It has been a running joke amongst graphic designers that if we saw a company publish content using the font Comic Sans, it was 100% obvious that they needed design help. Comic Sans is the Nickelback of fonts, it takes more than its fair share of rap for an industry worth of bad design choices. People using Microsoft products picked Comic Sans because they liked it but instead of making them look approachable, it made them look unprofessional or even lazy. Unfortunately, choosing Playlist Script in Canva is following the same path leading to the same fate.
Comic Sans was for kids
Comic Sans was designed in 1995 by then Microsoft employee Vincent Connare and was ironically designed because of the shock of seeing Times New Roman used inappropriately in kids software. The original intention was to use it in applications only for children.
“Comic Sans isn’t complicated, it isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t the same old text typeface like in a newspaper. It’s just fun — and that ‘s why people like it.” – Vincent Connare, creator of Comic Sans
As digital publishing has grown over the last 20 years, it is understandable that people were looking for a way to differentiate themselves from the stuffy serif fonts that most professional publications were using. Unfortunately, Comic Sans child-like qualities were not doing them any favours. Instead of looking fun or approachable, they were looking unprofessional and immature.
Canva’s Comic Sans = Playlist Script
Over the last 5 years, #canva has seen leaps and bounds of growth since their startup 10 years ago. In February 2023, they celebrated 15 billion designs (wow!). I love Canva, it’s a fantastic tool. It has made graphic design easier, more accessible and empowers everyone from teachers to entrepreneurs. However, as I explained in a previous article, with easier tech accessibility, design theory becomes more important than ever.
There are lots of fonts in Canva that do a wonderful job and are very appropriate for businesses to use. They are readable, they have different weights (bold, italic, light) for different purposes (headings, subheadings, regular text) and they pair nicely with many other fonts. Playlist Script (or arguably any similar handwriting font) can be hard to read (especially in all caps) and is hard to pair with others because of some letters falling below the baseline inconsistently.
It is understandable that people (especially heart centered solo-entrepreneurs) are looking for ways to communicate that they are approachable, fun and heart warming but it really looks like you went with whatever was already setup on the Canva template du-jour instead of doing the work of creating an actual brand.
Differentiate yourself by doing the work
While I can understand that DIY entrepreneurs may not have the funds to hire a graphic designer at the beginning. Do yourself a favour and read up on some font psychology and make informed choices before plastering Playlist Script all over your Instagram.
Your brand fonts should communicate what your company does and what kind of company you are. If you are a bank, big blocky serifs make sense. If you are a consultant and your clients are companies, look at the Corporate category in Canva. The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make is picking fonts and colours that speak to them when their brand really needs to speak to their target audience. It is really hard to take someone seriously when their visuals look like they belong on a pillow, not a proposal.
For some reason, Playlist Script is in a whole lot of Canva templates but the good news is that once you’ve made some informed font choices, changing any Canva template to your chosen brand fonts is easy-peasy. Using your own brand fonts over and over again helps you gain brand consistency, a key to gaining customer trust.