Today is the anniversary of the release of Windows 95.
The operating system was a pretty big deal for PCs in its time, and it paved the the way for one of the most divisive typefaces of all time.
This is the story of Comic Sans.
Most people don’t have strong feelings about typography, but Comic Sans has certainly had its share of haters (and a few lovers) since its release as part of a Windows 95 add on.
It was designed by Microsoft’s Vincent Connare, at a time when the company was developing typefaces for lots of different programs.
There was Microsoft Publisher, the Encarta encyclopedia, and a program called Microsoft Bob, which was supposed to help kids learn how to use computers.
The virtual assistant in Microsoft Bob was a little dog named Rover, which spoke in thought balloons.
Connare thought having the dog speak in the standard Times New Roman typeface looked a little too formal.
So he designed a typeface that was supposed to look sort of like very basic handwriting, for an interface meant for kids.
That’s what people on the internet have been mocking all these years.
Connare, for his part, has said even given that backlash, he’s happy with the typeface because it worked well for what it was intended to do.
He said in a 2017 interview that he’d only used Comic Sans one time, to send a complaint letter when he couldn’t get his broadband internet switched over the way he wanted.
And that letter got him a 10 pound refund.
Good design can make people’s lives better.
Ask the King family in Maryland.
Chelsie King, a schoolteacher, wanted her husband Jeremy, who uses a wheelchair, to be able to take their new baby on walks while using the stroller.
Her colleague Matt Zigler and his technology students designed the WheeStroll, which uses aluminum pipes and 3D printed brackets to securely bring wheelchair and stroller together.
How we made the typeface Comic Sans (The Guardian)
The Story Behind Comic Sans (Fonts.com)
Students adapt wheelchair to allow teacher’s husband to take baby for a walk after brain surgery (CBS News)
Our Patreon backers are like a great typeface: sleek, sophisticated and helpful