NOT MY TYPE: 10 Overused Fonts and Why you should Never Use Them. (Part 1)

Carl Barnhill

Fonts are important. Very important. Your font choices and how you display them are a key element in making your environments look ‘next level’.

Although this topic is subjective, there are certain fonts that are widely agreed upon in the industry as overused, out-dated, or just considered fonts ‘the pros don’t use’. There are jokes in the graphic design industry about fonts, as you can see from the video from College Humor above.

There are two fonts in particular that get the most hate from professional designers and are the first two fonts on our list: Papyrus and Comic Sans. People are devoting full websites to the overuse of these fonts:,

Here are 5 Fonts you should never use and why:

01. Papyrus

Remember that Vacation Bible School that was about Ancient Times or Biblical Characters? I bet you used Papyrus back then. We all have. Papyrus was born in 1983 by Chris Costello. He manually designed it after six months of manual hand-drawing. The font has saturated the design world. It can be seen on banners, books, signs, advertisements, and in loads of graphic designs. But this doesn’t mean you should use it. The font has been dreaded by designers everywhere because most designers feel like it does not fit projects, and it is such a joke in the industry now, its just not a good idea.

Alternative Font Choice: Veneer (


Check out these photos of the use of Papyrus I shot with my iPhone:

(click on the image to enlarge)

Papyrus Finds 01     Papyrus Finds 02     Papyrus Finds 03

02. Comic Sans

People love to hate this font. Comic Sans MS is one of the basic Windows fonts installed in your computer and has been since Windows 95. It was designed by Vincent Connare as a child-oriented font. According to him, the original design was to be used with speech bubbles and not general use. But people fell in love with the font, and it became a cliche. Designers generally agree that this font is childish, and not to be used for serious projects. It is very overused, and therefore, it would behoove you to choose a different typeface.

Alternative Font Choice: Orange Juice 

03. Impact

Impact can be easy to read, and can be good for getting attention. However, it has been so misused so frequently that few designers dare to use it anymore, preferring to use other high-visibility and header fonts. Most designers agree that this font is too thin, and too amateurish to stand out. Avoid it and opt for an alternative font choice.

Alternative Font Choice: Bebas Neue

04. Times New Roman

Times New Roman was named after the Times of London, which is a British newspaper. In 1929, the newspaper needed a new body text font for their paper.  It was created by Stanley Morison and Victor Lardent. It became very popular when Microsoft Office made it its default font. It became so overly used that people began to dislike it. Most designers feel the font is too narrow, its bold typeface is harder to read, and the spacing or kerning has also been a problem.

Alternative Font Choice: Avenir 

05. Brush Script

The Brush Script typeface was designed in 1942 by Robert E. Smith for the American Type Founders. It’s widely considered outdated and was named #3 “Least Favorite” in a 2007 designers’ survey, conducted by Anthony Cahalan ( In this same survey, “Least Favorite” is defined as “misused or overused”, “ugly”, “boring, dated, impractical or cliched”, “dislike or blind hatred”. It was also rated #5 in “The 8 Worst Fonts in World” list in Simon Garfield’s 2010 book.

Alternative Font Choice: Lobster 

For 5 more Overused Fonts, check out this blog post:
NOT MY TYPE: 10 Overused Fonts and Why you Should Never Use Them (Part 2)

Also check out this blog post:
5 Go-To Fonts for Worship Lyrics

Weigh in! What fonts do you think should never be used for lyrics, or any designs at your church?

About Carl Barnhill

Owner, Church Visuals

Carl Barnhill is a creative entrepreneur, motion designer and author. He is the Owner Church Visuals, a company that helps Ministry Leaders visually communicate the Gospel. He is the host of the Your Visuals Matter Podcast. You can find him in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife, Katie and two sons, Jacob and Wesley.

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