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Typobituaries

During a late night online conversation with another black, white, and orange website fan, it was decided that certain fonts should be retired. They’ve had a good run, but some things must come to an end. Whether, by overuse, obscurity, or just plain ugliness, here are some that just don’t make the cut.

Out of the kindness of my heart, I’ve honored their last requests for final showings. Let’s put these faces to rest:

Bank Gothic Sample
Brush Script MT Sample
Eurostile Sample
Century Gothic Sample
Mistral Sample
Impact Sample

And, of course…

Comic Sans Sample

Any others to add to the list?

Update: In related news, Cameron has published a list of typefaces no one gets fired for using.

Comments

Tim Crowe said:

I am totally glad you posted this. I was just about to relaunch my blog with Comic Sans headlines and Century Gothic copy.

You're a lifesaver man.

Posted on August 22, 2006 05:04 PM

HappyKreg said:

Hobo must die.

Posted on August 22, 2006 05:16 PM

Jason Santa Maria said:

Great idea, but I propose you go one step further. Merely saying a font should be retired is only half the story, you should run a new feature here for Typobituaries where you give some background on a font and then give it a real eulogy :D

Posted on August 22, 2006 05:25 PM

Jeff Croft said:

Great list, Dan. I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately for me, I just received the logo for the site I'm working on and it's...ugh, Impact.

Posted on August 22, 2006 05:31 PM

essl said:

You forgot one!
Copperplate is the worst!

Posted on August 22, 2006 06:15 PM

Dan Mall said:

@Tim: It’s a good thing you read my site. Tomorrow I’ll post something about why you shouldn’t mix alcohol with prescription medication.

@Stan: That’s why the ladies love you. Look for a regular “Typobituaries” feature in version 3 of this site (coming soon, but not soon enough).

@Jeff: No worries. Just slap a drop shadow and a rainbow gradient on it, and the new work will pour in!

@HappyKreg and Essl: How could I forget Hobo and Copperplate? How I loathe them!

Posted on August 22, 2006 06:31 PM

Baxter said:

Some can go into easily into retirement, getting in a few holes down in Boca every week as they live out their final days, but others need to a bloody and public execution.0

Yeah, Comic Sans, I'm looking at you. Now wipe that smirk off your face.

Posted on August 22, 2006 11:23 PM

Brian Sweeting said:

Other candidates for retirement:

Papyrus
Chalkboard
Haettenschweiler
Bauhaus
Brush Script

Posted on August 22, 2006 11:34 PM

Mr Irony said:

Comic Sans!? Are you sure? It's such a beautiful font! And think about all those wonderful birthday party posters that use Comic Sans?

I believe you don't know your left elbow from your right...

Posted on August 23, 2006 02:10 AM

bearskinrug said:

Retire Eurostile!? But it was the pride filly of my first font stable!... *sniffle*...

Well... we'll always have my intern report, ol' girl. Those were some good times.

Posted on August 23, 2006 02:22 AM

Aegir said:

I'd nominate one for a sabbatical: Gill Sans Bold. Heavy, ugly and overused. It needs a rest so that future generations can do something interesting and creative with it.

Posted on August 23, 2006 03:01 AM

Egor said:

Cooper Black

Posted on August 23, 2006 03:22 AM

myname said:

Eurostile and Mistral?

Idiot.

Posted on August 23, 2006 03:51 AM

jakob said:

Dont forget SAND!!

Posted on August 23, 2006 03:51 AM

Eric said:

Fonts are like super heroes or soap stars. They have a good run, then everyone gets tired of them, and they are killed off, only to be resurrected years later and celebrated. All the time, the real problem was the writer.

Posted on August 23, 2006 08:59 AM

Rob Weychert said:

As far as I'm concerned, Arial is the poster child for the general typographic decline of the late twentieth / early twenty-first centuries. Since the untrained eye can't distinguish it from Helvetica, it is a silent killer, and it is far more widely disseminated than any of the faces above, particularly thanks to its preponderance on the web (a disappointing matter of necessity). Oh, how I weep for the future.

Posted on August 23, 2006 09:03 AM

Joshua Lane said:

But, but... I like Impact... *sniff*

Posted on August 23, 2006 09:30 AM

Garrett Dimon said:

But without mistral, what will happen to the beautiful shopping center signs and logos of half the dry cleaners, doughnut shops, and other small business around the world?

Posted on August 23, 2006 10:18 AM

Matt Thomas said:

It's not that I don't wholeheartedly agree with your selections… but I do worry that if we keep hating on Comic Sans, someone's going to declare it to officially be "so bad it's good again." And that scares the bejeesus out of me.

Posted on August 23, 2006 10:31 AM

Xavez said:

I must say I don't completely agree with you. Century Gothic is still a very usable font in print. Impact is also still very usable in certain applications or designs.

All of the others are just butt-ugly though!

Posted on August 23, 2006 11:28 AM

Brian Sweeting said:

I think Cooper Black could be ready for a comeback. I really like what Naz Hamid did with it on Weightshift. If used well, it's not bad.

Posted on August 23, 2006 01:09 PM

Melkor said:

I liked Eurostile :(

Posted on August 23, 2006 02:35 PM

Chris Griffin said:

Ugh, I agree on Eurostile, One of the local news stations here in Portland just adores Eurostile as its all over their promos.

And Matt, Comic Sans has already reared its ugly head all over one of the biggest websites in the world--MySpace.

But maybe we shouldn't count MySpace considering FUGLY seems to be the overall theme of that website.

Posted on August 23, 2006 05:13 PM

Eric Stoltz said:

For the most part, I agree. The most eternally nefarious of these is Brush Script. Even laying out out high school yearbook in 1978, we knew better than to use it (I think we did, however, use Cooper Black--very 70s). But like a bad horror movie, Brush Script just won't die. You think it's dead and then when you turn your back.... Mitral is its evil eighties spawn. In the 80's, everything had to be in Mistral. I think it was a law.

Posted on August 23, 2006 05:21 PM

Seph said:

Ugh, I'm so glad you put Brush Script on there. I hate that font, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

And WHY do so many people insist on using it in caps? Aaarrrgh.

Anyway, glad to see it's passed away now. ;)

Posted on August 23, 2006 07:20 PM

Caroline said:

How bout

Charcoal
Gadget
Techno

Clunky, leaden, uncoordinated and unfortunately, free

Posted on August 23, 2006 07:48 PM

Chris R. said:

I have to say IMO I don't agree with you on retiring Eurostile, but that's just my 2 cents.

Posted on August 24, 2006 11:22 AM

Doris said:

Why not retire most if not all of the MS font pack? There are what, maybe 10 that could be saved?

Posted on August 24, 2006 12:56 PM

Bonky said:

Let's be rid of the Times/Arial font scourge!
At least for 20 years or so.

Posted on August 24, 2006 04:16 PM

Aegir said:

Oh, somehow I forgot Morpheus! It's a free font and it gets used whereever a 'medieval' theme is desired. Unfortunately it has the most hideous 'M' and 'N' of any font I've ever seen.

I'm working on an alternate version... one day I'll finish it.

Posted on August 24, 2006 04:30 PM

Tor said:

I don't like the numbers 0 and 1, way overused.

Posted on August 25, 2006 06:31 AM

s. zeilenga said:

There is a News station here in RI that uses Bank Gothic for everything they have to put in text. Everytime I watch the news I almost gag at the overuse of the font. I hate it now. Before I used to use it in my own designs a bit but now I loathe it. blah...

z.

Posted on August 25, 2006 11:14 AM

Mischl said:

My small press imprint is publishing a book. The book printer that I use has only about 12 fonts available. From those, my author selected Comic Sans. Since the book contains the tongue-in-cheek memoirs of a dog, I think she picked the best available.

Posted on August 25, 2006 11:52 AM

Jonathan said:

Hey, you can't retire Century Gothic, all women mags will have to redesign!

Posted on August 25, 2006 12:15 PM

pam said:

ditto, ditto, ditto to any and all who said copperplate gothic. i am so utterly sick of that font. it's today's comic sans.

Posted on August 25, 2006 12:21 PM

antibride said:

THANKYOU for murdering AND publishing the obituary for comic sans. i completely despise it. it's time the world knows it cannot be brought back to life, so STOP USING IT!

Posted on August 25, 2006 01:00 PM

Al said:

Why isn't Papyrus on this list? It makes me want to poke my eyes out!

Posted on August 25, 2006 01:54 PM

Comic Billy said:

COMIC SANS FOREVER!!!!

Posted on August 25, 2006 02:20 PM

billy said:

COMIC SANS FOREVER!!!

Posted on August 25, 2006 02:22 PM

MADPHILL said:

HOW could you forget Copperplate Gothic????! OMG. I HATE that font.

Also, Curls MT can bite me too.

Posted on August 25, 2006 03:38 PM

Brian said:

I agree with another poster that Arial needs to be retired. Although most cannot tell it apart from Helvetica, I'm actually finding more uses for Helvetica Neue these days. I find Helvetica Neue more pleasing than plain old Helvetica. Especially the light, medium and heavy weights. I guess, if anything, retire Arial and put Helvetica on hiatus.

Some others I want to retire:
Times and Times New Roman
Zaph Chancery and
   its bastard half-brother
   Monotype Corsiva
Albertus MT
Trebuchet MS
Anything of the Olde English
   variety that's in ALL CAPS (You
   hear me tattoo artists and gangsta
   rap album cover designers?)

Posted on August 26, 2006 07:04 AM

John T said:

I agree with most of what people have said above. And, no offense, but I think it might be time to retire all-caps Trade Gothic Bold Condensed -- make some room for Akzidenz or Franklin.

Posted on August 26, 2006 12:03 PM

tickety boo said:

good idea. i also want to see the back of verdana - replace it with bitstream vera sans.

and of course, we must get rid of bodoni ;-)

Posted on August 27, 2006 05:08 AM

Ivan Malijkh said:

It is very great article, but i think you should also make a list with the fonts that can replace the fonts you've listed. And by the way, Century Gothic is not at all a bad looking font, but I do agree with you about comic sans.

Posted on August 27, 2006 04:37 PM

27 said:

Bembo. I've always hated Bembo.

That and any font with a "round" version.

I don't mind Century Gothic so much.

Posted on August 27, 2006 08:15 PM

Justin said:

Retire Serpentine Sans. Ban it. Keep it off patrol cars.

Posted on August 28, 2006 12:06 PM

Jayashree said:

I have to agree with essl.
I had to use Copperplate for a project once and I felt so dirty.

Posted on August 28, 2006 03:42 PM

Adam Messinger said:

I think those who are ready to write the obituary for Times and Times New Roman might be getting a little ahead of themselves.

Dave Shea has proven that Times New Roman can be made to look good on the Web. It could conceivably serve as a replacement for Georgia, which is becoming overused.

Web designers don't have many options when it comes to fonts; we need to think carefully before writing any of them off.

Except for Comic Sans.

Posted on August 30, 2006 07:13 AM

Stewart Goodwin said:

Papyrus definately should be on this list. I have gone so far as to not go to a business that has a Papyrus logo or by a product with Papyrus on it...it makes me start to twitch at the very thought of it.

Posted on August 30, 2006 10:46 AM

peter said:

Check this up! :-)

http://bancomicsans.com/

Posted on August 31, 2006 03:18 AM

Pierce said:

This thread's attitude to copperplate is making me very embarrassed. I'm like the guy talking about Keane at the music shop.

If my opinion still counts for anything, Papyrus is godawful. A new jewellers just opened up in my town that uses Papyrus for signage and also all posters in the windows. 18 inch high lettering in black on silver paint! I've started taking another route home.

Posted on August 31, 2006 07:03 AM

Marty said:

everyone is forgetting Copperplate, there is a font ready for the next life...

Posted on August 31, 2006 02:19 PM

Roger Gay said:

I'm sick of Crackhouse. It was the Brushscript of the '90s, and won't go away.

Posted on September 1, 2006 09:26 AM

Roberlan said:

AvantGarde
Copperplate gothic
Times New Roman

Posted on September 1, 2006 12:11 PM

Winter Knight said:

I like those gothic fonts. Eurostile looks pretty cool too.

Thanks for introducing me to some new fonts.

Posted on September 1, 2006 05:29 PM

Joshua said:

I'll light a funeral pyre for Serpentine....

Posted on September 2, 2006 09:23 AM

Shawn Blanc said:

Papyrus: The official cool font for those who know nothing about typography.

Posted on September 3, 2006 04:46 PM

Joe Moran said:

A strong reccomendation to do away with "Courier" in all its incarnations.

Of course, then the default "default replacement font" would naturally go to:

Comic Sans! Oh -- a dagger through the heart! Bloody Murder! Ack! ...

Respectfully,

Posted on September 3, 2006 08:50 PM

Adam M said:

Handel Gothic Bold... and dinosaurs!

Posted on September 4, 2006 07:49 AM

Tom Hughes said:

I saw this ad today and it immediately made me think of this post. https://ss1.zedo.com/jsc/ss1/ff2.html?n=577;c=35/32;s=1;d=9;w=300;h=250

Posted on September 5, 2006 01:54 AM

Jared said:

Nobody mentioned candies?

Posted on September 5, 2006 01:04 PM

scott baker said:

one that must die

wonton

Posted on September 8, 2006 08:52 PM

Bubs said:

Aww, I love Century Gothic! It's such an elegant font.

I know the current fad on the web is 'Lucida Grande' but I really don't like it -_-

Posted on September 10, 2006 05:44 PM

Liam said:

I like Impact—I use it on my own site—and its cousin (as far as I'm concerned) Haettenschwiler. But I'm all for getting rid of comic sans, and brush script mt is useless.

Posted on September 11, 2006 11:04 PM

Cory said:

Cooper Black is the perveted uncle of all fonts. I love it! I'd be happy to see any 'techno' font go away forever.

Posted on September 12, 2006 12:00 PM

greg said:

HOW CAN ARIAL NOT BE UP THERE!

The fake helvetica... If I see one more lazy designer use this font....

Posted on September 12, 2006 12:10 PM

greg said:

It's not Helvetica's fault that Arial sucks so bad, and the worst part is, so many "designers" don't even know it.

Courier is a very useful font for coding. Monotype, lets you not go insane while staring at line after line of code. So courier lives for this reason alone. Open up 1000 lines of code with futura, and you will know of what I speak.

Posted on September 12, 2006 12:15 PM

Lauren said:

Papyrus, god please someone kill papyrus!

Posted on September 12, 2006 04:38 PM

GreenEgg said:

Touch not my Courier New, lest you feel the wrath of my telnet sessions! I like my fonts the way God intended them - monotype green on black.

Posted on September 12, 2006 06:24 PM

mary*n said:

i actually like times n times new roman.

but YES. DIE COMIC SANS. DIE.

Posted on September 14, 2006 09:53 AM

Sorry: comments are closed.