Best and Worst Fonts for Homemade Designs

Love making holiday cards and simple digital designs by yourself? Here are some great replacements for the fonts graphic designers love to hate.

Fonts. They can ruin an otherwise perfect piece of work. They can, however, also make something “meh” into a “Wow!”. Whether you’re a design enthusiast who likes the DIY approach or an amateur who likes making customized birthday cards and posters, here are some fonts you should avoid at all costs (and what you can replace them with).

THE BAD: Comic Sans

1 - Comic Sans

You probably shouldn’t be too surprised seeing Comic Sans in this list. Before we get to the negative side, let’s get the positives out of the way. Yes, it’s a free and casual style font that isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Yes, it is also one of the few fonts approved for use for Dyslexics by the the British Dyslexia Association (BDA).

That’s great, until suddenly everyone decides to use it for everything. Yup – even the police.

Comic sans is undoubtedly the most infamous font out of them all. One of the reasons why many people seem to find it weird or unpleasant is because it falls right into the uncanny valley. It comes really close to what a person’s handwriting could look like, yet it’s obviously not real. The childish and playful appearance of the font also play a huge role here. Websites like comicsanscriminal.com and bancomicsans.com explain this very well. Believe it or not, there are also lots of other fonts that are suitable for dyslexics that actually look nice, clean and professional. For me, this means that big companies like Starbucks really have no excuse for using the font whatsoever.

The bottom line? Yes, it’s okay to use Comic Sans in actual comic strips, in works meant for young children and when presenting information to a group of dyslexics. But please, PLEASE don’t use it on official documents, serious presentations, signs, posters, album art, signatures etc.

THE GOOD: Digital Strip

1 - Digital Strip

If you think Comic Sans is unsuitable even for it’s main purpose, comics, here’s an alternative. A proper and good looking font for making comics. Nice, punchy and contently playful. Although comic sans is okay to use for comic books there’s still a likelihood of over-analytic designers to spot the font and burn down your comic book studio. You never know – better safe than sorry!

On the serious side – Digital Strip looks like the slightly more mature brother of Comic Sans. It keeps the rounded edges of each letter and retains a nice and bold look. It feels kind of like the font used in Marvel comic books, except it’s a bit thicker.

So there you go – if you want or need to put Captain America in your next design piece this is the font.

Download Digital Strip

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  1. Blissful1  

    Wow!. Talk about a font snob! I do have a bit of a background in design. No, I’m definitely not a ‘font aficionado’. But, with the exception of the hard to read font choices you made, your opinion is just that! An opinion. And yes, I’ve heard this dribble from some other graphic designers. You’re kind of like fashion designers who state, “that hemline is so awful! You should be ashamed to be seen!” Times change and personal taste if just that – personal taste. Come on! At one time, these ‘bad’ fonts you chose were popular. Microsoft would not have bundled them had they not been market tested. Yes, comic sans is sometimes inappropriately used and to be sure, overused. But I am sorely puzzled as to why you would think ‘Georgia Italic’ is an appropriate substitute for ‘Papyrus’. GI is not stylistically similar, it has a familiarity to a script font, so readability is not really improved if used in anything other than a title line. I can hear you now – this person has no education. They don’t understand the concept I’m trying to get across. Yes…yes I do. I just feel this is opinion – not fact, and therefore of no educational use to graphic designers.

  2. prettydarkskinnedgirl  

    I’ve never liked Colona MT but I always thought it was trying to make the letters look multi-dimensional which could be why it’s popular with some for design purposes. The fact that different folks see different things when looking at it, is enough of a reason for it not to be used for mainstream design though.

  3. any font is a suitable substitute for comic sans.

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