There are a number of typefaces that are disliked by many people, often for a variety of reasons.
- Some simply dislike the look of a particular font. Sometimes their loathing focuses on just a few characters of the entire typeface. Sometimes it is one particular variant that irks them.
- Familiarity breeds contempt: any typeface that becomes popular risks being reviled sooner or later, at least by designers who have to stare at them all day. This explains why some of the fonts that get mentioned on this page also appear in the list of 100 best fonts.
- Most people seem to hate any font that gets grossly overused or that appears a lot in the wrong type of jobs. Abuse typically seems to happen with the default fonts that ship with operating systems.
Below are the worst fonts according to a November 2008 poll on this site. The list starts with the undisputed leader, the most hated font in the world. I have included quotes from various web pages.
“The AOL of fonts”
“Comic Sans is the dirt bastard of the design world.”
“An e-mail written in this font makes the sender seem ridiculous and out of touch.”
“I honestly think when I see Comic Sans that the person has a lower than average intelligence level.”
“It’s not that it’s a terrible font – it’s rather that it suits non-designers far better than those with a sense of the aesthetic would like.”
“Arial is little more than a shameless impostor.”
“Arial’s ubiquity is not due to its beauty. It’s actually rather homely.”
If you’re working in a medium where you’re not restricted to certain fonts, and you’re considering using Arial – don’t.”
“Arial is the poster child for the general typographic decline of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.“
“Very corny and boring”
“I just avoid when I can.”
“It’s simply bad, ugly, and makes me nervous when I see it.”
“I cannot look at Times New Roman without automatically assuming that it is a placeholder font, waiting to be replaced by something appropriate for the text.“
“Brush Script is a useful tool for identifying morons. It is the typeface equivalent of the backward-worn baseball cap.”
“dull, unimaginative, plain”
“Courier always reminds me of sending a job to the printer and forgetting to include the fonts.”
“Papyrus: The official cool font for those who know nothing about typography.”
“I was an early user of Papyrus. I used it a lot for a long time. These days I hate it just like the rest of you.”
“When I visited my brother in South Dakota last year, nearly every billboard or pamphlet at the Rushmore Memorial Center used Comic Sans or Papyrus…. Ugh, barf.”
“I’m branding myself with this font. My website has to be in Papyrus! The text and everything!”
“I hate Helvetica. It is everywhere. No more Helvetica, please!!!!! It is sooooooo boring.”
“I have never used it because of its stiff and kind of aseptic character.“
“Helvetica is the Bluejeans-Sans Serif for the daily worker.”
Other fonts that get on some people’s nerves include Avant Garde, Curlz MT, DIN, Hobo, ITC Garamond, Optima, and Souvenir.
A special mention should go to freeware fonts in general. There are beautifully designed typefaces that you can download for free, but there is also a lot of crap with incomplete character sets or badly drawn glyphs.
Of course, a careless designer can make any text or typeface appear bad.
“There are no bad typefaces, just bad designers”
“Hello, my name is David and I am a font abuser…”
“The fonts aren’t the problem, it’s the idiots using them badly that make us all cringe”
If you’re interested in other pages about unpopular fonts, try the one on America’s most fonted or this rant about 5 terrible fonts. Last but not least, there are fonts from hell. Techmeme also has an interesting forum post about unpopular fonts such as Comic Sans. To finish off here is one of Wondermark‘s beautiful cartoons on the subject.
49 thoughts on “Most hated fonts”
What’s the best font to use for a novel?
Serif fonts help with readability, and are therefore preferable in the body of a book. The “serif” is the decorative stroke that finishes each end of a letter (think Times Roman). Serif fonts are easier on the reader’s eye than sans-serif fonts; the stroke leads the reader’s eye from one letter to the next.
That is a theory that often pops up, but are there actually studies that prove this?
How is comic sans bad? I really hate times new roman and arial though.
Oh, the irony. This site is in Arial.
No, it isn’t. Open Sans is used for the body text and Delicious Heavy Regular for all titles. Your browser may use Arial, however, if it is configured to stick to its default fonts.
I have heard that Arial is the most easily read font if you are dyslexic. So simplicity has its uses.
Also Comic Sans Neue by Craig Rozynski, 2014 keeps the light-hearted look but avoids the silliness of Comic Sans (1994).
I’d never given dyslexia any thought in picking fonts. Thanks for drawing my attention to it. The general guideline indeed seems to be to use sans serif fonts, such as Arial. There doesn’t seem to be any specific reason, however, to limit one’s choice to Arial. Character, inter-word, and line spacing should be wider than normal. Some dyslexic readers need larger type sizes. You should avoid underlining, italics, small caps, and the excessive use of uppercase letters.
There is a dedicated typeface for dyslexics appropriately called OpenDyslexic. You can find it here: https://opendyslexic.org
My wife has dyslexia & confirmed that the OpenDyslexic font is far easier for her to read than other fonts. Arial is one of the easier to read fonts for her, also Comic Sans. Ironically, the standard font that I tend to use the most, Verdana, is not easy for her to read; therefore emails, documents, Excel spreadsheets & the like which she may need to read I will format in Arial for her. Except for titles, those are formatted in Endor or Horst Blackletter. Sometimes Metal Macabre.
I looked up Metal Macabre and it is what one would expect, given its name 🙂 Pretty funky, but not exactly easy to read, at least not for me.
Loved reading this! Comic Sans and Papyrus are definitely #1 and #2 on my most disliked fonts list. Arial, Times New Roman and Helvetica are overly used because they are clean, easy to read and widely available which I can’t hold against them. My biggest font pet peeves: too many fonts and innapropriate fonts – like typing your resume in brush script or an entire email in Papyrus – I actually know someone who has set her default email font to Papyrus. PAPYRUS! You know how dizzying it is to read whole papragraphs typed in Papyrus?
Most young designers imitate what is popular. Thus, the overuse of Papyrus. I cringe every time I see it, and have seen a want ad asking to see portfolios with the disclaimer: “…and NO Papyrus!”
A font I love but is way overused is Bank Gothic. (Please, Hollywood, stop ruining this font by using in so many movie trailers.) How about we as designers all agree to use our creativity, go the extra mile and explore the perfect appropriate “typeface” for the subject matter… that’s not trendy.
I came here out of disgust for one very much overused and extremely hard to read font: TIMES NEW ROMAN, and every variant of it, seemingly designed to be looked at letter by letter instead of a means to convey actual content.
The problem is, all these sharp points and narrow lines are illegible unless you have 30/20 vision and unless it is reproduced on high resolution media such as is used in high quality books.
On anything else such as computer monitors or regular office printers it makes the text harder to read. A much better choice would be something inherently clean like Tahoma, Verdana or ITC Officina Sans. And if you prefer Serif fonts, give Rockwell or ITC Officina Serif a try. Your eyes will be grateful you did and you may even find yourself much more productive in the bargain.
dumbest blog post ever
I live in a condo building, and our condo president insists on using Papyrus for all his official letters and communications to the residents. It’s tacky, illegible, and pompous.
It’s fine for me if someone wants to use it for frivolous personal communication, but it has no place in business communication!
Arial and Helvetica are readable. They are servicable. It makes sense to use them. We can all read them. They are clear and legible.
If you want a horrible typeface, just experience the ‘new’ yahoo pages.
The font used is grainy on many of my devices, and plain unreadable on a few more.
Had they stuck with Arial/Helvetica, there would be no problem.
It sucks. It is difference for difference’s sake. The new typeface actually further erodes yahoo’s usefulness (as though that were possible).
I’m not really interested in how “old” a typeface is, or how “uncool” it is.
I, like many others, just want fonts that are legible on all devices.
Seem yahoo are incapable of even this simple task.
No wonder they are close to dead.
Wow – no font seems to have got more hate comments than Arial, and horrible Times Roman didn’t draw enough! In my experience, no fonts which don’t belong under the art category look more sloppy and tedious to read. It causes some letters to apparently merge due to horribly wrong spacing adjustment, and sometimes it appears that you forgot the space between a couple of words when it’s really just been made inappropriately narrow by due to bad font design! If you want your documents to be readable, and you don’t want to develop a reputation as officious jerk, leave this font for the legal sharks who use this font so that you WON’T read what they write! Don’t be a clown either – ignore the Arial detractors and use that font because it’s just plain readable!
Who ever thinks ‘din’ is boring, take a look at jetblue web site.
really? you think typeface is trivial? Folks who just read brochures and business cards have no idea the amount of time that went into deciding the font that should be used. There are actually rules about using fonts/typeface. When the rules are broken, it’s either brilliant or makes someone put down your brochure or business card without you even understanding why. It’s so important. Those who feel a typeface is trivial (!) might not be an actual designer? By the way, I have had training but do not have any collegiate experience with design but even I understand the importance of using the correct font at the correct time.
I had a client once who used comic sans on EVERYTHING — business cards, brochures, website etc. Finally I had to tell her that if she didn’t agree to change her default business font, I could not keep her as a client. I didn’t want my name attached to all of her creepy looking business files. She went out of business. I blame comic sans in part. lol. great site btw.
What kind of fool works up to an emotion as strong as ‘hate’ over something as trial as a typeface?
Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!
If it weren’t so tragic, I would be amused by signage (or anything else) rendered in all caps in a chancery or other script typeface. Why does anyone allow this to occur? certainly they can’t even read their own handiwork.
I’m typing this comment in “Courier New”, and soon – if not moderated and got deleted – will be appeared on the list in “Arial”.
Btw. why would you hate those two typefaces when you are still using it on this website. Isn’t it ironic?
In the prepressure.com CSS we find this entry:
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Georgia, Sans-Serif;
background: #666 url(images/bg_body.gif);
So the preferred body font for this web site is the second most hated in the list…
LOL…. but I don’t say on the above page that I personally hate Arial. I only document that a number of people dislike that typeface.
That being said, if I ever get around to updating the design of this site there is a good chance that I will replace Arial by a web font that has a bit more of a distinct look to it.
the first thing i do when i install windows is to delete comic sans..
the second thing i do is uninstall IE, after i use it to download Chrome xD
Beauty is, and always will be, in the eye of the beholder. Fanaticism (for or against anything) is the sign of a narrow mind. Oh! I’m so distressed! I cannot find a way to change the font that I am using to respond! It’s so horrible! It has just ruined my day……
Very interesting read for a non-designer. I’m a screenwriter by trade, and Courier is the default font for scripts (I’ve always found it boring!) By “default” I mean that you look like a rank amateur if you use anything else — interesting that such an ugly type is the industry standard!
What’s more important than looking good is to be readable. Here a lot of “script” typefaces fails, and Courier gets heavily tiresome. (Is that why internet “read 14 pages then click yes to continue” licence agreements are in Courier – if the language doesn’t bore you away, maybe the typeface will?)
Times may lack a bit of fantasy, but it is comfortable to read.
And when you manage to write in a way that people can read, you ought to think of what to use their attention for.
But if you do have something well thought to say, THEN it’s time to choose the typeface that gives the right finish. In some cases it actually might be Comic sense…
I agree with you, and Joanne before you in the comments, about Times New Roman. “Gotta be proportional, serif font … if you wanna dance with me” (apologies to Chuck Berry).
I can’t stand emails sent in bland, sans serif fonts, using only color, size, and caps for emphasis. Mind-numbing! I also agree with you about courier, which seems to be the font to which I’m confined in this message. I’ve never been in a profession which warranted its use.
Among the fonts that came “stock” with Wordpad on my computer (also available in my ISP’s email program), I now believe I like Palatino Linotype even better. Not quite as compressed as Times New Roman; not as stretched as Georgia.
Of the free fonts which are universally web-friendly, Times New Roman and Palatino Linotype are my favorites for text. They are compact, while “pulling the eye along” nicely.
Well, I am going gout on a limb here defending my business choice to introduce little one’s to individual letters via Times Roman. As I tested different fonts at 325 pts. it seemed to have the most classic shape to each upper case letterform and all except the W and Q fit comfortably into a square. So my chidrens’ alphabet is illustrated to Times Roman. I would love to hear suggestions please for a fashion alphabet and a dancer’s font?
Papyrus looks kind of cool but I’ve never come across an appropriate use for it. Times isn’t that bad, it’s just WAY overused. Also, using script/handwriting fonts in general opens up a “Pandora’s box” of Internet compatibility issues. However, I disagree with all the negativity towards Arial. I personally find it very legible and tasteful. It sure makes for a refreshing break in body text from tightly-packed serif fonts like Times Roman.
I like the Tech font but it seems it is no longer available in the standard offering with Word. What happened to it and where can I find it?
Whoever wrote that about Brush Script and doesn’t know how to use it. Same with Courier. And that could be said about almost any font, color, layout, or idea that someone doesn’t like — it’s just a matter of understanding it as a designer and knowing its context. Except for Arial. Arial just sucks. Maybe it could be used effectively in an ugly pageant. Okay, and Comic Sans ruins anything it touches. I did say “almost” any font…
What much of this shows is simply a lack of perspective. Yes, they can be abused, but “boring” is never a valid excuse unless you’re in marketing. Typography has three basic roles in a font – making it readable, making it appropriate, and making it effective. A script, to borrow an example from above, doesn’t need to capture the attention of passing motorists, it needs to be read. To complain that it’s boring is like complaining that the extras in your movie aren’t getting top billing.
No lives have been lost to papyrus use, and these “hated” fonts are, if anything, the most popular and successful of all fonts.
The moment you see Comic Sans on a site, you see the work of a moron.
A work of a moron? Well why not try this: type the whole Declaration of Independence in either Comic Sans, or Papyrus.
I found another interesting anecdote about ‘Comic Sans’ abuse: “My grandmother’s philosophy teacher and close friend recently died, and because I had met her once when I was younger, she told me about the funeral. Then she handed me the eulogy…
…it was written in Comic Sans.
Of all the inappropriate uses of this font that I’ve been confronted to, this was the worst. Who the fuck ever thought it’d be a good idea to have a funeral eulogy in a font whose name features the word comic?!?”
I still disagree with font hating. Every font has it’s beauty and could be used on different occasions.
You don’t have to hate certain fonts to love typography.
Let’s say I’m a business man looking for an employee, and I get a resume typed completely in Brush Script… That individual should have known better. I hate certain fonts. They are not useless, but they can cause ignorant people to do ignorant things. Drives people bananas.
The only one I disagree with is Helvetica. Helvetica is fine. But Arial? UGH! I can see no reason to use Brush Script ever. Courier can serve a purpose when used right. I have hated that awful Papyrus from the first day I laid eyes on it. Comic Sans? rofl. That’s why it’s called comic sans — it’s only good for use in comic strips.
I’ll assume saying you “hate” Helvetica was for shock value. Talking about Helvetic in a post with Comic Sans and Papyrus is simple ridiculous. A unskilled designer will make any font boring. Just like technology allows them to create more bad design faster. The truth is technology has allowed some people to call themselves designers, when they are not. Just because you want to be a design does not mean you can be one. we can’t all be rock stars or professional athletes either. But excellent job on getting people to comment on the post. Nailed it!
I disagree with font-hating
… and I disagree with that point of view. It is good that there are people that dislike or even hate some typefaces. That means that typography is important enough for them to have certain sentiments about it. For every font they hate, there is also one that they like. If there were no unpopular fonts, there also wouldn’t be any popular ones. Typography would be irrelevant because nobody cared.
Hate is good because it also implies the existence of love.
hating something is a sign of fear and non-understanding…
Helvetica grew on me once I outgrew my initial rebellion, having this font forced on me by government agencies as the official font for signage. I now consider it to be elegant and simple. I appreciate its’ almost Scandinavian work ethic.
Then what are we supposed to type in?
There are thousands of typefaces. More are created every day, and you can only think to choose Seven typefaces?