Comic Sans for Cancer

Comic Sans for Cancer

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Comic Sans for Cancer is an exhibition of posters inspired by the 20th anniversary of Comic Sans (the font we all love to hate) with proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.

We caught up with the exhibition’s curators Chris Flack, Renee Quigley and Jenny Theolin to find out what the hell they were thinking.

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Why Comic Sans? For the love of God, why?! Please explain yourselves.
We are sorry… I’m sure you wished it was ‘Helvetica against Hernias’ or ‘Gotham for Gonorrhea’  but alas that would probably be to easy. This was meant to be a challenge. If a designer can make Comic Sans look good then they can do anything.

Seriously we noticed that no one was celebrating the 20th anniversary of Comic Sans. Everyone had celebrated Helvetica’s 50th birthday but on one seemed to be celebrate the most ‘talked about font in the world’ 20th birthday.  

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As designers & friends we wanted to do a project with a difference – which is how Comic Sans for Cancer started. We all know people who have been affected by cancer, so we decided we wanted to do something that was fun and quirky to raise money for Cancer research while at the same time celebrate the 20th year of Comic Sans. 

Everyone love to hate Comic Sans. So why not take the font the everyone loves to hate and put it to good use. As a designer I despise Comic Sans and thats the fun of it. Using something that’s perceived as being a little bit unloved for good and plus “Comic Sans for Cancer” just has a good ring to it. 

We really wanted the project to be fun and not take itself too seriously. “This may be the first time we publicly admit to having used Comic Sans. We apologise in advance to the design gods for the design sins we are about to commit. Please have mercy on our souls.”

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9 out of ten people have heard of Comic Sans. So there is a lot of public interest in it and everyone seems to have a view or it (good or bad). As Vincent Connare said “If you love it, you don’t know much about typography and if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either”.

And it feels like its the right time for Comic Sans to make its come back. and we thought it would be quite fun to have Vincent Connare and Ban Comic Sans posters in the same room.

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You’ve had over 500 submissions. Was it difficult creating a shortlist to exhibit? How did you chose? (surely they all look awful!?)

It was one of the hardest shortlist to ever make, since all the entries were worthy to be in the exhibition. We’ve tried to create a selection that will turn heads, evoke debate, make us laugh and/or are also just pretty to look at. We spent an afternoon going through each entry on a projector, and if the submission got 2+ votes, it went through to the next round. Bit like Designer X-Factor. Can’t wait for everyone to see them all!

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Can you tell us about the show? What can we expect?
You know the ‘guy’ nobody likes but everyone knows throws a killer party? Comic Sans is this guy. Without giving much away, we are celebrating a birthday here remember, so expect the best birthday party in the arts community. 

There will be a huge selection of both heartfelt/serious and humorous/silly posters – ensuring there’s something for everyone. Expect giant installations, ironic little things, and of course the proof of the blood, sweat and tears from the artists who designed against their morals to raise money for Cancer Research Uk.

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Anything you’d like to add?
Come with an open mind, designers sold their souls for this for a good cause
There are few chances in the design community to come together, have a bit of fun and raise money. This was a fairly open brief and we can’t wait to see everyones reactions to this truly global selection of work. Come along, have a laugh, donate, and spread the word.

Exhibition is at The Proud Archivist from Aug 20th – 24th 2014. A limited number of posters will be available to purchase at the exhibition and online.

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Sean Rees
  • Written by Sean Rees
  • Posted on Jul 21, 2014