Shantell Martin Creates the New Comic Sans: Shantell Sans

Artist Shantell Martin has been catching peoples’ eyes for more than a decade with her large-scale black-and-white drawings. They simply can’t be ignored! Often times they include messages and questions – such as “Who are You” – in Martin’s signature all-caps handwriting. Now, with the open source release of Shantell Sans, everyone has access to this bold, playful, easy-to-read font!

black sample animated sans serif type that reads FONTS ARE COOL

The marker-style font was built for all types of creative expression by Martin, Arrow Type, and Anya Danilova. They made sure to include Latin and Cyrillic characters to support languages throughout the Americas, Europe, Central Asia, and Vietnam. Shantell Sans can be adjusted by weight, spacing, informality, bounce, and italics. It’s also worth mentioning that its all-caps design is especially easy to read.

white example sans serif type on black background

black sample animated sans serif type that reads TYPOGRAPHY IS KINETIC

Martin’s relationship with fonts and type go way back because she lives life as a proud dyslexic. “I always wanted to reclaim that space due to my dyslexia, and defeat my past challenges. The creation of my own font was an innate process and an extension of my artwork, and something I always wanted to do,” she said. “I think fonts can really change the mood of a person in the way that they can be dense and limiting, or, on another hand, open and playful. I think we do pick up on these subtle messages on a subconscious level. I wanted to share my work in a new, exciting medium accessible to anyone.”

black sample animated sans serif type that reads SPACING

black sample animated sans serif type

Fun, welcoming, energetic, approachable, and creative are just a few of the words Brooklyn-based Arrow Type’s Stephen Nixon used to describe Shantell Sans. “The variable axes of bounce, informality, and spacing take the basic font and add in more of the natural variance and personality from Shantell’s writing, and I especially hope to see people find uses for those in animated text in video titles and stuff,” he shared. “Shantell Sans is a little bit like an elevated, less stiff Comic Sans. It’s also a little bit soft and inky like Cooper Black or Windsor.”

Download Shantell Sans for free here.

white example sans serif type on black background

white example sans serif type on black background

To learn more about the making of Shantell Sans, visit

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.

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