It’s hard to disagree that virtual assistants have wrought little good in this world. From Clippy’s benignly stupid questions to BonziBuddy’s spyware and evil homepage resets, it’s a wonder that Siri or Google Now have been able to reclaim any goodwill. But it turns out virtual assistants have a more lasting negative impact than general annoyance: the font Comic Sans.
Comic Sans lore says that Vincent Connare, a designer on a Microsoft consumer software team, saw a working prototype of the assistant Microsoft Bob back in 1994. This featured a cartoon dog named Rover speaking in text bubbles and, incongruously for a cartoon, Rover spoke in Times New Roman.