Crowdsourcing Comic Sans' Demise
Don’t send me an email in Comic Sans.
Granted, I’m no typographical expert, but I can’t take you seriously if you think Comic Sans is serious business. The letters are frazzled. The tone is coddling. I remember handouts from first grade orientation emblazoned with the font with cheeky reminders.
Thankfully, one font is aiming to right Comic Sans’ wrongs, with a little help from Sans fans and haters alike.
Craig Rozynski, an Australian designer and “font philanthropist” living in Japan, had feelings like mine. Instead of blogging about it on the internet, he took it upon himself to create a typeface that honors the laid-back integrity of the original while correcting “the wonky, squashed glyphs” that have scorned thousands. The brilliant result is Comic Neue, a casual font that aims to appeal to everyone and become "the font that saved Comic Sans."
To get his idea out there, Rozynski took to Kickstarter. Though most crowdsourcing campaigns like his historically fail, Comic Neue already has support in high places like TIME and Der Spiegel. By Rozynski’s estimation, he’d be able to give away his creation to the world for a paltry $10,000. The campaign has just 6 days left, and if fully funded, will allow the font’s free release in over 40 languages and submission to the Google Font Library come August. The reason? Across the top of the Kickstarter, Rozynski makes it clear; the world wants this font.
Crowdsourcing isn’t a new idea, but the effects of it’s modern use have profound influence on our culture. When a specific campaign for a specific use resonates with a specific audience, unconventional ideas become dynamite realities. Just look at Reading Rainbow’s recent success of$1 million in 24 hours of launching their campaign (and now $3.5 million with 26 days left to go). Whereas Levar Burton might have a wider audience than a cheeky font, Comic Neue was trending worldwide within 24 hours of Rozynski’s first tweet about it on April 7. Both ideas, at their core, shout a resounding “YES!” in the hearts of their audience. Crowdfunding isn’t the best route for everyone or every product, but if enough people believe in an idea (or, say, have had similar distasteful experiences with a typeface), you have a solid shot.
When I pressed “Back This Project” yesterday, I didn’t just donate a dollar to an entrepreneur with a quirky idea. I contributed to a conversation. I took a chance. I laughed at another’s boldness and ingenuity. I crossed my fingers. I hoped. Most importantly, I felt invested in the project, which is a huge part of successful crowdfunding: making your core audience feel like they have a stake so that they're with you for the long haul.
Even when crowdsourcing campaigns fail, the chances taken reflect a much needed shift of perception in the modern market place. We can’t be afraid to support risks, or take chances on left-field concepts, or even create ones of our own.
Even if they have poor font choice.