Review: HVD Comic Serif is a wholesome hero of a font

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HVD Comic Serif

    PCWorld Rating

    Tough but charming, HVD Comic Serif makes Comic Sans look like a wimpy Silver Age bad guy. It's well-designed, and will work in any context for which it's appropriate.

"So many designers hate Comic Sans," designer Hannes von Döhren of HVD Font says in email. "They think people who don't know design are overusing this funny little friendly font, which is nearly every time out of place." His Comic Serif is a (PostScript) OpenType font that's an interesting alternative if you want to stick with the comic book theme. The slab serif letters are drawn monoline, but with a fun, easy-going attitude.

Just like its archnemesis, Comic Serif is very legible, even at small text sizes, and can easily be used equally as a display or poster font. However, although the two Comic fonts have a vaguely related heritage, and both include the handwritten styles for lowercase a and g (rather than letter press style), Comic Serif probably isn't going to be a good choice for beginning readers, mainly because of the heavy weight of the font and the short descenders, which cause the heavy slab serifs to almost not fit in the glyph.

Comic Serif is regular (400) weight, although it seems heavier, possibly because of the short ascenders and descenders relative to the x-height, and x-height slightly above the median. Plus, there's no bold version of the font, so bolding the font in a text editing program like Microsoft Word or Open Office makes the letters almost run together. That said, Comic Serif includes a crazy 11,940 kerning pairs, so whatever your copy, it's going to be well spaced; plus all upper and lowercase glyphs, plus numbers, punctuation, many mathematical and scientific glyphs, and Eastern, Central, and Western European language support.

As designer von Döhren suggests, appropriate use is key to not looking out of place, whatever font you use. So even though it includes scientific and mathematical glyphs, don't use Comic Serif (or any font with the word Comic in its name, for that matter) for grant proposals, dissertations, or signs at MIT. Comic Serif includes installable embedding, and is free for personal and commercial use.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page will download the font to your system.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Tough but charming, HVD Comic Serif makes Comic Sans look like a wimpy Silver Age bad guy. It's well-designed, and will work in any context for which it's appropriate.

    Pros

    • Highly legible
    • Fun comic feel

    Cons

    • Single font
    • Heavy weight limits usability
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