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Font Madness: First Round (Sans-Serif Region)

Let the voting begin! Font Madness — our quest to crown the worst font ever — officially kicks off with the first round in the Sans-Serif Region. Comic Sans tops the bill, as the deserved heavy favorite out of this region, but several potential Cinderellas are in the running, as you go through the match-ups.

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#1 Comic Sans vs. #16 Eras Demi ITC


Comic Sans vs. Eras Demi ITC

Why Comic Sans Is The Worst

Let's just address the elephant in the room straight away: Comic Sans and Papyrus are the odds-on favorites to meet in the "championship." If you need an explanation here, you're probably not qualified to cast a vote.

Why Eras Demi ITC Is The Worst

Everyone loves a good 16-seed underdog story, but nothing dashes excitement quicker than that story written in Eras Demi ITC. The font doesn't make you cringe so much as it makes you dismiss its importance. I cannot think of one occasion where it's appropriate to use this font.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#8 Tahoma vs. #9 Lithos Pro

Tahoma vs. Lithos Pro
Why Tahoma Is The Worst

Tahoma's claim to fame is not being Verdana (which in turn only exists to not be Arial). It peaked in the early 2000s as one of the few "safe" fonts to use on the web, because everyone had it installed on their systems. In a world where everyone was seeing Arial, Tahoma was an oft-welcome breath of fresh air. But like many things from the early 2000s, any once-positive vibes have long since expired.

Why Lithos Pro Is The Worst

I'm 85 percent certain that this was the font used on the cover of every single "hip" internet software "How-To" manual lining the shelves of Media Play stores in the mid- to late 1990s. It also carries a bit of that Papyrus stench. Really not a good vibe all around.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#5 Arial vs. #12 Franklin Gothic

Arial vs. Franklin Gothic
Why Arial Is The Worst

Arial is peak apathy. Its only defense against being the worst is that it has decent readability in paragraphs. Congratulations, Arial, you've achieved the minimum requirement of being a font. That's like patting a potato on the back for being edible.

Why Franklin Gothic Is The Worst

Franklin Gothic is the worst because it pretends to be unique. It gives people a false sense of design ability.

"Hey, look at me! I didn't just bold Arial for this headline, I scrolled down this font list and found Franklin Gothic." Just stop.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#4 Trebuchet MS vs. #13 Geneva

Trebuchet MS vs. Geneva
Why Trebuchet MS Is The Worst

Any font that rose to prominence because of Internet Explorer deserves a special place in typography purgatory. Trebuchet MS tried to bill itself as an early "cool" choice for a web-friendly font, but ultimately ended up being an unwanted reminder of boring PowerPoint presentations.

Why Geneva Is The Worst

Geneva leads you to believe that it scores hipster points for being one of the orginal 12 fonts on the first Macintosh operating system. In reality, it's so medicore that the actual reason for its existance was to strive to be like Helvetica.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#6 Myriad Pro vs. #11 Chicago

Myriad Pro vs. Chicabgo
Why Myriad Pro Is The Worst

In a world where Times New Roman and Arial existed as your undisputed default fonts, Adobe decided that Myriad Pro was going to be the default font for most Creative Suite applications. Now, in addition to "OMG! Apple's old font!", Myriad Pro is the poster child for apathetic designers.

Why Chicago Is The Worst

Oh hey, it's that clunky font from your first iPod! I don't care that Chicago has an interesting past with early Macintosh computers, all I see this error message, and I start to twitch with dormant rage.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#3 Verdana vs. #14 Helvetica

verdana-vs-helvetica
Why Verdana Is The Worst

Like I've mentioned before, you know how I know Verdana is terrible? I thought it was a good font choice in 2002. And believe me, I made NO good style decisions in 2002. Verdana and Tahoma battle it for the Most Likely To Be Confused With Arial Award. That's not a good award.

Why Helvetica Is The Worst

Helvetica is. Literally. Everywhere. Sure, designers tell you that it has a bajillion different weights and is so versatile, but that's exactly the problem. It's so post-hipster that it has its own line of self-aware t-shirts.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#7 Bank Gothic vs. #10 Impact

bank-gothic-vs-impact
Why Bank Gothic Is The Worst

No, this is not a cool, edgy font. It's an overused movie poster font that only gets selected because it's slightly wider than most other default system fonts. What a concept! Oh, and it has its own Tumblr.

Why Impact Is The Worst

We get it. Impact is the meme font. Memes are funny. Unfortunately, being the vessel for an internet joke doesn't always equate to a good font. Approximately 3,700 better choices exist for when you need a condensed font.

Voting for this round has concluded.

#2 Calibri vs. #15 Raleway

Calibri vs. Raleway
Why Calibri Is The Worst

If you’re reading something in Calibri, a 98 percent chance exists that you’re in a horrible mood. You’re either stuck watching an afternoon-long presentation in a La Quinta Inn conference room, or you’re scouring archived Microsoft help articles because you’ve seen the blue screen of death for the third time this week. Sorry for your bad luck.

Why Raleway Is The Worst

Raleway is relatively new to the scene, growing in popularity with Google Fonts as a clean open source sans serif font. It was refreshing at first — even I've used it in the last few years — but now that damn criss-crossed "W" is like internet kudzu, suffocating all typographic life.

Voting for this round has concluded.


Polls for this round will close at 11:30 PM EST on Sunday, March 11th.

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