Is the Lobster over-cooked?

Posted by Ellie


Designed by Argentinian, Pablo Impallari and made available for free commercial use­, it’s been downloaded by millions – 191,263,512 font views in the last week according to Google statistics* – and on an average week you can pretty much guarantee you’ll see it featured on a piece of print advertising or via web browsing at least couple of times.

Lobster owes its success not to only being beautifully designed, but it has also gained interest by being downloadable as an Open Type font. It has multiple versions of each letter, with helpful ligatures on the end of our fingertips that aid the flow and general appearance. As if it couldn’t get any better, it’s both Mac and PC friendly AND web supported. With all these pro’s on offer, what could possibly go wrong?

When I first came across Lobster, I liked it. It’s visually appealing and I’m definitely a fan of the casual, yet flowing form and vintage appearance. The font popularity of the initially came to my attention when I visited the New Designers Exhibition in 2013. It was then that I realized just how ‘popular’ and overused it actually was. In fact, that’s almost an understatement. It was everywhere. And it’s not just art students that are guilty of this crime.

I’m not alone in my observation; in doing a simple Google search on the subject of Lobster’s overuse I’ve uncovered an enormous amount of similar entries. The font seems to have a divided audience, and has even led to a font mutiny between designers, some even referring to it as the ‘new Comic Sans’ – the known arch nemesis of all in the industry.

Perhaps the only con (or pro depending on which angle you’re taking) is its unique appearance, a quick glance and you know what you’re looking at. In contrast, Helvetica, which also features regularly in the design industry, has a very subtle, inoffensive form and is loved by many and although noted for its overuse, seems to get away with it in a way which, in my opinion, Lobster never will.

I should add that there are some lovely examples of good design that feature the font and that I have no personal vendetta against the type, or any designers that use it. My only bugbear is the overuse and, like anything, once it’s been noted it’s impossible to stop seeing it everywhere you look.

For an extensive look into some examples where Lobster has been used, click here.

*week commencing 13th January 2014