Comic Sans by Vincent Connare.

Why Comic Sans?

Comic Sans was designed because when I was working at Microsoft I received a beta version of Microsoft Bob. It was a comic software package that had a dog called Rover at the beginning and he had a balloon with messages using Times New Roman.

Microsoft Bob

Comic Sans was NOT designed as a typeface but as a solution to a problem with the often overlooked part of a computer program's interface, the typeface used to communicate the message.

There was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children when I designed Comic Sans. The inspiration came at the shock of seeing Times New Roman used in an inappropriate way.

The designers and engineers at Microsoft spent lots of time drawing and coding the interface for MS Bob with comic characters but didn't bother to use a cartoon or comic font. I thought that was wrong and started to look at two comic books I happened to have in my office. I had been working with the Creative Writer team in the Consumer division at the same time supplying them with fonts for Kids software, things like fonts looking like Pizza, monsters and ones with snow. There was a need for these fun fonts at Microsoft at the time.

Microsoft Home

I started with the font drawing software Macromedia Fontographer, trying to make the capitals in a similar form as the lettering used in DC, Marvel and all other company's comic books. The Dark Knight Returns a Batman book was one of the books I referenced often. I took care not to copy the letters but looked at varying shapes in different styles. Also most samples only used capital letters so I had little reference for them. I printed it out so that the weight was about the weight of the Marvel and DC books. I looked at the varying letterforms that each book had since all the letters vary because they are manually written.

I used Fontographer's drawing path tool and used rounded corners and drew the letters over and over again in the program until I got the shape I wanted.

I made a quick version for MS Bob and had to call the font Times New Roman for them to test the font. The problem was the software was finished and they had all the dialog boxes and balloons space out for the metrics of Times New Roman. My font was larger than Times New Roman and it would have to match the metrics of the program for them to use it , so they couldn't use the font at that time.

I finished the font by adding a lowercase and it was eventually picked up by another application, MS Movie Maker a similar application using cartoon characters. The original working name was Comic Book but this was a silly name and it was later changed to Comic Sans since most of the letters were of the San serif style. Some of the simple forms such as the Capital I has serifs to distinguish it form the lowercase L.

Comic Sans was shown with other fonts to Program Managers at Microsoft and was then included in the Windows 95 Plus Pack that was a supplemental product to Windows 95. Later a Project Manager decided to include Comic Sans into the list of system fonts for the OEM versions of Windows 95. This was after I included basic support for Greek and Cyrillic. Finally it was added with Trebuchet, Webdings and Verdana as additional fonts to the Windows System fonts for the original Internet Explorer.

Now it is part of the Microsoft Windows system fonts.


Because it's sometimes better than Times New Roman, that's why.

Or at least Apple thinks so. Comic Sans is the default font in Apple's iCards on the web when it was first released.

Chalk or Cheese?


All text on this page is copyright 2003 by Vincent Connare. All rights reserved. No comments are those of Microsoft Corporation and are of those of the author.

Comic Sans, Trebuchet, Webdings available in TTF and PS!


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