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Vatican's send-off to Pope Benedict XVI: A photo storybook written in Comic Sans

March 6, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET

Vatican's Pope Benedict comic sans e-book
Vatican.va
The online e-book released by the Vatican to commemorate emeritus Pope Benedict XVI uses curly page turns and the Comic Sans font.

The Vatican has published an interactive e-book about Pope Benedict's eight-year run, and the legacy he leaves behind. It's a rudimentary interactive tome, one whose stately photographs and magisterial captions are a stark contrast to its curling animated pages and its Comic Sans font.

That's right, the font that the Internet loves to hate is the chosen text formatting for such sentiments as this one:

Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful.

One only has to search for "Comic Sans" to see that passions against the poor font have risen to fairly nerdish heights. There's a website dedicated to banning it. Why? Over and over again, designers have listed their problems with the typeface. One impassioned fellow called Matt Dempsey created an online tutorial for thoughtless Comic Sans users, patiently describing when you are allowed to use the font and when it aren't. He did offer redemption to "Comic Sans Criminals" who signed the pledge to never use the font inappropriately again.

Among epic Comic Sans blunders of the past, the CERN presentation announcing the Higgs boson results was particularly memorable. The chief scientist presenting to a packed press room used Comic Sans in her slideshow. On Twitter, the shrill objection to her choice of typeface almost drowned out tweets about the finding itself. (The researcher has said she used it because she liked it, and others have come to her defense, suggesting that maybe she didn't have a choice.)

But considering the Web 1.0 look of the rest of the Vatican website, the photo album fits in its own strange way. Presumably, the Vatican is preoccupied with issues greater than launching redesigns of its Web network.

Still, it might help if they tweaked things around just a little bit. There's a small but growing body of evidence that says people associate emotions with typefaces, and may not trust all typefaces the same way.

— via The Verge

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and technology. Follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook.

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