The Current

How a mutual hate for Comic Sans brought 2 people together

For 25 years, the Comic Sans font has been revered and loved by many, causing divides, but also bringing together one couple in their quest to ban the font. Graphic designers Holly and Dave Combs of Indianapolis have been married for almost 20 years, and while their love still goes strong, one partner has made a complete reversal on their view of the font. 

Now 25 years old, this divisive font has been loved and revered for decades

Holly and Dave Combs fell in love over their mutual hatred for Comic Sans, and they decided to start a movement to ban it. But now, one of them is reversing their views on the font. (Jena Steele/Jena Lynn Photography)

For 25 years, the Comic Sans font has been hated and revered by many. It has caused divides, but it has also brought together one couple in their quest to ban the font.

"I think it's irresponsible for Comic Sans to be out there in the world, all rogue, so that anybody can use it," said Holly Comb, co-founder of the Ban Comic Sans movement, in an interview with The Current.

Invented in 1995 by typographic engineer Vincent Connare, the squiggly, child-like font was originally only meant to accompany a digital talking dog who guided new users around the Microsoft interface.

It ended up in Microsoft's official set of fonts, sparking love and hate for decades.

Graphic designers Holly and Dave Combs of Indianapolis have been married for almost 20 years, and while their love still goes strong, one partner has made a complete reversal on their view of the font. 

On Comic Sans's 25th anniversary, here is their story. 

The start of their relationship and a movement

When Holly and Dave first met at a synagogue, they were immediately attracted to one another. However, Holly was too busy to date because of art school, so Dave said he would help her out instead.

Holly landed a job to co-ordinate a gallery at an Indianapolis museum. When she learned that the entire exhibit, including the guide and the show event, had to use the Comic Sans font, she was infuriated.

"I just spent four years of my life obsessing over typography, and to choose Comic Sans just felt like a punch in my gut," she said.

For years, this was the logo for the Ban Comic Sans movement. (Use Comic Sans/Facebook)

Dave was the one who came up with the idea of trying to ban the font. 

In 2002, they put together a website, and produced some stickers and T-shirts. 

It was meant to be a joke amongst graphic designers, but they soon became overwhelmed with requests worldwide for stickers from others who hated the font. 

A complete reversal

One morning earlier this year, Holly was shocked to find that all of their Ban Comic Sans social media accounts had changed to "Use Comic Sans."

She thought they must have been hacked.

"I walked downstairs and Dave had the craziest look on his face … he goes, 'I just don't want anyone to be mean to anyone.'"

Dave felt the ban movement had attracted a lot of negativity, with people feeling justified in bullying those who used the font.

And the negativity of the ban had actually sparked a counter-movement feeling pity for the font.

To him, the joke had gotten out of hand.

"That's what we never intended," said Dave. "So, my change of heart had to do with how far people have taken the Ban Comic Sans campaign."

Although their campaign now supports the font, Holly still hasn't changed her mind. 

"Honestly, I don't think anyone should use Comic Sans, because it's not meant for print," she said. "I think he's too nice."

They both agree that a good compromise would be to retire the font, like when ball players retire their numbers. 

"I like that," laughed Holly. "Look, our marriage is being renewed right here."


Written by Chelsey Gould. Produced by Samira Mohyeddin.

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