Dear startups, Lobster is the new Comic Sans

Dear Startups,

Lobster is the new Comic Sans

We know how it happened. Google Web Fonts shows up on the scene and suddenly here they are – nice looking fonts that people haven’t seen a million times before that you can actually use in webpages. Designers are suddenly free to include fonts in their designs without driving developers crazy.

So you browse through the selection, and there’s Lobster, staring at you in all it’s brushed-yet-readable ligature-laced retro-chic glory. It’s stylistic but sensible, and of course it has to be the font for your new startup’s logo. And your H2s. And in your ads. Bonus points if you realized that it looks great with Bootstrap. (Why hello there CodeCademy!)

And the problem isn’t that there’s anything wrong with the font. It’s perfectly nice. Handsome even.

The problem is that we all got there at the same time, and the proliferation of Lobster across startup logos and websites is like the spread of mono through a theatre department at a highschool. We will look back at our designs and sites years from now and go “So you started in 2011?” “How did you know?” “You’ve got ‘Lobster-Logo'”

We don’t mean any offense! Heck, here at QLabs we’re completely guilty of it ourselves 🙂

So, my dear, wonderful startups. I love your pragmatism and your unwillingness to spend days on decisions over silly things like fonts, but please, reconsider your use of “Lazy Lobster”. It was wonderful while it lasted, but now that overuse has made it the new Comic Sans, it says things about your company you probably don’t want it to say.

Love, your friends at 5in5NYC


Here at 5in5NYC, we truly do love startups. Especially New York City startups. In fact, we feature 5 of them each week in our new weekly show. Follow us at @5in5NYC to get updates when we post new episodes, or check out the homepage to watch the episodes so far!

Eric Skiff is a Hacker at the NY innovation lab Qlabs, which most recently released Huntsy: tools for job hunters. He also co-founded NYCResistor and makes free 8bit music.

  • Ignacio Giri

    I would have to defend the Lobster because my friend did it and there is a pretty extensive story about the font that involves several font designers in the world. But I would agree that people is using it too much in places that they shouldn’t. The difference to me is that Comic Sans only works for Comics. And Lobsters will work for more fields maybe, but definitely NOT for your logo startup.

    • Ignacio Giri

      And to support my comment, here is the font which Lobster was inspired, ‘Home Run’. You can see just by the name what was the main idea use for this font. Designed by Donald Young, one of the best typography designers in history. RIP.

  • Puffertle

    Some people would say that WordPress’s default Twenty Twelve theme is the Comic Sans of templates, but obviously some people still use it.

    • ericskiff

      Lol, indeed – I’m casting aspersions on Lobster, but I’m totally guilty of using the lazy/easy thing when it’s appropriate.

      We’re also guilty of using Lobster on as well!

      Sometimes the easy thing is the right tool for the job, I just wanted to raise awareness of the fact that Lobster is being used by an awful lot of startups, and it might have some implications that they don’t intend.

    • Anon

       ^^ THIS

  • Tammy

    It is a shit font anyway

  • Mark Ransom

    Font fads come and go. You may remember Mistral or Papyrus.

  • Anonymous

    In view of the design choices in your own 5in5 logo, If I were you, I would hesitate before dispensing typographical advice to anyone. Seriously.

    • Anon

       Had exactly the same thought myself. Maybe only people use shit fonts in their logos can tell others what constitutes a shit font?

      And what is up with this blogs design? Instead of attacking fonts why not use some of that energy to find a designer?

    • Hater

      the 5in5 logo reminds me of an old lame-o public domain BBS logo from my area back in the mid 90’s… except that one had better composition. i don’t like lobster or comic sans either.

    • Jaap Nieuwland

       Haha amen, this blog has a ghastly logo

    • Anon

      I actually think the 5 in 5 masthead isn’t bad at all. Don’t listen to the naysayers. But probably writing from a less negative viewpoint (i.e., what to do rather than what not to do) won’t get you so many naysayers in the first place?

    • Reu

      gradients 🙁

  • Joanna Wiebe

    I don’t care. I love Lobster. It’s so fun. Please just let the rest of us enjoy it for a while… I’ll happily surrender it in about a year or so. 

  • Jamie_Hyneman

    I make my own fonts.  Out of steel.

  • Adda at Skillcrush

    Ha! Love this! Back in October I wrote a piece about Museo being the new Comic Sans….

    Isn’t it funny how the advent of web fonts gave us 100’s of options and yet there is still pile on…

  • Anonymous

    What means “And your H2s”?

  • ted littledale

    Comic sans was never popular though, it’s a symbol of non-design rather than passe design.

    And, seriously you’re using an image for your company name with no alt tag. People who live in glass houses …

  • the admin

    Bayanumba logo uses Lobster too 🙂