Speech Bubbles and Computer Screens

Recently, I was working on a few cartoons with a bloggy theme to them, and it got me to thinking – is there a recognised speech-bubble for computer screens? For example, the following bubbles are well known:


Now, I’ve seen (and indeed used) the square ‘Type’ bubble, originally designed to represent typewriters, using a Courier or Times styled font for computer screen type, but was never completely satisfied with it. Courier, in particular, is a particularly dated typeface for computers, and I wasn’t clear whether the square box indicated computer. I’ve had a play round, and come up with a few possibilities:


Now, I’m still not sure which one I prefer, there’s strengths and weaknesses to all of the above. I do think that the use of Arial in the bottom left bubble works, but is a tad cold, and am quite fond of the font Minya Nouvelle used bottom central for it’s looser ‘wobbly’ take on a formal font. I also like the use of the title-bar to give a computer window effect. There is, of course, the possibility of using a combination of ideas expressed above to create the ‘ideal’ computer speech balloon.

Anyway, I’ll open this one to the floor… thoughts and comments please!

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4 comments on “Speech Bubbles and Computer Screens”

  1. bounder Reply

    I guess it really depends on what’s happening.

    most email system don’t look think that anymore do they? with title bars etc.

    I like the more relaxed font, but you could just suggest what’s going on with the content.

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    If the character is typing it then the ‘type’ one in the top box still works for me.

    If they’re reading the screen, is it more like what you’d do to magnify a book passage or newspaper they’re reading?

  2. Alex Hughes Reply

    This is true – and whatever I choose will probably look dated in a few years anyway.

    I just used e-mail as an example – it could just as easily be a blog, or a website, or whatever.

    I suppose what I’m after is a universal bubble that says ‘computer’ so as to distinguish it from normal speech or book text etc., especially if the screen is turned away from the reader.

  3. theaardvark Reply

    How about a stylised representation of a screen? i.e. A sharp cornered box with a slightly rounded corner box inside it.

  4. Alex Hughes Reply

    Not a bad idea, theaardvark, but that probably makes me think more ‘TV’ than ‘computer’.

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