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(The Verge)   You're about to present the news that will be remembered forever in the history of physics, so what font do you use? Comic Sans, of course   (theverge.com) divider line 143
    More: Amusing, physics, particle physics, CERN, PMPs, Imperials  
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7569 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Jul 2012 at 9:53 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-05 11:14:26 AM

LouDobbsAwaaaay: LockeOak: If it doesn't look good the audience won't be with you, even subconsciously.

Absolutely this. Sitting through week-long conferences, you gain an appreciation for a presenter who cares about what his audience is seeing and hearing, rather than just chewing their way through their own slides until their time is up. My experience is that graduate students are better than professors, who are better than operational technicians/engineers. The students care because they're new at this and want to be understood, professors often don't give a shiat because their career is set and they don't need to impress anyone, and the last group just plain sucks at communicating. I've been to operational conferences that were basically museums of what NOT to do during a presentation.

This Higgs-Boson announcement is different because the results carry an incredible amount of weight (no pun intended, I swear), but ultimately it's a scientific presentation and the same rules apply.


When I was an undergrad/grad, typeface options were sort of new (very early 90s) because word processing was kind of new (for the masses, anyway). I didn't have the benefit of a WYSIWYG display as I was working, so I honestly didn't know better. My only desire was maximum legibility.

I think undergrads today have an advangate because they grew-up with word processors/PP where you can change the font. When I was in high school, I had to type my papers.
 
2012-07-05 11:17:06 AM

LouDobbsAwaaaay: entropic_existence: White background and black text is actually the best combination, in general, for presentations.

I guess it's a personal preference thing. I find a dark background and light text to be easier on the eyes, and a white/black slide comes off not only as bleached and boring, but it's the default setting when you first open PowerPoint, so it comes off as "fark it, I'm not going to waste time making this look good".


In my organization, we have templates that we have to follow. We use a dark blue background/white letters. The font is decided, too. I believe it's Helvetica.
 
2012-07-05 11:20:48 AM

Smoky Dragon Dish: In my organization, we have templates that we have to follow. We use a dark blue background/white letters. The font is decided, too. I believe it's Helvetica.


I think some shiat-head did a study and found that dark blue back + yellow text was the "best" by some standard, and people started taking it as gospel.
 
2012-07-05 11:21:11 AM

Evil Twin Skippy: [www.etoyoc.com image 640x442]


From a thread yesterday

img696.imageshack.us
 
2012-07-05 11:21:23 AM

Evil Twin Skippy:


I came to post this but you beat me to it, amazingly. You've won my heart and mind forever.
 
2012-07-05 11:21:38 AM
Sounds good to me. Why not go ahead and do it and piss off the kind of person who gives a shiat about a font? That's always struck me as one of the douchiest things to whine about. The minute someone starts pissing and moaning about comic sans is the same minute I stop giving a shiat what they have to say.

"Yeah, let's just ignore the amazing discovery and get all rageface because they used a perfectly legible font."
 
2012-07-05 11:34:49 AM

LouDobbsAwaaaay: entropic_existence: White background and black text is actually the best combination, in general, for presentations.

I guess it's a personal preference thing. I find a dark background and light text to be easier on the eyes, and a white/black slide comes off not only as bleached and boring, but it's the default setting when you first open PowerPoint, so it comes off as "fark it, I'm not going to waste time making this look good".


Definitely personal preference. I think one of the issues is whether you'll have bar graphs/plots or images of that nature in the presentation, which almost always look better on a white background. If you you usually want to minimize switching of background colours to reduce eye strain.
 
2012-07-05 11:37:08 AM
If you honestly think that the use of Comic Sans lessens the impact of what is being communicated, YOU are what's wrong with this planet. "Style over substance" is a bad thing, not a farking motto for life (or business...I'm looking at you, Apple). A retarded monkey wallowing in its own filth because it isn't smart enough to not shiat everywhere would look at you and think, "Holy crap, what a moron." Trig Palin is going to be more of a contributor to society than you ever will be. Every last one of you should be dropped on an uncharted island somewhere so that you can biatch at each other about a farking font until you starve to death because you're incapable of taking care of yourselves.

Yes, yes, I know. You've taken multiple design courses and, by golly, you know what you're talking about when you wax on about the evils of a farking font. The problem is, in the grand scheme of things Design Students rank just below Marketing people and just above Child Molesters. No one but you and your douche-canoe friends gives a flying fark about fonts. NO ONE.
 
2012-07-05 11:39:01 AM

Carlo Spicy-Wiener: If you honestly think that the use of Comic Sans lessens the impact of what is being communicated, YOU are what's wrong with this planet. "Style over substance" is a bad thing, not a farking motto for life (or business...I'm looking at you, Apple). A retarded monkey wallowing in its own filth because it isn't smart enough to not shiat everywhere would look at you and think, "Holy crap, what a moron." Trig Palin is going to be more of a contributor to society than you ever will be. Every last one of you should be dropped on an uncharted island somewhere so that you can biatch at each other about a farking font until you starve to death because you're incapable of taking care of yourselves.

Yes, yes, I know. You've taken multiple design courses and, by golly, you know what you're talking about when you wax on about the evils of a farking font. The problem is, in the grand scheme of things Design Students rank just below Marketing people and just above Child Molesters. No one but you and your douche-canoe friends gives a flying fark about fonts. NO ONE.


Lighten up Francis.
 
2012-07-05 11:44:22 AM

dragonchild: Expolaris: This is why there are designers, and people who are really good at typography to present this kind of information to the public.

Impact font!!


The Higgs boson is what gives kerning to letters.
 
2012-07-05 11:44:58 AM
Only a bunch of geeks could be so pedantic as to complain about that font being used to break news like this. It doesn't even look that bad at all.

/These are the same dumbasses crying "But did you see her hideous thumbnail?!" when a gorgeous Hollywood actress poses naked
 
2012-07-05 11:45:25 AM

entropic_existence: Definitely personal preference. I think one of the issues is whether you'll have bar graphs/plots or images of that nature in the presentation, which almost always look better on a white background. If you you usually want to minimize switching of background colours to reduce eye strain.


Why switch background colors for a plot with a white background? Just put the plot with the white background in the slide.

Carlo Spicy-Wiener: If you honestly think that the use of Comic Sans lessens the impact of what is being communicated, YOU are what's wrong with this planet. "Style over substance" is a bad thing, not a farking motto for life (or business...I'm looking at you, Apple).


Nobody is saying style is more important. It just matters. People biatch all the time about how scientists are unable to communicate with the public. That's a complaint about style.
 
2012-07-05 11:51:26 AM

LouDobbsAwaaaay: Why switch background colors for a plot with a white background? Just put the plot with the white background in the slide.


Apparently this also induces eye strain on many people. That and it is less clean in terms of design.
 
2012-07-05 12:03:50 PM

Carlo Spicy-Wiener: Yes, yes, I know. You've taken multiple design courses and, by golly, you know what you're talking about when you wax on about the evils of a farking font. The problem is, in the grand scheme of things Design Students rank just below Marketing people and just above Child Molesters. No one but you and your douche-canoe friends gives a flying fark about fonts. NO ONE.


Except for the wealth of social science research which says that yes, we do. As much as 90% of what the audience "gets" of your message is wrapped up in how you look/sound delivering it, starting with "being able to hear". If your audience can barely hear you or can't read the hand-scribbled notes on transparencies, you lose. If your font causes visceral negative reactions in ~15% of people and no positive reactions in anyone, you lose.

Ever seen a stand-up comedian live? The "font", in that case, is "delivery" - if the delivery sucks, the joke fails. Unless you're Neil Hamburger, that's unsuccessful comedy (and Hamburger - I've seen him live - is far from "successful" at comedy).

So I'm sorry if social science is "what stupid kids who can't do anything else do", but the research says you're wrong. Either dispute the findings or live with the reality they present.

// social science (Dr Steve McCornack from Michigan State) also says that no matter how well you think you know someone, you can't tell if they're lying to you
// he's done study after study on deception; your odds at telling truth from deception in someone else's speech are about 50%, and your odds get only about 5% better if you've got special training (I think heavy-duty training - like CIA counter-terrorism stuff - might hit 60%)
// COMM major, working for USG - I see bad presentation (writing and design) every damned day and wish they'd teach more of it in schools
 
2012-07-05 12:05:35 PM
As soon as this outrage has passed, it will be "OMFG, can you believe how ugly the clothes are that those scientists are wearing. What were they thinking when they got dressed."
 
2012-07-05 12:20:34 PM
I've heard comic sans is easier for people with learning disabilities to read. Don't know if its true and I don;t care. Font nazis are pathetic. Go outside, get laid, do something!
 
2012-07-05 12:20:34 PM
Psst, font nerds. Gonna let you in on a little secret here.

None of us care. We could give two shiats what font someone or something uses. If something is in a font that is not "appropriate", we may barely register this fact in the back of our mind somewhere, perhaps be a bit turned off, but really it doesn't matter in the slightest.

Here's what I'm really trying to say: YOU HAVE A DISEASE.
 
2012-07-05 12:24:18 PM

jayhawk88: Psst, font nerds. Gonna let you in on a little secret here.

None of us care. We could give two shiats what font someone or something uses. If something is in a font that is not "appropriate", we may barely register this fact in the back of our mind somewhere, perhaps be a bit turned off, but really it doesn't matter in the slightest.

Here's what I'm really trying to say: YOU HAVE A DISEASE.


"We're the cool kids who don't care and you're stupid and this is unimportant anD OH MY GOD YOU HAVE A DISEASE I CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT A HUGE DEAL THIS IS"
 
2012-07-05 12:27:56 PM

jayhawk88: Psst, font nerds. Gonna let you in on a little secret here.

None of us care. We could give two shiats what font someone or something uses. If something is in a font that is not "appropriate", we may barely register this fact in the back of our mind somewhere, perhaps be a bit turned off, but really it doesn't matter in the slightest.

Here's what I'm really trying to say: YOU HAVE A DISEASE.


They're shallow people who put style over substance. One of the greatest scientific discoveries in history and they can't get past the font. Pathetic.
 
2012-07-05 12:28:05 PM
If you can't see content for presentation, it sounds like you're a very weak minded person.

I'm not questioning the research. I've always taken that kind of research and knowledge to be a means to overcome the tendency. We had advertising courses in high school that illustrated how ads are meant to capture your attention and what have you, and the purpose wasn't so we'd like ads, be better at making ads, it was so we'd be aware, and able to mitigate, the effect.

If you see a commercial for something that gets you excited, and you don't immediately stop and start asking questions such as, is this real? How could this be? What limitations could exist that would make the product I buy deviate from how it was just presented to me in a commercial (e.g artificial screen rendering)... then you're an idiot.

Likewise, if you can't appreciate the information about the Higgs Boson because of the font, you're an idiot.

It sounds like we don't need more design being taught in school. It's more critical thinking. Learning design just perpetuates it by treating it as acceptable behaviour. As an intelligent, domesticated primate, you need to be able to discern meaning from written word and comprehend it based on content alone.
 
2012-07-05 12:29:04 PM

Expolaris: I can't blame them, they are engineers, and thought like engineers. My brother (an engineer) didn't really see a problem with the typeface, he was more interested in the data.

Just funny to see how a little detail like this can stop people from taking in how awesome this is.

This is why there are designers, and people who are really good at typography to present this kind of information to the public.


Those who can, do. Those who can't make it look pretty. Got it.
 
2012-07-05 12:30:14 PM

LouDobbsAwaaaay: Disposable Rob: Mytch: That's nice. What font did you use when you discovered the God particle? Oh, you didn't? How about one of your other major physics discoveries? None? Okay then.

/stupid people problems

I read that in Willy Wonka's voice.

[i45.tinypic.com image 640x480]

"It's all there, black and white, in Comic Sans, clear as crystal! You stole Higgs Boson particles! You bumped into the supercollider which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!"


i280.photobucket.com
 
2012-07-05 12:37:16 PM
So font nazis are just really nerdy fashionistas. Got it.
 
2012-07-05 12:39:59 PM
Yeah, what a bunch of pointless whining! Now excuse me while I scrawl my resume with crayon. It's about content, not presentation, right?
 
2012-07-05 12:47:00 PM

Tranquil Hegemony: Yeah, what a bunch of pointless whining! Now excuse me while I scrawl my resume with crayon. It's about content, not presentation, right?


The crucial difference is that people interested in the Higgs Boson understand that content trumps presentation whereas Burger King mangers might not.
 
2012-07-05 12:48:51 PM

Tranquil Hegemony: Yeah, what a bunch of pointless whining! Now excuse me while I scrawl my resume with crayon. It's about content, not presentation, right?


You can do it over lunch, on the back of a stained tray liner from McDonald's.
 
2012-07-05 12:49:52 PM
Only stupid people think the font you use gives some insight into your intelligence. They don't get a chance to feel smarter than other people very often, so they'll take anything.
 
2012-07-05 12:52:14 PM
Powerpoint snobbery generally comes from people who don't know how to do anything useful.
 
2012-07-05 12:57:39 PM
So, to summarize, presentation doesn't matter when you're presenting something. FARK HAS SPOKEN
 
2012-07-05 12:59:33 PM

Tranquil Hegemony: Yeah, what a bunch of pointless whining! Now excuse me while I scrawl my resume with crayon. It's about content, not presentation, right?



No, it really is just a bunch of pointless whining from soe really pedantic douchebags.
 
2012-07-05 01:01:05 PM

Tranquil Hegemony: So, to summarize, presentation doesn't matter when you're presenting something. FARK HAS SPOKEN


You seem really invested in this whole thing. At what point in your life did font become something that is elicits a emotional response for you? Were you raped by a typeface when you were a child? Did you suffer under the abusive hand of the quick brown fox whilst in grade school?
 
2012-07-05 01:01:05 PM

Egoy3k: Tranquil Hegemony: Yeah, what a bunch of pointless whining! Now excuse me while I scrawl my resume with crayon. It's about content, not presentation, right?

The crucial difference is that people interested in the Higgs Boson understand that content trumps presentation whereas Burger King mangers might not.


Furthermore, presentation becomes less important when you're not actively trying to sell something. People attending the Higgs-Boson announcement weren't there questioning whether or not they were going to believe what the scientists told them. Nor were the scientists trying to convince people of their findings. They were presenting them to an active audience which was interested in the content. Giving the situation, making any kind of judgment on something like typeface is like trying to measure an objects weight with a ruler. It's an unsuitable metric for the context. And making such a judgment goes a long way towards announcing that you're entirely irrelevant in the actual subject.
 
2012-07-05 01:06:50 PM

Egoy3k: You seem really invested in this whole thing. At what point in your life did font become something that is elicits a emotional response for you? Were you raped by a typeface when you were a child? Did you suffer under the abusive hand of the quick brown fox whilst in grade school?


How dare you bring up such painful memories! My parents thought Times New Roman was such a safe font. So many serifs... such spindly letters... no... no! Palatino, save me!
 
2012-07-05 01:21:28 PM

Dr Dreidel: Except for the wealth of social science research which says that yes, we do. As much as 90% of what the audience "gets" of your message is wrapped up in how you look/sound delivering it, starting with "being able to hear". If your audience can barely hear you or can't read the hand-scribbled notes on transparencies, you lose. If your font causes visceral negative reactions in ~15% of people and no positive reactions in anyone, you lose.



You must be deluded if you think 15% of people - or even anything but a minuscule minorirty of people - give a damn about comic sans. Most people just don't give a crap if something is in comic sans or not. It's a wholly abnormal thing to actually get upset about.
 
2012-07-05 01:34:12 PM
They did it to piss off the assholes that would put down their work no matter what they did, at least now they know the obvious science trolls for picking on something like a font.

"Hey look, we advanced science more than anyone else in the last 20 years (real science not iphones)"
"Yeah but look at the font you used, LOL ROFL"
"Oh, you are an asshat, GOOD DAY SIR!"
 
2012-07-05 01:38:13 PM

mongbiohazard: Dr Dreidel: Except for the wealth of social science research which says that yes, we do. As much as 90% of what the audience "gets" of your message is wrapped up in how you look/sound delivering it, starting with "being able to hear". If your audience can barely hear you or can't read the hand-scribbled notes on transparencies, you lose. If your font causes visceral negative reactions in ~15% of people and no positive reactions in anyone, you lose.


You must be deluded if you think 15% of people - or even anything but a minuscule minorirty of people - give a damn about comic sans. Most people just don't give a crap if something is in comic sans or not. It's a wholly abnormal thing to actually get upset about.


As a counter argument, I submit this thread. As I've said, most people have no reaction. The ones that do have a reaction have a negative one. So what's the benefit to using Comic Sans?

// I'm thinking of Adam Corolla's Theory of Getting Pulled Over: it can either end benignly or poorly, no benefit
 
2012-07-05 01:42:28 PM
The first rule of the Font Club is "be outraged over comic sans." Are you outraged? Good. You are qualified to practice graphic design.
 
2012-07-05 01:47:56 PM

Dr Dreidel: As a counter argument, I submit this thread. As I've said, most people have no reaction. The ones that do have a reaction have a negative one. So what's the benefit to using Comic Sans?



The benefit to using it is pissing off the few nutbags that give a shiat. If someone starts raving about comic sans you can pretty much just tune them out after that. It's like a moron litmus test.
 
2012-07-05 02:05:35 PM

mongbiohazard: Dr Dreidel: As a counter argument, I submit this thread. As I've said, most people have no reaction. The ones that do have a reaction have a negative one. So what's the benefit to using Comic Sans?


The benefit to using it is pissing off the few nutbags that give a shiat. If someone starts raving about comic sans you can pretty much just tune them out after that. It's like a moron litmus test.


Don't mistake raving for facepalming.

Comic Sans is an unprofessional font. It's perfect for bake sales, but scientific findings, not so much. It also takes about 0.2 seconds to choose which font you're going to use, and Comic Sans is not the default. So these people made the deliberate decision to use the digital equivalent of scrawling with crayon. Hence, facepalming and snickering.

It's like saying they should have been able to present their findings at the conference yesterday in their underwear, and anyone who finds that silly is a moron. I personally feel that presentation is important, and all the more so when the material being presented is important. It goes for attire as well as typefaces. But that's just like, my opinion, man.
 
2012-07-05 02:22:15 PM

Tranquil Hegemony: mongbiohazard: Dr Dreidel: As a counter argument, I submit this thread. As I've said, most people have no reaction. The ones that do have a reaction have a negative one. So what's the benefit to using Comic Sans?


The benefit to using it is pissing off the few nutbags that give a shiat. If someone starts raving about comic sans you can pretty much just tune them out after that. It's like a moron litmus test.

Don't mistake raving for facepalming.

Comic Sans is an unprofessional font. It's perfect for bake sales, but scientific findings, not so much. It also takes about 0.2 seconds to choose which font you're going to use, and Comic Sans is not the default. So these people made the deliberate decision to use the digital equivalent of scrawling with crayon. Hence, facepalming and snickering.

It's like saying they should have been able to present their findings at the conference yesterday in their underwear, and anyone who finds that silly is a moron. I personally feel that presentation is important, and all the more so when the material being presented is important. It goes for attire as well as typefaces. But that's just like, my opinion, man.



But it's NOT presenting in your underwear, it's presenting with a perfectly readable font.

No one whose opinion is worth listening to gives a shiat if it's comic sans or not. Anyone who cares enough to think that it matters to the presentation of a historic discovery is precisely the kind of deluded pedant who can be safely ignored, and nothing of value will be lost.
 
2012-07-05 02:30:34 PM

Tranquil Hegemony: It also takes about 0.2 seconds to choose which font you're going to use, and Comic Sans is not the default. So these people made the deliberate decision to use the digital equivalent of scrawling with crayon. Hence, facepalming and snickering.


Yeah, that's about where I'm at on this "issue". You have to go out of your way to pick this font, passing on others that are less unprofessional. I'd like to know what they were thinking when they made this decision. If it turned out that their actual motivation was "tee hee hee, this'll really piss off those geeks who hate Comic Sans!!!", that would actually be more damaging to their professionalism than just picking Comic Sans.
 
2012-07-05 02:43:26 PM
It's not life-ending, you comic sans apologists...it's UNPROFESSIONAL, that's all. There are plenty of fonts which do not look like a child's writing. I find it well worthy of mockery.

My girlfriend does NOT get why I get all excited when I see a business sign (like, a permanent sign) done in Comic Sans.
 
2012-07-05 02:51:46 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-07-05 02:54:29 PM
Oh FFS, can you shut up with the font hate shiat? It's a font, ot doesn't matter. Comic Sans, Papyrus, who the fark cares? The information matters more than the shape of the letters. If you think otherwise, you're just nitpicking and trying to fond something to biatch about. Why not go to the library and complain the book covers are too bright? Or that stop signs are too octagon-y if you're just looking for something to complain about. fark, just shut up about font type.

There. And none of that was in Comic Sans, is that ok with you?
 
2012-07-05 02:56:31 PM

MagnesDrachen: Oh FFS, can you shut up with the font hate shiat? It's a font, ot doesn't matter. Comic Sans, Papyrus, who the fark cares? The information matters more than the shape of the letters. If you think otherwise, you're just nitpicking and trying to fond something to biatch about. Why not go to the library and complain the book covers are too bright? Or that stop signs are too octagon-y if you're just looking for something to complain about. fark, just shut up about font type.

There. And none of that was in Comic Sans, is that ok with you?


Well that full paragraph of ranting sure convinced me the subject doesn't matter to you.
 
2012-07-05 03:02:24 PM
The issue of font doesn't matter to me. But the biatching, the constant, incessant biatching about font, does matter to me. People need to just shutup. It's a font. It's a farking font.
 
2012-07-05 03:04:18 PM
Can we drop the banal discussion of what font to use in scientific presentations, and get on to something important, like whether to write equations in Word or LaTeX?
 
2012-07-05 03:07:21 PM
Tranquil Hegemony:

Comic Sans is an unprofessional font.
...

But that's just like, my opinion, man.

Here's the important parts.

Yes, it largely is a matter of personal opinion. The only difference is this: I don't attach any 'extra' meaning to someone's choice of fonts. It is indeed meaningless.

Those that get all assed up over it? I'm happy to help. Matter of fact, I'm going to start a movement that will result in EVERY SINGLE DEFAULT FONT ON EVERY COMPUTER YOU'LL EVER USE BE SET TO COMIC SANS FOREVER.

Just to piss you people off.

*insert robertdownyyoupeoplepic.jpg
 
2012-07-05 03:13:15 PM

Ambitwistor: Can we drop the banal discussion of what font to use in scientific presentations, and get on to something important, like whether to write equations in Word or LaTeX?


I never got over the steep learning curve for LaTeX, but for as much as I hate MS Word, the equation editor is great. The only problem I have with it is that the word processor has a tendency to re-cast equations as floating objects under some circumstances, and then I have to go through and make the equations all over again.
 
2012-07-05 03:20:24 PM

xaks: Tranquil Hegemony:

Comic Sans is an unprofessional font.
...

But that's just like, my opinion, man.

Here's the important parts.


I'd argue that Comic Sans, designed specifically to resemble a child's handwriting, is by definition not a professional font for professional papers. It's for lemonade stands, bake sales, and school announcements.

Every font in existence was designed by a typographer to convey a certain tone, mood, etc. I understand that most people are not consciously aware of this. You may not have noticed that these papers gave off a vibe of unprofessionalism due to the choice of typeface. But, to paraphrase Red Letter Media, your brain did.
 
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