Simply put, Zapf Chancery is the font that never should have been born.
No offense to Hermann Zapf, the font’s designer. (To his credit, he also designed Palatino and Optima.) Zapf Chancery looks a lot like the calligraphy I was teaching myself when I was 12. Only uglier. But Zapf Chancery’s real crime isn’t its existence, it’s HOW and HOW OFTEN it’s used.
Unfortunately, Zapf Chancery comes standard as a system font on every computer I’ve ever seen. So that means it falls into the hands of, well, everyone. And lets face it, not everyone is qualified to use fonts beyond Arial and Times.
Because it’s standard on every computer, it’s not just individuals who have the potential to create something awful with Zapf Chancery, it’s sign shops, copy shops, art school students, and on-line quicky design services. And they are creating! From beauty shop signs and address stampers, to invitations and (blech!) business cards, Zapf Chancery seems to be everywhere!