Hatred for Comic Sans has come to be a design cliché, everyone hates it, even if they are not sure what makes it such an infuriating typeface. While its design is less eminent than that of, say Gotham or Bembo just to pick two examples out of a hundred, it is the consistent overuse and misuse, appearing in the unlikeliest of contexts, of Comic Sans that makes it so unbearable. Because if you consider its name — comic — and original intended use — as a typeface used in speech bubbles for a Microsoft application — the design makes perfect sense and is contextually appropriate. Nonetheless, designers and amateur Comic Sans haters have continually bashed the poor typeface.
While perusing Flickr to find examples of it in use I was heavily amused to find out that, other than Helvetica’s whopping 11,000-plus images, Comic Sans is the most commonly tagged typeface with slightly more than 1,700 results. Among them you can find examples of the sheer ubiquity and randomness of its applications, from ATM user interfaces to lady underwear with the words “Bite Me!” across the butt. Somewhere around result page number ten I stumbled across the image below, which took my breath away — not because it is the most beautiful design I have ever seen, far from it, but because it was the first time that I have seen Comic Sans used well, even cool.
The image, which you can see bigger here, is part of the collection of Spanish Flickr user ocascsms, a semi-acronym for Organización Contra el Abuso de la Comic sans (Organization Against the Abuse of Comic Sans), showcasing the packaging for the Aneto 100% Natural stocks, a Spanish company producing ecologically conscious and natural yummy stocks. If you are curious, here is an ad for their paella stock.
So, as I mentioned, these packages are not extraordinarily designed, and would fall under the snobbish description of low-brow design. The combination of Comic Sans, with the simple and matter-of-fact illustrations and the picnic tablecloth backgrounds, all in earthy colors come together to form a very interesting set of packages that bring a smile to my face. Comic Sans has long been considered the exception to the “There’s no such thing as a bad font, merely a font badly used” adage but, as the Aneto stocks demonstrate, Comic Sans can be properly used.