Comic sans comically rears its head during LeBron spectacle.
The spectacle surrounding LeBron James’ nationally televised decision to leave Cleveland for South Beach had something for everyone, including graphic designers and aesthetes. After LeBron’s LeBum’s announcement, Dan Gilbert, the jilted majority owner of James’ former team the Cavaliers, wrote an open letter tirade on the Cavs website which had the Internet and Twitterites abuzz (currently a top trending topic) not only for the content, which called his former star “narcissistic,” “heartless and callous” but for the particular infamous and comical typeface Gilbert used. Journalist Jennifer 8. Lee (yes, her middle name is awesomely a number) tweeted this older WSJ article about Vincent Connare, the creator of Comic Sans, the much used and equally hated typeface popular not only in “grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer,” but also with owners of professional basketball teams.
In 1994, Mr. Connare was working on a team at Microsoft creating software that consumers eventually would use on home PCs. His designer’s sensibilities were shocked, he says, when, one afternoon, he opened a test version of a program called Microsoft Bob for children and new computer users. The welcome screen showed a cartoon dog named Rover speaking in a text bubble. The message appeared in the ever-so-sedate Times New Roman font.
Mr. Connare says he pulled out the two comic books he had in his office, “The Dark Knight Returns” and “Watchmen,” and got to work, inspired by the lettering and using his mouse to draw on a computer screen. Within a week, he had designed his legacy.