Typesetting is a form of artwork due to the fact that it accompanies the artwork. You have to be expressive with your font choices to help emphasize the mood. Just as how you would type in ALL CAPS when you’re angry, choosing the right font does the same thing!

The three important things to keep in mind when typesetting are: (1) choose a font that has a similar style to the raws, (2) make sure the placement is legible from the first read, and (3) have fun!

There are many free font databases online, but we super recommend GG’s Font Database where we list all of our commonly used fonts. We took the time to separate it by style which should help you find the kind of font you need. Other popular sites include: Dafont, FontSpace, FontSquirrel, Google Fonts, 1001FreeFonts, and more. You can also type keywords “name of font and the word font” in Google to try to find a free font file.

The Type Tool is the most important tool for a typesetter. It can be accessed via top menu windows > tools or shortcut T. There are two ways to use the Type Tool: 1) Point Text is when you left click once while using the Type Tool, and 2) Text Box is when you left click and drag while using the Type Tool.

Point Text is used to adjust the spacing on each line.

Text Box is used to help you easily shape text.

Using a Text Box will help you learn to shape text faster. Once you get used to how to shape text, you can start using Point Text to help follow the shaping of the bubble.

Example of point text.
Example of text boxes.

There are many ways to adjust your text settings which can be accessed in your Character Window – which can be found at the top menu bar in Photoshop Windows>Character. It may look like a lot, but it’s very easy to understand once you play around with it.

Text placement is where you position your text on the page. The placement is not random. You have to look at the raw layer to know where to place your text. Bubbles will be the easiest to find for obvious reasons, but when it comes to thoughts/narration, ST, and SFX you have to always check the raws to see where they go.

So when you start typesetting you typically open the cleaned image alongside with the translation document. But, how do you check what the raws look like so you know where to properly place text like SFXs?

In your Layer Window, you should see a grouping (looks like a folder tab) with a eyeball icon on the left. You click it to hide the entire cleaning group. This will show you the raw layer at the bottom.

So now that we know where to place the text, we can typeset our translation in. Create a new group which can be found at the bottom of the layer window in the shape of a folder icon.

Tip: Most newbies first instinct is to typeset SFXs vertically due to Japanese text being read vertically. This should be avoided unless you need to cover a wide area and there isn’t a lot of horizontal space. You have to remember that we’re scanlating into English. Our audience are western readers, and therefore their eyes are used to reading horizontally. Likewise, you should avoid placing text in a way where the reader needs to spend more than one second figuring out how to read something. Text shouldn’t be rotated in such a way that the reader needs to turn their neck.

Another key component on how to typeset is your Text Spacing. You have to pay attention to the Golden Ratio – the ratio of text-to-white-space.

Generally speaking, for all typesetting you want to aim for a bubble shape and then adjust the size of the font to achieve the Golden Ratio. So for example, if your bubble looks like the image on the right, your text shape and size should be the yellow circle. Thought/narration boxes follow the same rule though you can get away with following the box’s shape as well.

When it comes to typesetting Mood Fonts and SFXs, most new typesetters’ instincts are to copy paste the translation in and use warp tool. Instead of doing that I want to introduce Dynamic Placement where you individually typeset each letter and move them around so they look more flexible.

So for example, take a look at the image on the right. The raw text is vertically placed and there isn’t a lot of room to type to do it horizontally so the best way to place the text is to follow the raw like this:

Typeset using individual letters so you can manipulate each one. It saves you from having to rasterize text to transform them which makes them permanently altered.

Common mistakes I’ve seen new typesetters make tend to look like these, when it should look like the last image.

Knowing which font to pick is one of the most important skill for a typesetter to have. It mainly comes down to how the font makes you feel and how you can best use it for the situation. Fonts can be broken down into 3 categories: dialogue fonts, mood fonts, and SFXs.

Dialogue Fonts include dialogue, thoughts and narrations, and ST.

Mood Fonts are fonts that help emphasize a dialogue’s tone.

SFX Fonts are typically comic-styled fonts that you would never use in dialogue and mood fonts.

The only thing that differentiates a Dialogue Font from a Mood Font is that Mood Fonts are a set of different fonts used to help emphasize the dialogue’s tone. So for example, Tim Sale is our Dialogue Font. It’s our primary dialogue font for when any character speaks. But when a character is shouting or is happy or feeling any kind of emotion that needs to be conveyed, we would then use a different font because it calls for a Mood Font.

If you check out our GG Font Database you’ll see that we categorize our fonts based on their appearance so all you have to do is identify the appearance of the raw text and then try to find a font that matches.

A layer style is simply one or more layer effects and blending options applied to a layer. Layer effects are things like drop shadows, stroke, color overlay, outerglow, etc. We made an in-depth guide here.

GG uses Tim Sale as our primary font for dialogue, Laffayette Comic Pro for thought/narration, and DJB Almost Perfect for ST.

Mood Fonts are dialogue fonts used in manga to emphasize a character’s emotion such as; excited, drunk, happy, nervous, scared, etc. They can be dialogue, thought, and ST. As long as it’s something a character is saying or thinking.

For starters you need to know when you need to swap fonts. Usually in bubbles you can tell when you need to swap to a Mood Font based on the shape of the bubble – like if it’s jagged/spiky-looking then they’re usually shouting. Whereas a bubbly/cloudy-looking bubble usually indicates that the speaker is cheerful/happy.

So for example, take a look at the example image down below. The character is shouting because he’s hyping up the little girl. His point comes across better with the font change to help emphasize the tone change. If someone is yelling, it helps make their point to YELL IT OUT IN CAPS AND BOLD TO EMPHASIZE THE POINT as compared to leaving it in the standard font.

Font used: Mind Boggle, Numpty, Tim Sale.


The style of the font can add different levels of intensity. You can break down the appearance of a font by the thickness (bold), and the width of the font (if it’s tall and thin or wide and flat).

If it’s light and they’re just a little nervous then you try to choose a font that’s thin and “shaky-looking” like the first image on the left.

If the speaker is nervous and trying to reassure someone, then you want a slightly bolder and shaky-looking font like the second image in the middle.

If the speaker is nervous and defensive, then you want a bold, caps, and shaky-looking font like the third image on the right.

Font used: Gloria Hallelujah
Font used: Cartoons 123
Font used: Friendly Felt Tips

SFX Fonts are just as expressive as mood fonts. Handwriting SFXs have become more popular now due to webtoon typesetters, but fear not – you don’t need to have access to a drawing tablet to be expressive. (Although if you wanted to you can also use your phone.) This guide is aimed at traditional typesetting using only fonts.

Look at the raw and try to notice how the shape of the original SFX. Is it long and thin? Is it long and thick? Is it curly and thin? Is it bold and wide? And then try to find a font with a similar appearance.

Down below are examples of what the raw text looks like vs. how we typeset it. Notice how the placement and shape are similar to the raw?

Font used: Twelve Ton Goldfish
Font used: Artificial Flavour
Font used: Pea Huddles
Font used: Dinomiko
Font used: Maxi Marker
Font used: Dirty Harold

Tip: From my experience, the most common mistake I’ve seen newbies do is typesetting SFXs is using dialogue fonts. Avoid using Serif fonts at all cost. Serif fonts refer to a font that has either a line or mark that appears in a character stroke.

You’ll find that the majority of all SFX fonts are going to be Sans Serif which means they’re not going to have the stroke or mark on the character like Serif fonts tend to have.

Thank you to the following staff for working on this guide: