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Warning: Don’t Try This at Home

Some things are better left to the professionals.

Like choosing the right font for, well, just about anything. Except maybe a kid’s birthday party invite. And probably not even then. After all, what 10-year-old deserves to be stigmatized for the rest of fifth grade because Mom thought Curlz was cute?

(Pro Tip: Always be suspicious of a name that replaces the plural “s” with “z.” And if, God forbid, that name has a number in place of a word, run as if your reputation depends on it. Because it does.)

So, who are the professionals when it comes to type? Graphic designers. Because they know what the font they’re doing. These people think – and talk – about typefaces all day long. Trust me, I know. I work with them, which means that I’m forever hearing about font studies and kerning and leading and…the list goes on.

Earlier this week, I asked the helveticka designers what makes a bad font choice. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for just how serious they are about bad fonts. Don’t believe me? This SNL skit from a few years ago is a little closer to reality than satire. It’s worth watching, even if you’ve already seen it.

Aaron Robertson even admitted to me that he’s written a children’s book based on his hatred of Comic Sans. He swears that the language is G-rated, but as it is (yet) unpublished, I can’t guarantee that the book is safe for young readers. I can, however, share the ten fonts that Aaron and the rest of our team find most offensive.

Worst Fonts

While a couple of these should probably be retired for good, most could work under the right circumstances. But it takes a highly trained and experienced designer to recognize such circumstances. Non-experts, like me and maybe you, are wise to avoid them altogether. And stick to using the world’s best font.

Helvetica. Of course.



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