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Font Madness: First Round (Decorative Region)

What's the worst decorative font ever? This might be the best (worst) region yet. It's the final first round of Font Madness — our month-long quest to crown the worst font ever. Pick your poison: 

View the full bracket

#1 Papyrus vs. #16 Rosewood

Papyrus vs. Rosewood
Why Papyrus Is The Worst

Nothing screams “hot garbage” louder than a product touted in Papyrus.

Just look at it. It looks like termites started to chew on someone’s oddly-spaced handwriting, but then the termites realized “geez, this is awful” and left it to rot. Papyrus is not some whimsical, vaguely-Mediterranean typeface. It’s a bucket of trash not even good enough for termites.

I’ll admit. I’ve never visited the Mediterranean. In my mind, it’s this picturesque slice of Earth where brilliant blue water hugs rocky shores dotted with colorful villas. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a hellish landscape where everything is written in Papyrus.

Why Rosewood Is The Worst

Rosewood is such an insanely specific style to be a common system font. Who thought it was necessary to equip every armchair designer with the ability to turn a company newsletter into a tacky wild west saloon?

Voting for this round has concluded.

#8 Wingdings vs. #9 Giddy Up

Wingdings vs. Giddy Up
Why Wingdings Is The Worst

Set aside the fact that dingbat fonts once served a purpose in classical typesetting. Look at those damn characters. How often do we need zodiac symbol icons? I've been using computers for the better part of three decades (ugh) now. Never once have I been like "boy, really wish I had the Capricorn character handy!"

Why Giddy Up Is The Worst

What are you supposed to be? Ropes? Little lasso-like curls? Giant pigtails? Do we really need one on every single character? Seems a bit much.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#5 Waker vs. #12 Tempus Sans ITC

Waker vs. Tempus Sans ITC
Why Waker Is The Worst

Wow. There is a lot to unpack here. This is a bad font even without the Chia Pet hair, but I'm guessing by the font name that those wildly unnecessary lines are supposed to be...sunbeams? I don't know. The actual answer doesn't matter. This is so awful.

Why Tempus Sans ITC Is The Worst

Oh no, Papyrus has a cousin! Getting confused with Papyrus is not a good bullet to have on a resume. There's really no way to recover from that.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#4 Curlz MT vs. #13 Ravie

Curlz MT vs. Ravie
Why Curlz MT Is The Worst

Hahaha. Honestly, why? One curl is PLENTY decoration on any given word. A whole string of curls—sorry, curlz—is just ludicrous. Fun fact: The same guy who developed Open Sans (a very respectable sans serif font) is responsible for the monstrosity that is Curlz MT. Talk about a portfolio spectrum.

Why Ravie Is The Worst

If Ravie could walk, this music would start playing every time.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#6 Bleeding Cowboys vs. #11 Hobo

Bleeding Cowboys vs. Hobo
Why Bleeding Cowboys Is The Worst

Some fonts are boring. Others make your eyes bleed. If this font were a human, it would be a 23-year old woman from Ohio wearing cowboy boots at a Nickelback concert.

Why Hobo Is The Worst

Straight lines be damned! Hobo is here. Unless you're the graphics editor for That 70's Show, you should not be using Hobo. Ever.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#3 Jokerman vs. #14 Stencil

Jokerman vs. Stencil
Why Jokerman Is The Worst

If I had a dollar for every time I saw a "crafty" business use this font in their signage or branding, I would have a lot of money not to spend at those businesses.

Why Stencil Is The Worst

"Hey, I made this new typeface."
"What's it look like?"
"Stencils."
"What are you gonna name it?"
"Stencil."

The creativity is strong with this one.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#7 Snap ITC vs. #10 Lobster

Snap ITC vs. Lobster
Why Snap ITC Is The Worst

Not to be outdone by it's chunky relative Ravie, Snap ITC comes bumbling onto the screen with absolutely zero respect for its appearance. It's like that neighbor who goes out to fetch the paper in his robe and boxers. Just pure disregard for anyone's visual well-being.

Why Lobster Is The Worst

I (half-heartedly) apologize to anyone who is not familiar with Lobster. You will never stop noticing it now. Relatively new to the scene, Lobster has emerged as the hip choice of novice designers everywhere to attempt to overcompensate for their otherwise mediocre design work. It may have fooled people in 2013, but we're on to you now, Lobsterers.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#2 Gigi vs. #15 Herculanum

Gigi vs. Herculanum
Why Gigi Is The Worst

Microsoft describes Gigi as a font with a "charming and fresh handwritten quality." Keep in mind Microsoft also produced Windows Vista.

Why Herculanum Is The Worst

Allegedly named after Herculaneum—an ancient Roman city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius—Herculanum looks like the unwanted offspring of a drunken hook-up between Papyrus and Trajan Pro. It too should suffer a pyroclastic fate.

Voting for this round has concluded.


Polls for this round close at 11:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 11.

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