Papyrus, Comic Sans & Helvetica

Typeface & Fonts

“A typeface is a family of fonts (very often by the same designer). Within a typeface there will be fonts of varying weights or other variations. E.g., light, bold, semi-bold, condensed, italic, etc. Each such variation is a different font.” – Nerdplusart

The MSN Years

My early exposure to typefaces started with MSN messenger.  That’s right, Microsoft’s online chat messenger. MSN Messenger LogoBefore the age of text messaging and Facebook I would use MSN to talk with my friends and family. There was a small selection of fonts (and colors) you could choose from to chat with and (in my mind) the choice defined you as a person. I chose Comic Sans bold in navy blue, is was my favorite font. To me it communicated masculine, funny, and bold (a bit on the nose in retrospect.) Typically girls I would chat with would use fonts like Georgia in some hue of pink or purple, because you know, girly. Occasionally someone would use an obnoxious font and color like IMPACT in yellow. We would use fonts in attempt to present our personality from a selection of about 9.

The Problem

As a designer I have to make similar choices, but rather than presenting MY personality I’m trying to present the company or brands personality or image. I often find myself driving down the road critiquing store front logos, “what a horrible font choice,” “You can’t even read that,” “Papyrus again?” The common problem that companies make is they are using the first or obvious choice. Microsoft Windows comes with about 30 

Papyrus Logo

English stock typefaces they are a mixture of serif, sans-serif, and decorative and if you have Microsoft Office installed you get even more including script typefaces! Papyrus would be classified as a script typeface and is included with Microsoft Office and MacOs, which contributes to its mass use. The creator thinks “it appeals to people who like an artsy and vaguely earthy aesthetic.” And yet I have seen it used for law firms, burger joints and car washes. When choosing a logo typeface there should be a process of evaluation. Typefaces communicate different things, what is your company tying to communicate? Comic Sans has a similar problem, every computer has it and it’s fun! (But is it appropriate?)

Logo Examples

As you can see, each example above uses a different font. Comic Sans, Helvetica, and Book Antiqua. Which one would you want to be your lawyer?

The Solution

Helvetica! No, not really. Helvetica is a great font but it can fall into the same problem if over-used or used in the incorrect situation.


Every font has its place, even Comic Sans.

The real solution is to hire a designer and trust their decisions…  But in all honesty, You’ll save yourself money, time, and embarrassment if you invest in a quality designer to design your logo, invitation, pamphlet etc… And look no further, just contact me and lets get started!