Lettering and Typography: The Art of Text in Comics

Text is a fundamental element of comics. It conveys dialogue, narration, and sound effects, and its presentation can greatly affect the readability and overall aesthetic of the comic. This guide will walk you through the essential aspects of adding text to your comics, including tips on choosing the right fonts, placing text, and creating speech bubbles.

Choosing the Right Fonts

  1. Legibility: This is the most important factor when choosing a font. It needs to be easy to read even at smaller sizes. Avoid overly ornate or script fonts for body text.
  2. Consistency: Use a consistent set of fonts throughout your comic. Generally, you should have a separate font for dialogue, narration, and sound effects.
  3. Mood: The font should match the mood of your comic. For example, a horror comic might use a jagged, creepy font for sound effects, while a humorous comic might use a more whimsical font.
  4. Licensing: Make sure you have the right to use the font in your comic. Some fonts require purchasing a license, while others are free for commercial use.

Placing Text

  1. Hierarchy: Establish a clear hierarchy of text. Dialogue and narration should be the most prominent, followed by secondary text like background signs or minor sound effects.
  2. Spacing: Make sure there is enough space around your text so it doesn’t feel cramped. Use margins and padding in your speech bubbles and boxes.
  3. Alignment: Text should generally be center-aligned in speech bubbles and left-aligned in narration boxes.
  4. Line Length: Aim for a line length of 30-40 characters for optimal readability. This might need to be adjusted based on the size and layout of your comic.

Creating Speech Bubbles

  1. Shape: The shape of the speech bubble can convey emotion. A smooth, oval bubble is standard for regular dialogue, while a jagged bubble might indicate shouting or a robotic voice.
  2. Tail: The tail of the speech bubble should point to the speaker’s mouth or head. Make sure it is clear who is speaking, especially in panels with multiple characters.
  3. Placement: Speech bubbles should generally be placed at the top of the panel to follow the natural reading order. However, this might need to be adjusted based on the composition of the panel.
  4. Size: The size of the speech bubble should be large enough to comfortably fit the text, but not so large that it overwhelms the artwork.


Lettering and typography are often overlooked aspects of comic creation, but they play a crucial role in conveying the story and setting the tone of the comic. Remember to choose legible fonts, establish a clear text hierarchy, and create speech bubbles that complement your artwork. With practice and attention to detail, you can master the art of text in comics.

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