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The One Case Where Comic Sans Is Actually Useful

Mental Floss logo Mental Floss 12/6/2017 Michele Debczak

Poking fun at Comic Sans in 2017 doesn’t show much originality. Over its 20-year history, the font has been the punchline of a practical joke, the target of a violent video game, and the subject of a campaign calling for its eradication. But a recent essay published by The Establishment argues there’s more to the typeface than its goofy appearance suggests. Comic Sans is actually one of the easiest fonts for dyslexic readers to decipher, thanks in large part to many of the same reasons it’s mocked by designers.

The One Case Where Comic Sans Is Actually Useful © iStock The One Case Where Comic Sans Is Actually Useful

Dyslexia makes it hard for people with the disorder to interpret the text in front of them. Telling certain letters apart can be a challenge, especially when a typeface recycles the same handful of shapes over and over again. Comic Sans is notorious for its inconsistent form, and that’s why it’s a favorite among dyslexic readers. Describing the experience of her dyslexic sister, Lauren Hudgins writes for The Establishment:

The irregular shapes of the letters in Comic Sans allow her to focus on the individual parts of words. While many fonts use repeated shapes to create different letters, such as a p rotated to made a q, Comic Sans uses few repeated shapes, creating distinct letters.

The Dyslexia Association of Ireland and the British Dyslexia Association both endorse the font for its readability. Other less derided fonts recommended by the British Dyslexia Association include Arial, Veranda, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Calibri, and Trebuchet. One font you definitely won’t see praised in dyslexic communities is Times New Roman. The abundance of serifs marking the characters make the font, in Hudgins’s words, "truly villainous."

[h/t Science of Us]

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