Fonted, dead or alive

Windows XP reports that my desktop box contains 706 fonts, a figure which is somewhat misleading, inasmuch as there are six variations on, say, Goudy Old Style, plus a Goudy Stout, so-called presumably because “Goudy Absurdly Extra Freaking Bold” would have taken up too much valuable screen area in Control Panel, and that counts for seven right there.

However many fonts I may actually have, I must admit here that I have all of the seven worst fonts known to man. I need not tell you which is the worst — everybody already knows — but some of the snarky commentary is worth quoting:

Kristen ITC fans are usually elementary school teachers, childcare professionals, and other people with kid-centric jobs. These people love to employ quotes like, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old — we grow old because we stop playing,” and they really like to use a font that serves as a constant reminder that THEY HAVE NOT STOPPED PLAYING, DAMMIT! DON’T YOU SEE HOW PLAYFUL THESE LETTERS LOOK? YOU ARE TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO IS YOUNG INSIDE!

Don’t ask me why, but Viner Hand seems to have become the go-to font for angsty pre-teens and would-be goths. Well, I hate to be the one to break it to the Linkin Park fan contingent, but calligraphy is to angst what scones are to rave parties.

For those who asked: the logo font around here is in no danger of becoming criminally overused, since at small sizes it’s darn near unreadable and at large sizes it eats up all your screen space.

(Via Swirlspice.)


  1. sya »

    14 October 2006 · 2:08 pm

    I can’t believe that some scientists still use Comic Sans on their powerpoint seminar slides. Sometimes, I wish I had the guts to just stand up and say, “ARGGG! MY EYES!” no matter how scintillating the data.

  2. Francis W. Porretto »

    14 October 2006 · 2:34 pm

    I cannot have any respect for a list of “worst fonts” that doesn’t mention Zapf Dingbats.

  3. andy »

    15 October 2006 · 12:23 am

    I work for a company and therein lies a department that, in dealing with a number of external suppliers, provides a “welcome to doing business with us” presentation that calls down all sizes of Comic Sans from the first slide to the last.

    Apparently, our suppliers are overgrown children in suits or, perhaps, moderately retarded.

  4. Andrea Harris »

    15 October 2006 · 4:20 pm

    Confession time: I like four out of seven of the fonts in question — Bradley Hand, Viner Hand (which I don’t think I have, I must find it), Papyrus, and Vivaldi is pretty nice too for things like, yes, wedding invitations and other formal items. However, I would never use any of them in IMs or email or for the main body of blog posts — that’s just cruel.

    As for the others: I’ve never gotten the ire directed at Comic Sans — it’s all right, just not all that interesting. And yes, it does have the air of “preteen” about it. I call Curlz the “Mexican restaurant menu font” because that’s the sort of thing I’ve seen it used for most. Kristen is just cutesy and gross, I do agree. It looks like the sort of font kiddy-diddlers would use.

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