Which Windows font is named after a tabloid headline?


Daniel Will-Harris explains the background of several Windows fonts, including the story of where the names for some of the fonts came from. Do you know which Windows font is named after a tabloid headline about aliens?

On the topic of font history, the designer of Comic Sans, Vincent Connare, has written a bit on the font's history on Microsoft's typography site, as well as a longer discussion on his personal site.

Comments (23)
  1. Nathan says:

    I mean, that’s my font for all chat/IM programs — it is easy on the eyes to read, and a nice break from others. Sure, it may not be "professional", but I don’t write documents in it either..

  2. Kalemika says:

    Because comic sans is really, really ugly.

    I think the general gist of it is that a lot of people thing it’s ‘fun’ so whenever you see an invitation to a lousy party or something, it’s in comic sans.

  3. Mark says:

    I think the problem a lot of people have with Comic Sans is that it has a tendency to be overused. It’s great when used for kids party posters or in a cartoony style game etc. but the number of times I’ve seen it used in more serious newsletters or in university lecture slides makes me sick of the sight of it :)

    Having said that I’m a bit of a typographical nazi in many regards – I get very uppity when people mix fonts, underline titles and insert random WordArt just because the feature’s there and it looks ‘cool’…

  4. Cody says:

    I have to say that the Chalkboard vs. Comic Sans picture did nothing to convince me that Comic Sans was a "good" font because Apple "copied" it.  It’s more like Apple took the /idea/ that a fun font is useful and then designed a fun font.  The individual letters look much crisper and cleaner in Chalkboard.

    That said, however, I must state that my favorite font is Trebuchet.

  5. oliver says:

    This is slightly off-topic, but the linked page says the web fonts can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/truetype/ – but I didn’t find them there. Can anyone tell me the actual link to those fonts, or is the link just outdated?

  6. Dopefish says:

    My immigration lawyer communicates solely in Comic Sans. Should I be worried?

  7. Mr Cranky says:

    I think Georgia should be called Georgous.  I use it for almost everything that doens’t need to be fixed width (for which I use Lucida Console exclusively).  

    I don’t have much opinion on sans-serif fonts, except that in general, I avoid them where possible.

  8. VerdanaBoy says:

    > My immigration lawyer communicates solely in Comic Sans. Should I be worried?

    Not much. Better in comic sans than no communication at all!

  9. poochner says:

    My immigration lawyer communicates solely in Comic Sans. Should I be worried?

    Probably driven insane by having to deal with the INS.  If you think the I[b]R[/b]S is bad, just remember that they’re dealing mostly with citizens / voters, and the INS isn’t.  

  10. SM says:

    There’s a "fun font" I like called Jester.  Somewhat similar to comic sans (it’s comic, but it’s not a sans)

    http://www.dafont.com/jester.font

    I agree that comic sans has unfortunately become a bit cliche in the past 10 years.

  11. Aidan Thornton says:

    Microsoft’s Core fonts for the Web are no longer available from the Microsoft website, as far as I know. However, since the EULA allowed redistribution, they can be obtained from places like http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/ and the like.

  12. Ben Hutchings says:

    The Core Fonts can be installed on a Debian system (and probably most Debian-derived systems) using "apt-get install msttcorefonts", if the "contrib" section is enabled.

  13. Nick says:

    [Simply enclose any text you want to be displayed in Comic Sans with the following HTML tags. To switch on Comic Sans use <FONT FACE="Comic Sans MS"> and to switch it off use the familiar </FONT>. You can, of course, combine the FACE attribute with the COLOR and SIZE attributes.]

    That must be my problem.  All this time I’ve been using the font-family attribute of CSS. Silly me ;)

  14. Scott says:

    The write-up is from 1997, so that was just about when CSS started to get actual browser support.

  15. JM says:

    I love Georgia. Until recently it was the font I used to write code in, until Cambria came along. It sure beats that "Courier New" and "Consolas" fonts all the uncool 80-column-mindset programmers are using. :-)

    Incidentally, the TrueType shell extension that will give you tons of information on any font you right-click (including the background history of well-known fonts) is still available here: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/TrueTypeProperty21.mspx

  16. All right! I’m glad someone else uses proportional fonts for programming. I’ve been using Georgia myself for a couple of years now. I will have to try out Cambria.

    It’s shocking how many programmer’s editors fall on their faces when you try to use a proportional font. Luckily, my favorite editor, ActiveState Komodo [1] supports proportional fonts, as does Visual Studio.

    [1] http://www.activestate.com/Products/komodo_edit/

  17. Lauren Smith says:

    Where’s the love for fixed-width fonts??

    Fixedsys and Courier New forever! (I could settle for Fixedsys New and Courier Newer, though).

    I still don’t get Wingdings, though. Is there some decode procedure I’ve missed? And why are there 4, including Webdings, sets of these?

  18. Cheong says:

    Microsoft also released the tool for you to create Web fonts yourself.

    Just go search the WEFT group here.(Any new release will be found in this page.)

    http://groups.msn.com/MicrosoftWEFTuserscommunity/_homepage.msnw?pgmarket=en-us

  19. Anon says:

    The Core Fonts can be installed on a Debian system

    If you’re on GNUDebian GNU/Linux, shouldn’t you be using only GPL licensed fonts with your GNU/Iceweasel browser? You do know that non GPL software causes starvation in Kenya and the deaths of many innocent bytes, right?

    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2002-01-11-002-20-OP-0038

    Everyone knows that the GNUstallman-is-the-one-true-god bdf font collection is 900% more better than MS core fonts if you have 20/20 vision and don’t use it for more than 1 hour a week, and you get the source code, which means innocent Kenyan bytes are safe.

  20. Mark says:

    @Anon – That post has just made my day :) Thank you

  21. Miral says:

    > I still don’t get Wingdings, though. Is there some decode procedure I’ve missed? And why are there 4, including Webdings, sets of these?

    Presumably because back in the ANSI days when many of these fonts were developed, you were limited to 220ish characters per font.  (And in fact many apps are *still* back in the ANSI days…)

  22. dbt says:

    Anon/Mark: Why, microsoft was kind enough to ship fonts that allow redistribution, why should we reject their kind gift?

  23. poochner says:

    @dbt – Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

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