Typography is the foundation of any layout. Innovative use of fonts can give even the most ordinary designs a facelift. While we don’t claim to be “typophiles”, we do know from years of graphic design experience for innovative brands that there are some fonts out there you should always steer clear of. Here’s our agency’s list of the top five worst typefaces, that should never again see the light of day. We’ve compiled this list for fun, so please don’t take too much offense if you’ve ever been tempted to use them. In addition, to balance this list out, we will post our Top 5 Favorite fonts soon.
In Order of Typographic Disdain:
5. Bleeding Cowboys – There’s a new sheriff in town. This font was recently added to our list as well as many other designers’ when it gained “overused” status around 2009. It’s a go-to grunge font for those who missed the grunge era. The font has very effeminate swooshes and flourishes that counteract its grunginess, making it just seem plain out of place. Like others on this list, it’s just a very obvious font and too easy to recognize for any designer to seriously consider using it.
4. Times New Roman – The default font of Word. Enough said. Any designer who uses a default font is lazy. Myriad Pro is the default font of Adobe Illustrator, and much too often overused as well, but it’s actually a decent font. So TNR takes the cake. Hello, the 1990’s are calling, they want their typeface back.
3. Scriptina – Especially around the holiday months, Scriptina rears its (pleasantly) ugly head. Almost every “Happy Holidays” stock design you see on those vector sites will feature this typeface. It’s actually a very nice font, but because of its overuse, it just has to make the list. Please don’t let Scriptina be the fairy that steals Christmas or you’ll have an angry Grinch on your hands.
2. Comic Sans – This font isn’t even fit for a comic book. I’ve yet to ever see Marvel, DC, or any other reputable comic use this font, so why should you? This font doesn’t look like handwriting enough to be useful, nor is it childish looking enough for children’s work, and your grandfather didn’t even think it was cool way back then. One colleague of ours recently commented, “When I think of Comic Sans… I think of flyers for Yard Sales and Lost Dogs.” She couldn’t have been more right.
And the winner is……
1. Papyrus – How we loath Papyrus, let us count the ways. Designing for an Asian health spa? Use Papyrus. Want that African out-of-the-jungle look? Use Papyrus. Need that Middle Eastern flare? Use Papyrus. Listen folks, Papyrus should not be your new Thai restaurant’s logo choice.
Somehow this font became the only foreign looking font you need. It was a Mac default font at least as far back as our Cube (still the coolest computer we ever owned), and it has been the go-to “exotic looking” font of every crummy, tasteless designer’s arsenal since. When Wikipedia says, “Papyrus is often used where an antique look is desired, such as coffee shop or church flyer,” it is basically screaming at you to never use this for a coffee shop or church flyer!
We hope you liked our list, or at least were entertained. Feel free to add your own most hated fonts below in the comment section. You can also feel free to defend these fonts, if you dare.
If you want to check out some work that comes out of our design studio that will never use these fonts, please check out Shake’s graphic design and branding portfolio.