Best April Fools' Day Pranks In The History of Design

March 31, 2013

Nearly everyone appreciates a great April Fools' Day prank – so long as the joke’s not on them.  Some of the best April Fools' Day pranks in history have depended on the work of graphic designers, or are otherwise related to graphic design.  Here are five of the best.

1.  Google Comic Sans

If you searched for “Helvetica” or “Comic Sans” on Google on April 1, 2011, your search results would have displayed in Comic Sans font – the bane of graphic designers the world over. Google Plays With Helvetica, Comic Sans For April Fools' 2011 Gag (PICTURES) - G_2013-03-29_10-23-35


2.  San Serriffe

In 1977, the British newspaper “The Guardian” printed a special report about the island nation of San Serriffe, a fictional country in the Indian Ocean that features cities, geography and politicians named after typographic terms.  The capitol of the semi-colon-shaped island? Bodoni. San Serriffe, 1977 - Google Chrome_2013-03-29_10-53-51  

3.  Taco Liberty Bell Newspaper Ad

In 1996, Taco Bell published a full-page ad in six major U.S. papers proclaiming that it had purchased the Liberty Bell, which would be renamed the “Taco Liberty Bell.”  The response was so overwhelming that by noon on April 1, Taco Bell admitted it was a hoax and pledged $50,000 to help maintain the Liberty Bell. The Taco Liberty Bell, 1996 - Google Chrome_2013-03-29_10-57-59  

4.  The Great Comic Strip Switcheroonie

Comic strip writers are illustrators with excellent senses of humor, so it’s fitting that a number of them worked together to work each others’ characters into the strips published in newspapers on April 1, 1997. The Great Comic Strip Switcheroonie -- April Fool's Day 1997 - Google Chrome_2013-03-29_11-02-35  

5.  Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses

On April Fools' Day in 1933, the Madison “Capital Times” ran a story detailing the fictional collapse of the state capitol building.  Photographer Cedric Parker was the brainchild behind the hoax, and put his photo editing skills to work to make a convincing image of the destruction – long before the time of Photoshop. Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses -- April Fool's Day 1933 - Google Chrome_2013-03-29_11-03-04   Do you know of any design-related April Fools' Day pranks?  Let us know in the comments!

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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