January 8, 2007

Idea: Word balloons as quotation marks

I noticed the other day that word balloons have the same basic shape as quotation marks. It’s interesting because both are used to convey that a person is speaking. That got me thinking of an instance where word balloons could be used as quotation marks, as a design element.

Word balloons as quotation marksIt would probably be weird to have them as part of a font set, but maybe it would look neat used for a pull quote in an article about comic books. It seems like every three years or so there’s another article about how graphic novels are finally getting respect as literature, so maybe the next time one of those pieces runs they can try out my idea.

For the example above, I thought it looked weird with open word balloons, so I made them solid black. And double-quotes looked odd to me, too. I decided a solid single-quote word balloon worked best. For actual use, a typographer or graphic designer could probably play around and find other variations that work even better.


Oh, those articles come more often than that. And they’re always inexplicably titled “Bam! Pow! Comics Aren’t For Kids Anymore!”

Maybe those word balloon quotes would look good on that phrase…

Clever Idea.

I’d like to see a comic strip that uses large quotation marks as speech bubbles.

To best simulate the use of a quotation mark, it would have to be set at the same size throughout the strip. The challenge of the comic would be to fit a fixed amount of copy into the static size of the quotation mark. Speech bubbles are flexible in that they can expand their size easily.

I see word balloons more as pasties for literate ecdysiasts, but that’s just me.