How to Ruin an Album Cover: Use Comic Sans

How classic album covers are being spoiled with the Comic Sans typeface – and clip art

Vinyl is big business.  Over the last year, vinyl restored its position as Britain’s biggest selling physical music format.  Lots of startup businesses began selling vinyl at an staggering rate! Even with a limited number of releases, mainly reissues of classic albums.  In some cases, LPs have been purchased as wall art instead of its intended use: the mutual enjoyment of a seminal album or single.  Funnily enough, most of the classic LPs and 45s were released before the arrival of the bete noire of typefaces.  Ladies and gentlemen, you have guessed right if you thought the typeface was Comic Sans.

Comic Sans is a typeface associated with Microsoft Windows.  It was first used as a friendly alternative to the sans-serif typefaces on Microsoft Bob.  Though Bob flopped, its epiphany came in September 1995 when The Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up was used to advertise Windows ‘95.  It became a friendly go-to typeface for community group posters, word processing, and the butt of all typographical jokes.

As well as its intended purpose, it appeared on shop signs – even for funeral directors’ units.  Also in serious correspondence.  Its notoriety was so great that some wags decided to ‘pay tribute’ to classic albums, by replacing the original typeface with Comic Sans.  There are several websites dedicated to the cause.  The NME has picked up on this phenomenon.

Never Mind The Typefaces…

The NME’s article from last month shows twelve classic albums with the Comic Sans treatment.  Though the effect isn’t too pervasive on The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine album, it is incongruous as hell on The Velvet Underground’s and Nico’s Andy Warhol album.  As for The Sex Pistols’ classic LP from 1977, oh dear.

…Here’s the Clip Art

Besides the NME’s article, the Clip Art Covers Tumblr blog goes a step further.  Popular posters and album covers are overhauled with clip art as well as the dreaded Comic Sans typeface.  If you thought the efforts on the NME’s pieces were bad, Clip Art Covers’ show how unspeakably bad they could be (with clipart and Comic Sans).

Try it yourself

Sorry, but we at Dreamkatcha couldn’t resist the Art Attack reference.  All you need to do is pick an album from your collection.  Then, open up your copy of Microsoft Word, use the Comic Sans typeface and plunder the clipart library of your hard drive (or server space if on Microsoft’s cloud hosted version of MS Office).  Once you’ve finished, print or share on social networking sites.

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