I viewed reputable websites purely in Comic Sans. The results were striking.
A couple of weeks ago, I started setting my browser to display all the text content of reputable websites in Comic Sans MS, the most hated font in the world.
The results were striking, like if you could watch C-SPAN with a “dress everybody in 1991-era neon Spandex and windbreakers” filter. I wanted more.
With a combination of in-browser editing and image editing software, I eventually made mockups of seven homepages with everything in Comic Sans—including logos, images, elements inside
iframes, and other things I wouldn’t normally have been able to change.
They’re below. Browse through them (if you dare), and click the caption at the bottom to see the full-sized version of any image.
I’m not going to pretend that I did this for any noble reason—or that I’m the first person to realize that Comic Sans is the font equivalent of a gruesome carnival accident—but I did find the exercise thought-provoking in a few ways. Here are some stray thoughts:
Your Site is Nothing Without Good Typography
It turns out that nothing else on your site matters if your typography is horrible.
It turns out that absolutely nothing else on your site matters if your typography is horrible. Cast into Sans, every one of these sites—which are actually quite spacious and well-designed—look like they were made hastily in Dreamweaver on the eve of Y2K.
This exercise reinforced the value of typography-first design, which starts with how words look on the page and builds everything—element widths, colors, layouts, etc.—from there. I’ve never built out a project that way, but I see the appeal more clearly than I did before.
Your Logo is Nothing Without Good Typography
It’s interesting how simple most logos are, and how easy they are to break with bad typography. The Wired logo, for example, is nothing but good font choices on alternating color rectangles (the Sans version of it is a personal favorite). The New Yorker logo is just good typography, nothing else.
Fonts Make Me Feel Way Different
In other words:
Serious Things that Turn Out to Feel Goofy and Harmless when Viewed in Comic Sans MS:
- “The $1,200 Machine That Lets Anyone Make a Metal Gun at Home.” In Sans, this makes me picture that machine Pee Wee Herman used to make breakfast.
- “What is the most likely diagnosis in this asymptomatic male?” Hey, fun!
- “A controversial treatment designed to remove environmental metals from the body might be effective in treating heart disease. Will one renegade doctor persuade the rest of the medical establishment to consider it?” Not if his wacky younger brother keeps messing everything up with his hijinks!
Want to Do It Yourself?
Can’t get enough Sans? Want to view sites that way yourself?
Well, unless you’ve got Photoshop or something like it, there’s no way to change text inside images (such as these sites’ logos). However, you can get most of the way there just by changing text content, which you can do by opening your browser’s responsive inspector and entering the following as a new style:
font-family: Comic Sans MS !important;
This being the internet, there are also several good browser extensions that do the job for you.
Well, that was fun! Thanks for reading. Now flush eyes thoroughly with warm water until symptoms recede.