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Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

I've always liked the idea of using different fonts for different characters (as long as the fonts are readable and aren't too outrageous). I always felt that it adds a personality and a kind of 'voice' to the character to have them 'speak' in a slightly different font. Now I've also heard people say that they're not fond of that style. So, just wondering, is there any distinct opinions on this? Or do most people just not care either way?

My comic, by the way is http://24.4.19.108/Casting%20Shadows/ just so those who have no idea what I mean can see.,

Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

I've always liked the idea of using different fonts for different characters (as long as the fonts are readable and aren't too outrageous). I always felt that it adds a personality and a kind of 'voice' to the character to have them 'speak' in a slightly different font. Now I've also heard people say that they're not fond of that style. So, just wondering, is there any distinct opinions on this? Or do most people just not care either way?

My comic, by the way is http://24.4.19.108/Casting%20Shadows/ just so those who have no idea what I mean can see.,

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

I think it's a pretty neat idea, but one that should be used sparingly. I don't think that every single character needs to have their own font, because it becomes distracting, and pulls away from the art, and makes it more like 'pictures and some words' instead of 'sequential art'.

But sometimes, when used sparingly(I can't think of any webcomics offhand), it can be pretty effective. If you've read Bone, then you see my point. The Hooded One and The Lord of the Locusts both had effective methods of seperating them from the rest of the cast, and since their words were different, it set them appart as different characters with a heightened sense of importance.

I feel that if you really want to give each character a certain voice, let the script do the work for you. Plus, it can be a bit of a hassle to keep up with which fonts go with which character, especially if you have one that drops out of the story and comes back later.

The comic is pretty nice, but it took me a few minutes to figure out the layout and start viewing the comic. Just my opinion though, so don't read too much into it :)

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Erik Melander's picture

I agree with poinko, it is best used sparingly. When everyone has a different font I find it distracting.

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

I pretty much agree. Also, your comic looks neat but its way the navigation is extremely confusing.

-Michael Harker not logged in

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

andrael's picture

I have a bit of that in my comic, and I do kind of like the effect; of course, given that I letter by hand, I sometimes wonder if it may not be more headache than it's worth. -__-

Kagerou is a webcomic that uses different font colors (though not font faces) to distinguish different characters.

Sandman was a comic series that used character fonts EXTENSIVELY, with distinct lettering and speech bubble styles for about a billion different characters. It worked there; but of course, Todd Klein seems to be some kind of lettering genius, and Neil Gaiman is, well, Neil Gaiman. If one is neither of these, then it's probably best to use font effects sparingly. ^^

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RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Thanks for the tips, I was really trying not to make it too distracting but to make the few characters that should stand out (my one psychotic girl Jera for instance) stand out enough. I don't think I'll use different fonts for -everyone- just the few characters that are... unique in their speaking tone. Another question that leads from this. What is a good default font for webcomics that doesn't look too childish nor too 'standard windows font'. What kind of font is good for say narration or non-speech comments?

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

COMIC SANS!! :D :D :D

Seriously tho, check out BlamBot for some really good professional-looking fonts(I like using Mighty Zeo myself), or if you want a larger pool of stuff to choose from, try 100 Free Fonts. Don't let the name fool you, though. It's more like 900.

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

I've actually done that where different characters had different fonts. it quickly becomes a pain in the ass. It's nice cause then if you have someone talking off camera you know who it is, but its a severe pain to chase fonts when you go to different people speaking. and if you have a comic where 5 or 6 people are speaking that's ALOT of fonts to try to grab

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

At first I thought it would be cool to have the "Agent Jones" character speak in pentagonal balloons, cause, you know, he's a Pentagon guy. But it quickly became not only more trouble than it was worth, but unnecessarily distancing, as he developed other traits that made him a lot more than "that guy from the government." Using these fonts and effects tend to set your characters off as "alien," which can be trouble if you want to humanize them.

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

I had trouble with word balloons too, but I tend to keep those the same really. The font itself I'm still debating with. I'm already on page 16, so I don't quite want to change them back or suddenly stop using fonts all together. But I think I'll just keep them with the 'main' characters or the ones who speak the most.. uniquely, and just use the same font for all further chars. I was also wary of using comic sans font because the comic itself is kind of 'dark' and somehow it didn't seem right to have a typical font. But I really din't think font was something that important or worth so much debate over when I started.

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

a Kind of cool thing to do to keep patterns of speech sepperate is black and white word balloons. If I have a bad guy or a guy who's more aligned with evil I have them speak with a black balloon instead of a white baloon

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Katie Sekelsky's picture

the only specific other example of different character fonts would be Real Life's use of a more "uniform" font for the sentient computers/consoles, in which case it works well.

Other than that however, I personally don't think I'd do it. Though with yours specifically, it still looks good.

Also, yes. Blambot is awesome.

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

I was actually thinking doing the black baloons. I used that for the the introduction and the profiles to make the text stand out more. It won't work well with my word balloons because I make them slightly transparent, a tip I got from someone that turned out really well, I think. Thanks for all the comments ^^It's nice to see people's opinions about it.

Re: RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

scarfman's picture

[quote:acd4096094="poinko"]But sometimes, when used sparingly(I can't think of any webcomics offhand), it can be pretty effective. If you've read Bone, then you see my point.

How can you fail to think of Walt Kelly in this context (nonwebcomic or no)?

To date the only variation in font I use in word balloons for Arthur, King of Time and Space is to distinguish between organic and synthetic people. I also have a font set aside for God but He hasn't appeared yet (one kind of prefers to wait for a gag with a sense of occasion, you know?).

RE: Re: RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Because my memory bank fails to function properly 90% of the time, which is a terrible thing to have happen when posting on a forum. :) A good comic that displays different fonts being used for different charactersis Fairview High in its' current story. Give it a look-see.

RE: Re: RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Wow, I didn't expect this thread to get so many replied. Thanks everyone ^^ yeah looking at those comics really does help.

RE: Re: RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Just another little chip in of personal experience:
Occasionally we have two characters that represent us (my partnet and I) in the comic world. They're really just disembodied voices, so my partner suggested we use a different font for them to distinguish them from the people that 'belong' in the world.

So Whenever the DM (me) speaks, its in Arial and as plain as plain can be. and when the Artist (my partner) speaks, she gets this wiggy vampire font I found.

I use special fonts for a few of my characters, but as others have said, it's best -- more effective, because it creates more contrast -- to use it sparingly and only for characters whose way of talking is especially distinctive. For my character Dr. Boom I use a font called KidPrint because his way of talking is babyish; for the spy, Razor, I use Times New Roman because he talks about himself and what he's doing as if he were a character in a novel.

Also, as someone else said, it gets to be a chore to have to change fonts for specific characters. I'd go insane if all my characters had separate fonts! And so would my readers!

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I use a font made from my own hand writing for my comic. For the character of Kwirki I use a font that is all lowecase to represent the soft monotone she speaks in. For Jihad Jesus it's randomly switched upper and lowercase text to represent how batshit crazy he is.

Oh Jihad Jesus, you so crazy!

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

Brad Hawkins's picture

I flirted with personalized fonts back when my strip started out (most notably for the Patron Saint of Junkies), but it quickly proved too much of a hassle to deal with. Now all my characters use the same font (although that font changes from time to time as the whim takes me)... although if I ever do introduce a Goth character, he/she will undoubtedly speak in black balloons, Sandman-style. :)

RE: Character fonts--- whats the general opinion?

The best webcomic example I can think of offhand is the dragon Llewellyn in Ozy and Millie. The gothic lettering reminds me of Deacon's speech in Pogo, though the characters have very little in common apart from their archaic clothing.

Tyler Martin's picture

I was considering using different fonts in a graphic novel I'm working on. Basically for the different races, an elf has a light whimsical font, an ogre has a bold creepier font, someone with a german accent has a sharper more gothic font, etc...

But the graphic designer side of me says, no, you cannot lay out a page with that many fonts unless you want it to look like a big cheap newspaper coupon. So it sounded like a cool way to express accents but as far as creating a pleasing looking page I don't think it works.

Unless it was just slight variations of the same font or your own handwriting.

-Tyler