IWSG / Font-tastic Dilemma

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

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Click here to see this post with the various fonts.

Click to see this post with the various fonts.

I’ve been playing with various fonts, trying to decide which one to use for my book cover title. But it seems like there are a zillion fonts out there. How on earth does one choose?

My novel is romantic fantasy adventure. The romance element inspires thoughts of flowery and curvy script like Vivaldi from my computer’s font files or like this free file I found online called A Yummy Apology. Fantasy should be more exotic like Endor or Half-elven or Immortal, while the adventure element needs something strong and bold — Bodoni MT Black, Stencil, and Impact are all possibilities.

Swordplay is essential to the plot as well, which draws me toward a serif font that is clean and sharp like a blade. I really like Castellar and Imprint MT Shadow because of the added depth of the lettering. There is so much more to the main character than even she knows and in my mind, the shadowed depth of the letters symbolizes this.

So many choices. And once I figure out the title font, I need to decide if I’m going to use the same font for both title and author or choose another for the author.

Lori L. MacLaughlin (Cardinal), Lori L. MacLaughlin (Slender Gold), Lori L. MacLaughlin (Celtic) …

Which will it be? Sigh …

23 thoughts on “IWSG / Font-tastic Dilemma

  1. The image with the fonts is a bit blurry. Sorry. I was trying to figure out a way to show the post with the different fonts since WordPress doesn’t have all the fonts available. Does anyone know how to link to a pdf file on your home computer?


  2. I’ve actually found this article pretty helpful: http://www.creativindie.com/300-fool-proof-fonts-to-use-for-your-book-cover-design-an-epic-list-of-best-fonts-per-genre/

    One of the things you might want to pay attention to is the font license. Not all fonts are free for commercial use. Many of the fonts you can download on free font sites are pirated. Nobody will probably sue you for using a font you don’t have a license for, but it might be something to consider if you’re doing it yourself and want to cover all your bases. I typically go surfing on http://www.fontsquirrel.com/ when picking out fonts.

    I’d say differentiate between author name and title. I was going to link to http://www.thebookdesigner.com and their monthly ebook cover contest, but it looks like the website is down right now. Joel usually has good comments on the covers, saying what works and what doesn’t.

    I went through my own trial with fonts, but thankfully I have a very picky and opinionated (in a good way) sister-in-law who happens to fall in my target audience.

    Try making a 110 x 160 px thumbnail and typing out the title in your various fonts at a size that will fit on it. That will help determine if your title is readable enough.

    Sorry, I know all that wasn’t helpful toward the actual decision.

    Best of luck!



  3. Good luck, Lori! As others have said, I think readability is the most important thing. I’ve watched a short series of Youtube videos on book design from Random House that you may find interesting – you can find the first one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaoIlcLplCU

    What struck me is the principle that the goal of design is to attract the reader without them even noticing it. As soon as someone is actually paying attention to the font rather than the words, you’ve failed in your role as designer. I thought it was a good way of looking at it. 🙂


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