An Alternative to Comic Sans - need informal looking font with distinction between regular and bold weight in smaller sizes

kpromance's picture

I am working on a second edition of a phrase book and need some help finding a font.

The phrase book has three columns - English, Spanish and Phonetics

I will use Helvetica 9pt for the first two columns - I like it for its readability. Plus, with my book design, I need an uncluttered, very legible font, and I'm happy with Helvetica.

Previously I used Comic Sans for the Phonetics column. I liked it because it was clearly VERY different from Helvetica. Since my phonetics is a language of my own creation, I like the very informal feeling of Comic Sans. However, in this edition, I want to decrease the font size to 8. At 8pt, the distinction between Comic Sans Regular and Comic Sans Bold largely disappears. (The distinction between bold and regular text is VERY important since it tells the user which syllable to stress.)

I've been unable to find a good alternative font with the same characteristics. By the way, I'd love to find a font which also offers italic and perhaps several weights for greater flexibility.

Even though standard serif fonts make a strong contrast with Helvetica, I don't like them for this application. They are too serious looking for my purposes.

Thanks for any ideas that you can give me.


Phil Baber's picture

Helvetica actually has poor readability at small sizes.

I think most people on this website will advise you strongly
against Comic Sans. There are much more attractive solutions for
a 'friendly' sans serif face. Look at Courier Sans (
Or Helvetica Rounded. It provides quite distinct variation to 'regular'
Helvetica and is 'friendly' looking.


jupiterboy's picture

I've not used this, but it might work for what you want.

John Nolan's picture

Hmm, 8 point...
Look at Adobe's Cronos Pro. You might like the Italic caption.

Highlander Book Italic might be another possibility.

You also might look at OurType's Fresco family, with a serif, and sans, an "informal" and a script. I don't know how well the script would work at 8 points, but Fresco is more compact than the faces you're using, so you might be able to go up a point with the space you'd save. Fresco Informal would work at smaller sizes, I think.

I don't know how to link to individual samples on OurType's site, but go here, wait for the animation to finish, then select from the choices.

kpromance's picture

Thanks for all your suggestions. The rounded or italic font options COULD possibly work but I think I still prefer an even MORE informal looking font. I will try the fonts you mentioned ...

Depending on the font, I may be able to go 9pt. (I'm using 9pt with the Helvetica.) The font must be quite readable and have both lower and upper case letters (which rules out the Ulixa font).

Thanks for the ideas ... and any more that you may have.


j_polo9's picture

lol well at least you didn't use arial and times new roman :P

Stephen Coles's picture

I'm not sure a very casual handwritten font is the best choice. Wouldn't you like to lend your phonetics more credibility?

If you want to keep it informal, but maintain readability and some authority Bryant should serve well.

Syndicate content Syndicate content