Lettering comics — The Trickiest Letter

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I have another tip for potential/amateur comickers out there. This one is about lettering the trickiest member of the alphabet–especially if you elect to use the classic all-uppercase style in your dialogue and narration.

lettering I

This is primarily a kerning issue. Crossbar I uses a lot of white space on either side of itself, pushing the surrounding letters away. When it’s followed immediately by a period or apostrophe then it’s much less obstructive to the reading flow.

“Why is it that some words in comics are in bold?”

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This is why.Lettering emphasisEvery now and then I’ll see someone complaining about comicbook emphasis in balloons and captions. Most of them seem under the impression that when words are emphasized it means they’re being shouted for some reason. Hey…when someone shouts in a comicbook, you’ll know it. Exclamation marks, jagged balloons, huge text–they’ll let you know, trust me.

Emphasis on certain words in balloons and captions is used for two reasons: to clarify the intent of the words (as above), and also as an aid for page-skimmers who may be too wrapped up in the artwork to give bubbles and captions a second glance. Balloons and captions have lots of art to compete with. Emphasizing key words aims to draw readers’ eyes enough to at least pick up the gist of the text.

I’m not saying every comic needs to use comicbook emphasis–not at all. It would be great if people could cut it out with the “they’re shouting words at random, this is dumb” stuff, though. This is one of the things that comicbooks just plain do better than other forms of silent media out there. It’s such a shame whenever I see it getting disrespected by certain fans and amateur creators(!) alike.

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