Graphic Design Halloween Costumes 3

It’s that time of year again when leaves change, the sky gets a crisper blue, the evenings cool down, you pull out your big cozy sweaters and cuddle up with your favorite someone over hot apple cider. Well actually, here in San Francisco, not that many leaves change, and your sweaters are already in heavy rotation after our freezing cold summers… but it still somehow feels undeniably like Fall now.

And that means Halloween is almost here, and the challenge of coming up with a fun graphic-design-related Halloween costume is once again upon us. As I unfortunately will be missing Halloween this year, here are some costume suggestions for all the other designers out there, and I hope you guys do something incredible!

Villains and Horror Shows

X-acto, Chip Kidd’s Batman Nemesis in “Batman: Death by Design”

The famous book cover designer Chip Kidd, who I’ve written about before, has written several books including an issue of Batman titled “Death by Design.” The premise is pretty amazing, with architecture- and construction-related villains wreaking havoc on Gotham City, including the punny “X-acto” named after a designer’s best trimming & cutting friend (read more about the plot). Talk about the perfect design villain costume! This woman’s silver-gloved get-up and fabulous headpiece are great inspiration for a pretty epic DIY costume. (source)

Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - X-Acto


The Death of Print

Whether you think claims of an inevitable “death of print” are baseless fear-mongering or an informed view of a technological revolution, this costume allows for fun, dramatic, nerdy, puny creativity—all my favorite costume characteristics! (source)

Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - Death of Print

Bad Kerning

I wasn’t able to find an example of this costume already done, but I feel like there is a lot of potential here. Whether you’re using bad kerning to make silly click/dick jokes, or just trying to horrify your designer friends, there’s plenty of room for fun. One idea is going with a group where each person is a different letter, and spend the evening playing with ways to be improperly spaced—lots of photo ops!

Internet Related

In previous costume post, I featured Internet-themed costumes such as the Firefox Logo and an 8-Bit Avatar. Recently I found a few great additions to this collection—meme, app and emoji inspired costumes. Check out these hilarious black-and-white greeting-card ladies (source), classy app icons, emoji group (source), and beer-drinking smiling pile of poo!

Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - eCardsPixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - App IconsPixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - EmojisPixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - Emojis

Follow Ups from Previous Posts (I and II)

Some great new ideas for a Pixelated costume:

Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - Pixelated 1 Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - Pixelated 2 Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - Pixelated 3

… and new ideas for Famous Artwork, especially the Roy Lichtenstein girl:

Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes

Last Minute Costume

My favorite Easy Out costume this year is to get together with some buddies for a CMYK costume. With other group sizes, you could do a 3-person as RGB or a couple as BW. And if you’re the only costume-procrastinator, there’s always my favorite from the last post, Error 404: Costume Not Found.

Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - CMYK

And finally, if you want to bring your design-related Halloween theming to an all time high, try your hand at carving a Pantone Pumpkin!

Pixel and Pilcrow - Graphic Design Halloween Costumes - Pantone PumpkinEnjoy your Halloween!


Hey, Type Girl

The Hey, Girl meme has spread far and wide, and at this point is rather old hat. But typography jokes are few and far between, and as we type nerds  get so few chances to share our industry inside jokes I couldn’t resist sharing this collection, despite its lack of timeliness. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little extra Ryan Gosling to your day… Enjoy!

Hey Girl Leading Hey Girl Fleurons Hey Girl Ligature Continue reading Hey, Type Girl

The Comic Sans Comitragedy

As a designer, I often stumble into the topic of Comic Sans. Sometimes I’m pushed into it, sometimes I approach it voluntarily, but whatever its introduction it seems to come up with an inevitable and startling frequency. Partially I think this is because Comic Sans has inspired such a strong reaction within the design world that it is one of the main topic non-designers think of or already know about when they think of the world of design. (Usually brought up either right before or right after the comment “I saw this documentary the other day, all about a font! Have you heard about it? I think it was called Helvetica or something.”)

And to some extent I understand. The furor over the font has reached practically legendary proportions. Personally, I think that some of the responses and commentary are hilarious, some are actually quite intelligent and some are merely perplexing. I have listed below what I believe are some of the most noteworthy jokes, facts, and websites on the whole Comic Sans debacle. Feel free to pass them on or rely on them for your own future Comic Sans conversations. And if you know of any good ones not listed here, please share—I would love to add to my collection!

1. I’m Comic Sans, Asshole.

This delightful monologue, from the wonderful people at McSweeneys, is a strong and hilarious defense of the font’s strengths, belligerently taking on all of its detractors. Here is the beginning of the rant, and you can read it in full on the McSweeneys website.

Listen up. I know the shit you’ve been saying behind my back. You think I’m stupid. You think I’m immature. You think I’m a malformed, pathetic excuse for a font. Well think again, nerdhole, because I’m Comic Sans, and I’m the best thing to happen to typography since Johannes fucking Gutenberg.

2. You’re a Comic Sans Criminal, But We’re Here To Help You

On the other side of the debate is the beautifully designed and delightful website It does the most concise and convincing job I’ve seen of explaining just what exactly is so bad about Comic Sans. I highly recommend you go check it out, and refer all your friends and family to it. The gist of its message is that there’s nothing wrong with the font itself, it’s just its chronic misuse and overuse that have ruined its reputation forever. As a font designed for children and based off of comic strips, it is an inappropriate choice for serious topics, perhaps most poignantly seen in the example of the Surrey police station’s use of Comic Sans for its rape victim information sheet (definitely not a laughing matter).


3. Googling “Helvetica”

If Comic Sans has an archenemy, a nemesis, or perhaps just a polar opposite, in style as well as in the hearts and minds of designers, it would be Helvetica. Which is why Google chose it for one of its April Fools pranks in 2011. When anyone googled the word “Helvetica” (or “Comic Sans”), the Google results page was displayed with all text written in Comic Sans. The results were truly cringe-worthy, and got a lot of notice and chuckles.

4. Comic Sans Pro?!

At the same time as said famous April Fools Prank, a more serious development was going down in the world of Comic Sans. Monotype Imaging announced the release of their new typeface, Comic Sans Pro. Available for the low price of $120, the newly upgraded typeface will now provide swashes, alternates, and comic-themed icons.

Comic Sans Pro Font Specimen
Comic Sans Pro Font Specimen

“But the company wasn’t taking itself too seriously. The typeface is good for scrapbooking and school projects, but that’s not all, said Allan Haley, director of words and letters at Monotype Imaging. “Comic Sans is also a favorite in professional environments, used in medical information, instructions, ambulance signage, college exams, corporate mission statements, and executive reprimands–even public letters from sports team owners to their fans,” he said. “Breaking up with your spouse? Why not write a letter in Comic Sans Pro, embellished with a typographic whack!, pow! or bam! Comic Sans is everywhere, and now it’s even better.”” (read the full cnet article here). It’s nice to know that the publishers know exactly how ridiculous the typeface is!

But my problem with this whole situation is that the only people I know who are even aware that typefaces can be bought, nonetheless actually have bought them, are designers. And Comic Sans has such a strong stigma attached to it, that no designer can ever really feel comfortable about using it. So who, exactly, is the target audience for this new typeface?! I’m sure I don’t know. Coincidentally, if you feel inspired to purchase Comic Sans Pro, it is available here.

5. The Personal Tragedy of Comic Sans

The saddest part of Comic Sans, to me, is the type designer who created it. Vincent Connare, who designed Comic Sans in all of a week, has never received the recognition for any of his other typefaces that Comic Sans has gotten.

“Mr. Connare, 48 years old, now works at Dalton Maag, a typography studio in London, and finds his favorite creation—a sophisticated typeface called Magpie—eclipsed by Comic Sans. He cringes at the most improbable manifestations of his Frankenstein’s monster font and rarely uses it himself, but he says he tries to be polite when he meets people excited to be in the presence of the creator. Googling himself, he once found a Black Sabbath band fan site that used Comic Sans. The site’s creators even credited him. “You can’t regulate bad taste,” he says.”

The rest of the article on the Wall Street Journal is really interesting, and I highly recommend reading it. Being the creator of a widely-reviled typeface is a bizarre legacy for a type designer to live with. I imagine it would be rather disappointing from a career standpoint too.

Just some food for thought on the ever-present Comic Sans. I’d love to hear your thoughts, responses, comments, or any additions to my list.

XKCD—Design Humor

My friend Sarah pointed me towards this great XKCD comic the other day. So true!


I also really enjoyed this one. It’s more related to ebooks (and Hitchhiker’s Guide!) than design in general, but hopefully you still enjoy it:


Graphic Design Halloween Costumes 1

In honor of this Sunday I’d like to post some great art or graphic design inspired costumes.  Enjoy!

Shephard Fairey’s Obama
real life Comic Book Girl, Roy Lichtenstein style
Blogger Sarah McPherson goes as “Lo-Res” – every graphic designer’s nightmare!
Another pixelated look (although I don’t think this is supposed to be for a costume!)