Google's joking, but Monotype isn't: Comic Sans Pro

Need ligatures and swashes on your 5th-birthday invitation? Try a professional version of the comic book typeface. Also: Google embraces the font for April Fools' Day.

Comic Sans Pro, a typeface good for T-shirt designs.
Comic Sans Pro, a typeface good for T-shirt designs. Monotype Imaging

Comic Sans, the Windows font reviled by font snobs everywhere, has joined the big leagues.

Monotype Imaging released the oxymoronic but definitely real Comic Sans Pro, taking advantage of April Fools' Day to bring some humor to the occasion. The new typeface combines a script style geared for typographically clumsy children's birthday invitations with high-end font features more commonly used on wedding invitations.

"Comic Sans Pro contains a versatile range of typographic features including swashes, small caps, ornaments, old-style figures, and stylistic alternates," Monotype said, referring to a variety of ways designers extend beyond the standard character set for practical and aesthetic reasons.

But the company wasn't taking itself too seriously. The typeface is good for scrapbooking and school projects, but that's not all, said Allan Haley, director of words and letters at Monotype Imaging.

Feeling too confined by the standard characters for Comic Sans' letters a and g? Try Comic Sans Pro's alternates, one of the features of Monotype Imaging's elaboration on the 1994 font.
Feeling too confined by the standard a and g characters of Comic Sans? Try Comic Sans Pro's alternates, one of the features of Monotype Imaging's elaboration on the 1994 font. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

"Comic Sans is also a favorite in professional environments, used in medical information, instructions, ambulance signage, college exams, corporate mission statements, and executive reprimands--even public letters from sports team owners to their fans," he said. "Breaking up with your spouse? Why not write a letter in Comic Sans Pro, embellished with a typographic whack!, pow! or bam! Comic Sans is everywhere, and now it's even better."

The typeface costs about $120 from Monotype Imaging's font subsidiaries including Ascender, ITC, Linotype and Fonts.com.

It's a good thing Monotype Imaging had a sense of humor, because Comic Sans was the butt of some Google April Fools' Day joking.

Monotype Imaging suggests second-wedding invitations are a good use of Comic Sans Pro.
Monotype Imaging suggests second-wedding invitations are a good use of Comic Sans Pro. Monotype Imaging

The Google Webmaster Team tweeted about its Comic Sans work, directing people to the Comic Sans for Everyone site to download a Chrome extension that turns all fonts shown in the browser to Comic Sans.

"We'll be rolling out Comic Sans as our default font across all Google products on April 4, 2011," Google said in the prank site. "Whether it's search results, text ads, emails, or documents, our research has consistently shown that the most effective way to achieve user happiness and higher [advertising] conversion rates is to use the Comic Sans font."

If you don't want to install the extension, try searching for the term "Comic Sans" on Google. The result--search results displayed in the font you'd expect--looks less like an April Fools' joke and more like an Easter Egg.

Google's Comic Sans For Everyone extension lets Chrome users see the Net in many people's least favorite font.
Google's Comic Sans For Everyone extension lets Chrome users see the Net in many people's least favorite font. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET
 

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