It’s an advertiser’s wet dream: you mention something casually online, and by the end of the day it’s amassed 10 000 tweets, tens of thousands of Facebook likes and 90 000 unique visitors to your website.
No, this isn’t news that Victoria Beckham’s been clinically dead for the last 12 years, Kate Middleton regularly shags Peter Stringfellow or that the Queen only eats pumas*.
So what’s the fuss all about? Yup, The Comic Sans typeface.
In a heart-warming tale of the triumph of the underdog, 21-year-old student Matt Dempsey has achieved the status of ‘internet phenomenon’ (without even trying) with his website ComicSansCriminal.com.
The second year graphic design student from the University of Portsmouth is the brains behind the site, and told his tutor that if just one person visited his website and it inspired them to think about what typefaces suited different purposes then he would consider it a success. Awwww.
The site went live on 21 December. Savvy Matt then uploaded a screenshot to the work-in-progress sharing design community Dribbble.com, and seconds later designers began posting the website link on Twitter and Facebook.
’The mayhem began,’ says Dempsey. ’By Tuesday evening ’Comic Sans’ had become a trending topic on Twitter and was second only to ’Christmas’ as the most talked about subject by millions of users worldwide.’
The corporate jewel in his crown?
‘On Christmas Eve I was Yahoo!’s website of the day’, he says.
Beat that Santa!
* None of these are true, don’t sue me.