Sunday, July 23, 2006

sound and fury signifying what exactly

The Curse of Comic Sans , an article by Jessica Helfand this week in the fabulous Design Oberserver blog, decries the mass culture ubiquity of the typeface Comic Sans.

Now, I can't pretend to by a font snob, although I certainly work with people who are typeface professionals -- but the joy of the article lies in reading an expert writing with passion -- and snobbery!

Better yet, the article includes some fabulous comments, including the following contribution from Thomas Jockin:
If you're going to have to type up a report about how widget X has increased output by 2.2% over a period of 5 holiday sessions, setting that report in Comic Sans is in my opinion a kind of futile cry for meaning and worth in a otherwise lacking existence/ content.

Same thing applies to those lovely Myspace pages set in comic sans and cluttered with photos, music, videos, etc. etc. Ugly as hell but still falls within the rubric of "futile cry for meaning and worth in a otherwise lacking existence."
Ah, I do love to watch smart children at play. (That would be the banter of professional designers, not the Myspace creators, in this particular case.)

Which brings me to vanity license plates.

The states in which I have lived in the US, Texas and Virginia, are ASWIM in vanity plates. I've seen nothing like this phenomenon in other countries or regions where I've lived.

I've long pondered the proliferation of these hooked-on-phonics, 733t, SMS-esque outpourings of...well, what exactly?

My guess has always, conincidentally, been something along the lines of a ""futile cry for meaning and worth in a otherwise lacking existence."

And yes, Jessica and Thomas, I assume the owners of the plates are very probably also fans of Comic Sans.

Has anyone else hypothesized a better explanation for the vanity plates? I would love to hear your theories.

(And yes, I realize that this blog is a crime against graphic design. But at least the current version is innocuous compared to the old template!)