Get to Know a Typeface! Papyrus


This post is more for me than you. I’m sorry but I must use this platform to get this off my chest. Please avoid Papyrus.

The post could have ended there, but as usual, I say too much and end up needing to apologize for something I’ve written. If I have or will offend you with this post, including Chris Costello (the type designer who created the monster known as Papyrus), I am sorry. I guess I could have taken Paul’s post on Comic Sans and inserted his comments here to cover Papyrus. You know, that’s not such a bad idea.

Here we go: “The problem with [Papyrus] is not only that it is used a lot. It’s that it’s almost always used inappropriately, which has caused its original intent to be lost. It was designed with a specific use in mind, but now it is ubiquitous.”  Well said, Paul. Costello agrees and says on his blog titled “Papyrus…Love It or Hate It?” that “Dude, Papyrus is ubiquitous because it was bundled with OSX and Windows operating systems, plain and simple… I had nothing to do with that decision.” I like his honesty and use of the word “dude” in the post.

Costello goes on to say in another post, “I cringe when I see Papyrus so poorly executed…and so often. But again, like any licensed software, what people do with it is out of my hands.” I think that it is awesome that Costello’s blog provides a place for people to rant or rave about his creation. Some of the comments provide insight into his creation and its original use, while others are just hilarious. There is even is a post from Costello’s mom, who has a take on Papyrus.

Much like Comic Sans, Papyrus in and of itself is not that bad of a typeface. It is the users of Papyrus who over use and abuse it.  It can be seen everywhere. I see it most commonly in restaurant menus (primarily Italian restaurants) and in signage or advertisements for day spas (primarily the type found in strip malls). I have even seen it on a sign for a dentist’s office. Which was an effective use considering the cavities found within each letter form. But really, please avoid Papyrus.

To learn more about Papyrus or Chris Costello check out his website at Costello is also collecting comments and displaying his newest type creations known as Driftwood, Costello, and Sheriden’s Letters. Will one of those be the next Papyrus? Only time will tell.

For those who love Papyrus, and I know you are out there, check out

Do I need a hobby or something else to care about? I want to hear from the herd, what is the typeface that really bugs you? For me it is Papyrus, for Paul it is Comic Sans, what is it for you?

Movie Review: “Helvetica”

“The meaning is in the content of the text not in the typeface and that’s why we loved Helvetica so much” – Wim Coronwel, “Helvetica”

IBD should not be confused with IMDB, and Paul and I should not be confused with Siskel and Ebert. This post, however, may be an exception. If you find yourself saying things like, “I wonder what that typeface is…” or, “That is an excellent use of a sans serif font…” we have something in common, and the documentary “Helvetica” is for you.

The 2007 release “Helvetica” brings recognition to a typeface that was created not to be noticed. Designed to be clean, well balanced, and easy to read, Helvetica (the typeface, not the movie) has saturated our environment on signs, logos, and multitudes of other printed and digital media. Some of my favorite parts of the movie were montage sequences that show how much Helvetica is used in our environment. It is staggering how often it is used and we don’t recognize it (at least, most don’t).

Graphic designers depend on type designers to create typefaces that we can use to enhance our messages. This documentary provides insight into elements of creating a typeface, as well as the impact that one typeface can have on the design world.

One of the last interviews is with Michael Place, who says, “The biggest thing for me, in terms of design, is to get sort of an emotional response. For me it is all about the emotional response.” As interpreters and designers, it should be all about the emotional response for us, too.

If you haven’t seen it, add it to your Netflix queue, though I wouldn’t recommend it for a first date (or any date, for that matter).

Oh, and for the record, I would be Roger Ebert.