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The Cavs owner's biggest mistake: Comic Sans

Posted by Christopher Shea  July 9, 2010 11:11 AM

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So what struck you most about the "open letter" from Dan Gilbert, the majority owner of the Cavaliers, in response to LeBron James's decision to go to Miami? Was it the generally vicious ad hominem nature of the rhetoric? The specific references to a "shameful display of selfishness and betrayal" and to "cowardly" behavior by the former Cleveland god? Maybe the bold pledge that the Cavs will bring home championship "hardware" before Miami does?

All noteworthy. What caught the eye of designers, however, whether they were laughing or despairing, was the font Gilbert chose for his announcement: Comic Sans, widely viewed as the most aesthetically egregious typeface on the planet. The Globe, mercifully, didn't reproduce the font when it printed the letter, but you can read the original here.


nocomicsans-150x150.jpgThe back story: Comic Sans was created in-house at Microsoft, specifically for use in cartoonish talk bubbles providing information to users in a jocular manner. That project was soon abandoned, but the font spread like a virus, to the point where some designers have called for its world-wide ban. Its inventor, Vincent Connare, has long since disowned it.

The site Ban Comic Sans recently posted the inevitable "Downfall" remix, in which Hitler learns that his generals have selected the preposterous font for a propaganda campaign. He is not happy. And in a remarkably quick-footed bit of booking, the radio host Brian Lehrer seems to have landed Connare for his show today, to talk about his monstrous progeny.

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