You know that font all memes use? Here’s why it exists

Memes have a lot of mystery to them — even to those of us who proudly consider themselves full-fledged denizens of the Internet (me. Hi). But many share a major similarity: the same font. Why the white block letters? What’s with the thick black outline? Please explain. Actually, Vox did explain why all memes use the same font.

The font is called Impact. A designer named Geoff Lee originally developed Impact in the mid-’60s. It was widely regarded as legible over images, so it made itself an obvious pick for advertising. The font went on to enjoy popularity on used car sales television ads, among other classy avenues. Impact wedged its way into the Microsoft Office standard font offerings in 1996, secretly imprinting itself on our collective brain as familiar and powerful.

When 2003 hit along with some of the world’s pioneering memes, Impact resurfaced — even though it never went anywhere in the first place, really. It appeared slicked on top of the I Can Has Cheezburger? cat faces. The font was solid white at the time which was still readable but it could be more readable. So, after a little toggling, the black outline surfaced and BOOM. The meme font of choice as we know it was truly actualized.

Pretty wild, right? Check out the whole investigation and fascinating story over at Vox for more info.

(Image via QuickMeme)