How to choose the right font for your eBook cover: A Case Study: Part 2
This is a two part article about choosing the right font face for your ebook or paperback cover. The first half of the article covers identifying the errors in amateurishly designed book covers, and this portion covers good type technique on the same image. This is to show you what a difference one font face has compared to another.
Case Study: Ceaseless by R. A. Owen
Genre: Y/A Paranormal/Female readers/ 13-24
Story: A young girl struggles to find happiness when, at the age of 10, she stops aging. She is treated as a scientific experiment and is forced, over the generations, to watch her friends and family pass away. She’s forced to face torturous and painful experiences while the doctors and military work on her. Unable to mentally deal with the confinements and constant torture she retreats inside, seeking an answer from within, only to find herself spending more and more time in this empty, silent space.
Just to refresh your memory here are the first two versions that have been done with poor typography choices:
BRAINSTORMING THE DESIGN:
In Part 2 we’re going to use the same image but apply a professional use of font faces which reflect the genre and the story. Let’s go through the checklist:
- What type of font face am I seeing most often in my genre? So the first thing I need to do is check out the genre I’m writing in. The link I turned to straight away is Listopia on Goodreads. By categorizing these books and ranking them, it helps immensely. The genre in this instance is YA Paranormal. This list is a good start: YA Goodreads List of Books
The covers I’m particularly interested in are:
These have elements about them, a sense about them, which feels like the same style I’m going for.
- Is there a combination of typefaces happening? Is more than one typeface being used on a cover?There is a combination of sans-serif and decorative font faces. The decorative font face could be serif or script type fonts.
- Where is the text being placed, and is there special treatment required such as drop shadows/gradients/adjustments?Within the empty space with lots of room to breathe. The type is quite flat, with no bevel or heavy drop shadows.
- MOST IMPORTANT: What type of font faces do I really want to use because I think they look cool? And now, out of these font faces, are any of them actually applicable to this book cover? (Remember, just because you think a font face looks great on one cover doesn’t mean it’s going to work on yours).
I’d love to use something like Bodoni because I think it would be stunning, but Bodoni is inappropriate for this design as it is used for a lot of chic lit and women’s fiction. This is a classic font face, very classy and, in my opinion, has a lot of ego around it. This is a luxury font face.
DESIGNING THE NEW VERSION:
Now that’s covered, I’m going to trial two different fonts to find out which is better. I’m going to use a combination of:
- Placement within a lot of vacant space (this was something the original covers already benefited from)
- Lower case letters to allow the beauty and power of the image to shine, and give the title a whispering effect.
- Little to no filter effects
- Two different font faces, one for the author and byline and one for the title.
- You can see by using the ‘less is more’ idea, we allow the image to breathe and not have all the attention drawn away from it by the title.
- The typography supports the design, rather that overwhelms it.
- It is flat, without any special decorative treatment. This means it is readable at large and thumbnail view, and does add any kitchy, old style filters to it like bevels or textures.
- We’ve used the colours which are present in the image. Using the red as the title colour matches the power of the headband, and using darker greys allows the name and byline to take a backseat.
- Use of grids is prominent in the first version, so that the alignment of the name and byline is in tune with the title (on the left and right sides).
I hope this case study has given you some help on what to look for when choosing the best font face for your book cover. It’s not an easy decision to make, and if you don’t know the right one to make, I offer type-only book cover design packages. That means if you’ve got the image, I’ve got the type. You might find this much more affordable if you can’t afford a designer for the whole effort.
What experience have you had when trying to filter through the font faces? When do you know it’s the right one that goes with your book cover?