Algerian, The Worst Offender
I consider Algerian the worst typeface ever. Let’s see why.
I understand why regular people (not design professionals) use Comic Sans. It’s fun, readable and useful when telling co-workers to clean after themselves without sounding too preachy. Imagine writing that sort of message in a business font like Times (New Roman) or the default aseptic sans-serifs Arial and Helvetica. Comic Sans makes those signs look friendly. It tells your co-workers that what they do is just a minor nuisance (when in reality it drives everybody crazy). But Algerian? Why do people love Algerian?
Apparently Philip Kelly created Algerian in 1988 to embellish “any work which suggests the Victorian era”. It seems the Eighties didn’t spare typography either. Fortunately for us, there is a typeface that suggests the Victorian era and is well crafted, versatile and very easy on the eyes: the Phaeton font by Kevin Cornell and Randy Jones.
It’s the font I used in the logo of Icon Kitchen, my little icon shop.
It looks like I’m not the only one who can’t stand Algerian. Other people suffer the existence of this offending typeface. This fun article lists the most overused typefaces around and, sure enough, Algerian made the list. Also don’t forget to hurt yourself with the Flickr pool, “The Algerian Font, a burning hate”.
How can anyone ever think of using this?!
Please note the Polish text at the bottom of the sample image. Algerian is eerily popular here in Poland. In fact it’s time for a confession:
I used to work for a company whose logo is set in Algerian.
Agro Polska sells pet products. Here’s what their website looks like:
Before you ask, yes, while I was “employed” there (I won’t elaborate on the contractual conditions, or lack thereof) I was asked to redesign the logo and the website.
My boss (a Frenchman) was adamant about keeping the font but of course he wanted me to add little animals sitting on the words:
That’s a rainbow gradient ladies and gentlemen.
This was my desk:
The reason cat litter is sitting on the desk, along with bird feed, is because I had to design the packaging for those products. There are dead computers sitting on the floor too…
I had just got laid off and I needed the money. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
I’ll close this shameful confession with a Lionel Richie quote: “I’ve paid my dues to make it”
I have pictures of signs set in Algerian from over here in Poland but I won’t publish them because I’m a nice guy.
Folks, next time you cringe at Comic Sans remember: it could be much worse!