshield stickers, where he's pissing on something, the American sensibility can't handle anything that's mass-marketable enough to be placed on stationary or logos or, Jesus Merciful God, body parts in mass quantity.

So it goes with Papyrus. Most probably hope to appear edgy or, even during wartime, desert-dwelling enough to be considered innovative and stylish. It doesn't work, because everyone else thinks the same goddamn thing - and then the whole thing becomes cliche.

Papyrus is the trans fat of the design world, and should be limited to graphic projects that involve mummies, camels, or maybe a kangaroo somewhere.

But a golf outing? Don't you know what the Egyptians did to the Jews?

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