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With the growing rate of the everyday average person being computer-savvy (particularly on publisher/word) at an all time high, designers have been faced with a horrible realization… a mistake was made somewhere along the way when the everyday user was given far too many font options.

There seems to be a miscommunication on which fonts are appropriate for use and when you should and shouldn’t use them. There are a lot of of fonts out there that should probably never be used and they all seem to end up being the most easily accessible ones. This is a list of the top 5 fonts that we suggest you don’t use. Being designers faced with this dilemma, and being inherent problem solvers, we had to ask ourselves: How do we get misinformed people to stop using bad fonts? We inform them!

The top 5 fonts we wouldn’t let our friends use and the reasons we aren’t fans. Without further adieu…




Font: Comic Sans

Described by those not in the professional design industry: Whimsical. Cute. Friendly.

The truth about Comic Sans: It’s far too casual – and, sadly, just plain ugly. Because it’s available to anyone with a computer and the ability to use a drop-down font menu via word or publisher, this font is horribly overused (plus used in the wrong context) too many times.

But I think the biggest issue with Comic Sans is that it is only mildly appropriate for the use of ONE THING: a comic strip. How often is the everyday person illustrating a comic strip? You wouldn’t use a font made out of Santa for anything other then something having to do with the Holidays, right? ( Really you should never use a font made of Santa for anything, either… but that’s a whole other rant we wont get into).

Case in point: You know it’s bad when there’s a website (+ potential documentary) { http://bancomicsans.com } dedicated to the hatred + banning of a typeface.


Font: Papyrus

Described by those not in the professional design industry: Organic. Calm.

The Truth about Papyrus: Again, horribly overused and unfortunately available to everyone.

Papyrus is the font with no personality of it’s own – it tries to work for everyone. You may recognize Papyrus and instantly think of: spa services, church services, Asian restaurants, anything related to Egypt, anything related to animals,  construction companies, furniture companies, jewelry companies, paper companies, random flyers or posters, The Crocodile Hunter, Avatar (don’t even get me started on how angry that made me), anything poetry related… You get the picture, right?

A font should evoke a certain emotion. It should make you feel or think one thing, not one hundred.

If you want your company / flyer / event / logo to be different or better yet, personable – please don’t use Papyrus.

Case in point: Be the change, people!

( If you’d like more evidence of the over-usage of papyrus there’s also a website dedicated to that: papyruswatch.com )


Font: Brush Script

Generally used for: award plaques or sports teams, or anything going for that ‘vintage’ appeal.

The truth about Brush Script: Perhaps this font is misunderstood. I kind of feel bad for Brush Script, because it isn’t so much a “horrible” font as it is just dated and like the rest of these fonts, overused. There are plenty of other hand-done script font styles out there that are a little easier on the eyes and a lot less common then this one.

Case in point: You probably don’t need to use Brush Script, even if it is misunderstood.



Font: Bradley Hand

Described by those not in the professional design industry: Friendly. Girly. Fun.

The Truth about Bradley Hand: It kinda looks like Papyrus’s handwritten spunky cousin… and you already know how we feel about Papyrus. It’s got that ‘rough edge’ that people love, but that horribly kerned and awkwardly young style that designers love to hate.

What is it about cursive fonts that people are so drawn to? This is one of the many handwriting fonts that has lost it’s charm after years of abuse at the hands of young teen girls’s personal online profiles. It’s most commonly seen in pink and it seems to be quite popular with the sorority sisters.

Case in point: If you want it look handwritten, just write it or you could just pick a better font, there are a plethora of ‘handwritten” style fonts out there. We can point you in the right direction!


Font: Zapfino

Described by those not in the professional design industry: Fancy. Elegant.

The Truth about Zapfino: Overused, Hard to read, Inappropriate, Not Elegant, Dated.

The letterforms are inconsistent and dramatic and it’s just plain awkward to work with.

When Andy Warhol said “Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”, I think he was referring to Zapfino.

Case in point: Zapfino was created in 1998. It’s time is up, we’re now in 2011 – let’s all move on!

In conclusion, bad fonts happen to good people. If you or one of your friends has used one of these fonts – it’s okay… we’re not mad. But maybe next time you’re helping create a flyer or picking a font for your email signature and you find yourself going for any one of these fonts, just remember: we wouldn’t let our friends use these, and you’re our friend.  And for the everyday use,  Helvetica is usually a good choice!

If you need help creating a logo, flyer, postcard or email signature and want to make sure things look spiffy, contact Classic Ink. (406.587.9655 or mandy@classicink.biz)