There are fonts that look so bad that they would make a blind man cry.
One of the many skills I’ve learned over the last ten years is graphic design, and this has allowed me to interact with all types of fonts, so believe me when I say some fonts should never see the light of day.
But I also have to admit that how good or bad a font looks is all relative; everyone has their own opinion about particular fonts. And so, for this article, I dove in deep to find the fonts that most people agree are too atrocious to exist.
Curious to know the 15 that made it to our infamous list of the ugliest fonts in history? Then grab a seat and read this to the end.
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Without wasting too much time, here are the 15 fonts you must avoid at all costs.
The first on our list is Creepster, a font that looks like it was designed by someone bored and just wanted to kill time. Just as the name suggests, the font is creepy. I don’t even know what makes it qualify as a font in the first place.
It looks more like badly painted graffiti where the paint started dripping down the wall before it could dry.
Squid and Sideshow created Creepster and it would be the perfect fit for horror movie directors who want a font that screams horror. It could also work nicely on Halloween-themed merchandise like t-shirts, jumpers, and caps.
But this is the last font you want on your documents because it doesn’t work for the headings, titles, or body text.
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This was created by a troll who may have wanted to see how far human incredulity can be pushed. Rock Show Whiplash is so bad that I don’t see any practical use for it.
There’s nothing right with the font. Each letter comes in a different size and nothing is standardized. It’s like the creator simply grabbed a pencil and started scribbling and shading shapes on a wall and decided to turn it into a font.
The font is so bad that the designer isn’t even known, probably hiding in a cave out of shame. The font has been around since 2007, and a sizable population of people still use it for their projects.
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Bradley Hand features a very thin typeface that looks like it was drawn by hand, making it very hard to read. It’s described as a handwriting-style font, which should give you an idea of its design. The font was created in 1996 by Richard Bradley.
Bradley Hand can’t be used on anything significant, like headings or body text, but there was a time it was popular on social media platforms among teenage girls. It would work well on smart devices where the user doesn’t need to strain too much to see written text.
But outside of this, the font has no business appearing on official documents. It’s not just unappealing to the eyes but it’s also unprofessional.
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The Ravie font was created by Ken O’Brien in 1994, so it has been around for quite a while. It almost resembles Curlz, but this one is a little bolder and crazier.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Ravie font is how erratic each letter looks. Some are leaning forwards with irregular shapes that start broadly at the bottom before narrowing down in the middle and getting bigger again at the top.
This design makes it unsuitable for any type of body text because no one would concentrate on reading if this font type was used. Ravie is more of a playful font but in a not-so-appealing way.
This kind of font should be relegated to playing pranks on others; it should never appear on any official document. That said, you can find the font in most Office applications, so you can try playing around with it and see how things pan out.
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Kristen ITC looks like the font was created when a two-year-old was allowed to doodle around on their dad’s computer when he had stepped out for a smoke break. It’s atrocious, up there in the same league as Papyrus and Curlz.
The font was created by George Ryan in 2000 and has a very interesting story behind it. It was made for restaurants, which still doesn’t make much sense because a restaurant menu needs to be legible, and this font is anything but.
While most of the other ugly fonts can at least be used for lettering headings on posters, Kristin ITC simply doesn’t work for that, nor can you use it as the body text on any literary work. I couldn’t find anything in the pop culture circles that dared to use this font, which should tell you everything you need to know.
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Unless you have a gun placed on your head, there’s no reason why you would even consider having this font installed on any of your devices. Curlz could be the only font on this list where everyone agrees with how ugly it looks.
This is an OTF display typeface font created by Steve Matteson in 1995. It borrows heavily from the designs used to develop Comic Sans and Papyrus, which explains why it’s hideous.
The irony of this font is that it was created for decorative purposes, yet it has ended up being the exact opposite of that. Using this on a birthday card is an assured recipe for disaster. Steve Matteson should be serving a lengthy jail term for the crime of releasing this atrocity to the public.
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If this list were about the best fonts for horror films, then Chiller would top it. If you like gory typefaces, then this would be the best fit for you, but anything outside of that is taboo to use the Chiller font.
This font can best be described as undisciplined because it doesn’t follow any conventional font rules. It looks more like drawn artwork, like some graffiti, rather than a font that should be present in any writing system.
It doesn’t just have shocking erratic patterns, but it’s even illegible in some cases, especially when lumped together as body text in smaller sizes. The font was created by Andrew Smith in 2011, as he was aiming to make a font that could be used in graphic designs.
This would be a killer font on your Halloween t-shirt because it carries the aura of horror that would excite anyone who loves dark and gory things. But never use it for your school project or cover letter.
If I were ever tasked with creating the worst torture for criminals, I would just force them to look at long paragraphs of words written in Papyrus. To call this font grotesque is an understatement, and nobody knows why it was created in the first place.
This typeface was created by Chris Costello in 1982 and released the following year by Linotype.
He was 23 when he made the font, and he was inspired to create it when he was studying the bible and tried to imagine what the font would look like in biblical times.
So he set out to hand draw the font and, over the course of six months, delivered this eyesore. Kids, stay away from drugs to avoid ever recreating something as bad as the Papyrus font.
Papyrus has a distinctive appearance with rough edges, high horizontal strokes, and highly irregular curves. It’s not the font you would want in an official letter. Despite its ugliness, James Cameron used it as the title font for his famous movie, Avatar.
It has also been used as opening and end credits on TV shows like Samurai Jack, Medium, and Eureka.
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There’s something unsettling about this font, from the uneven curves to how unsteady the different letters look when typed out.
If you look long enough at something written in Comic Sans, you’ll start to notice how some letters lean in slightly different directions, and if you’re someone who likes everything uniform on a page like me, you’ll get a splitting headache.
Comic Sans was created in 1994 by Vincent Connare and released to the public by Microsoft Corporation, which explains why my first interaction with this font was on Microsoft Word. It was initially created for cartoon comics, hence the name Comic Sans.
The font has undergone some updates over the years, with the most recent coming in 2011, but there wasn’t much that was improved other than adding variants like Italics and Bold.
Famous instances where Comic Sans has been used include the 2010 NBA fiasco when Lebron James left Cleveland Cavaliers, and the owner wrote a letter to the fans in Comic Sans, which made the fans even angrier.
So, if you can avoid this font, the less likely you’ll make mortal enemies.
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Graphic designers heavily use the Impact font, but it always creates a very ugly typeface, no matter how many improvements you add. Even the regular font variation looks heavy, which is why it’s mainly used on posters.
It has thick strokes followed by compressed letter spacing with minimal counter form.
The typeface was created in 1965 by Geoffrey Lee, making it one of the oldest fonts on this list. It was one of the first fonts to be included in the core fonts for web packages distributed by Microsoft Windows since it released Windows 98.
But while the font makes for very bad typefaces on ordinary documents, it gained popularity in the last decade as the perfect font for use on memes. Since it’s a thick font, it stands out more on busy images, and adding a white embossed layer makes it even more visible.
In the 70s, the Impact font was heavily used by magazines because of how heavy and visible it was, especially when combined with various colors.
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I fail to find words to describe the Betelgeuse font. It’s hard to believe that someone could find a way to create something uglier than Rock Show Whiplash, but they did. All the versions of this font look bad and unusable; I wouldn’t even consider putting this on my least favorite t-shirt.
The font was released in 2009, and nobody knows who even made it in the first place. It was released by the Junkohanhero Foundry which, by itself, sounds like a fake name. The fact that the font continues to exist to this day is an atrocity.
The typeface isn’t uniform, with each letter written in a different size from one another. The letters face different directions, with some even appearing like they’re facing upwards.
I’m unsure of the inspiration behind this font other than to conclude that it was created by someone who had a lot of time on their hands and just wanted to get a reaction from people.
To add insult to injury, ugly as this font is, it’s not free. You have to pay for the license. I’d be surprised if it has had any buyers since its release.
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Gigi was released in 1997 and is very similar to Curlz. Jill Bell designed the font, and it features a mix of features with swirls and flourishes that give it something that resembles handwritten text.
What makes this font even more grotesque than Curlz is how long the swirls are. For letters like G, the swirl goes all the way down before making a very pronounced curve that makes the letters almost unrecognizable.
The tight curls are meant to create a feeling of joy in the user, but a mere 10 seconds of me being exposed to the font made me want to pull out my hair.
I’m not sure what the designer intended the font to be used for, but I’m assuming it would be quite popular with teenagers who are yet to develop the ability to discern trash from treasure.
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Bleeding Cowboys made my eyes bleed, a sight that will forever be etched in my memory forever. Whenever you think of cowboys, what comes to mind is bravery and the beautiful expanse of the wild, wild West where man and danger hold hands together every day.
But for this font, it elicits nothing short of shock when you look at it for the first time.
At the base of this font is simple lettering, which would have been amazing if they were allowed to remain in that state, but for some inexplicable reason, the designer decided to add unnecessary tails and strokes.
Most letters like “y” and “g” come with an extra long tail that keeps switching from one end to another. For a moment, I couldn’t tell if the tails were part of the font or if someone accidentally added them and forgot to erase them.
Bleeding Cowboys was created in 2013 and is the kind of font you’ll never find in any book title or text. The only places you’re likely to run into this font would be on t-shirts, and even that would take a lot of courage.
This grunge and western-style font should never see the light of day in any form and the creator, Guillaume Seguine, has even claimed he’s tired of the font.
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I played around with Jokerman when I was young because it appeared playful and fun, but the older I grew and started to appreciate the beauty of lettering, I quickly realized how mistaken I was.
This font was created in 1995 by Andrew K. Smith; remember him? The same culprit that created Chiller? I’m starting to think they should ban Andrew from touching any drawing material because appearing on the list of the ugliest fonts twice is quite an achievement.
Jokerman uses spirals, dots, and straight lines to create letters close to each other to the point that you wouldn’t know what you’re looking at if the font is really small.
Like Chiller, the font was created for things unrelated to literature, so you won’t find the font in any book. It would work as a good option for branding establishments like coffee shops, but that, too, takes a lot of courage.
I tried using different colors just to see how Jokerman would look on my computer, but nothing could salvage this font’s ugliness.
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Wrapping up our list of some of the ugliest fonts to ever exist is Hobo.
Even right from the name, you can just tell you’re about to deal with a font that will make you cry without reason. Everything about this font is annoying, from the way the typeface bends from top to bottom. I can’t imagine any situation where anyone would want to use this font; not even a children’s book would look good.
Hobo is, unsurprisingly, an ancient font created in 1910 by Morris Fuller Benton. It came from a time when many new artworks were looking for a “fun” font that blended well with the drawing styles from that era. But it should have died in that era.
Popular instances in modern times where the font was used include the movie The Dukes of Hazzard and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
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Trust me when I say that we’ve barely scratched the surface. There are countless more ugly fonts out there that I hope you never come across.
But again, just like art, a font’s beauty, or lack thereof, varies from person to person. If a font that appears here happens to be your favorite, then by all means, keep using it.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.