Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Hate-Hate Relationship

Over the past several years, I have taught many how to recognize and detest Papyrus.

Papyrus was created in 1982, but it wasn't until over a decade later, when it was released on the Mac OSX standard platform in 2003, that it became a noticeable problem. The first year of it's Mac release Papyrus didn't ruffle my feathers, I may have even used it once or twice. But by 2005, I had grown to passionately despise the typeface.

My objection is simply overuse. It's everywhere: organic products, non-organic products, alternative healing methods, teas, snack foods, menus, cosmetic products, storefronts, Nathan Fillion movies (!), animated shows and multi-million dollar movies (including the subtitles???). It can also be seen all over basically any resort or beach town—I've been known to twitch when walking through the towns in the Outer Banks of North Carolina because I couldn't point out violations fast enough.

I'm not the only one startled (and annoyed) by the universal infatuation with a typeface that should really be used in moderation and in niche markets. And I'm not alone in the fight to educate civilians.

Here's some great Papyrus-centric Blogs:
Papyrus Watch: (Incidentally I've eaten at this deli in Camden, Maine, that they are posting about here and it's amazing! Also, Camden makes my list of top 5 US cities I wouldn't mind living in)
Attack of Papyrus
Say it With Papyrus

People were pretty irritated with Papyrus' Appearance in Avatar: writes:
One would think that, in the $300,000,000+ budget for Avatar, there would have been some room for hir­ing a let­ter­ing artist or cal­li­grapher. If there was only $30 allot­ted to the sub­title typeface (which appears to be the case), designs like ITC Noovo™, ITC Tem­pus™ Sans, Briem™ Script or Car­o­lina™ would have car­ried off the alien and beau­ti­fully exotic demeanor of the Na’vi quite well – and would not have reminded the audi­ence of a res­taur­ant menu.

Papyrus has become a common punchline. Here's one of my favorite comics: (click to enlarge)

So familiarize yourselves with the type specs and be on the lookout. It won't be long before Papyrus slaps you in the face. And over the next few weeks, watch out for the holiday season's version of Papyrus: Almonte Snow.


  1. Whenever I see Papyrus, I think of you and your hate.

  2. My hate has a wide breadth. Time to institute group hate!