Comic Sans apocalypse

Well that’s it then. The End of Days. Armageddon. Civilization? all over. I have seen a sign: Someone with sufficient cash for a brand new Bentley has seen fit to customize it not only with a personalised license plate (tacky, but unsurprising) – but one set in design’s least favourite typeface: Comic Sans.

Momentarily traumatised whilst driving I failed to whip out the phone camera to record this portent of doom or to note particulars for the design police, but trust me – its out there somewhere…

A footballer/hedge fund manager/otherwise fat cat (delete according to prejudice) with a total absence of taste is nothing new, but we should resent the institutional disregard for visual culture that enables such horrors.

There are the security implications. In a desperate grab for cash our DVLA keenly sells off ‘special’ numbers and allows their production in any format or style. Surprisingly in an era of intense public surveillance justified by terrorism, our government appears to have given up on a license plate letterform specification devised to aid apprehension of fleeing criminals by eye or digital data recognition. There are now license plates in script typefaces challenging to the human eye, let alone computer-aided systems.

Aesthetic and security issues aside, the loss of our standard license plates is an unfastening of a piece of the UK’s distinct taken-for-granted design heritage and visual culture. Perhaps our license plates aren’t the world’s most beautiful (personally I always envied Italy’s condensed-face license plates and once attempted to buy a small Fiat at source to have them) but their practical and aesthetic value should be recognised. How long before our world-leading Motorway sign system is deregulated and diluted by sponsorship?

Be afraid. Comic Sans is just the beginning…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.