Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Word Witch Wednesday - finicky fonts

I've spent as much time looking at fonts as I have looking for images for my book covers. Fonts say a lot about a story. This includes the type you use inside a book and on the outside of it. They must fit the mood, tone, and voice.

Maybe I put more pressure on myself than I should when it comes to fonts. I am my own worst boss when it comes to these things. But if you look at your favorite book covers and take note of the title, you will see how much of an impact it has on your opinion of the story and the overall effect of the cover.

Here are five things to remember when choosing fonts for your books:

1) Fonts are like images. You can't use all of them without permission. Some you even have to pay to use. If you're on a tight budget, make certain you are using free fonts from sites like 1001 Free Fonts and DaFont.

2) Study book covers in your genre. You will see the majority of them use similar fonts. If you're unsure what types they are, here is an article with several popular fonts for each genre.

3) Experiment with effects. Not just the simple bold and italics. When I use Photoshop, there's a whole bunch of different font effect I can pick. Each one makes the font look so different.

4) Make certain the font is readable. No one will want to read your book if they can't figure out what the title is or if they get a headache reading the fancy script you chose for the story text itself.

5) Use a different font for the title and your name. Contrasting fonts draw the eye. Check out this article for a more in-depth explanation of contrasting fonts.

How do you choose fonts for your books? What types of fonts draw you as a reader?


  1. I tend to get obsessive with fonts, too. It takes me ages sometimes to find one that will fit a project well! Font Squirrel has always been my favorite place to look for fonts. They're all commercial-free there, and just plain free!

  2. Hi Christine - I love fonts and their history ... but I'm glad I'm unlikely to have to chose a font - other than one that is normally used - I've just found some reading material re fonts here ... so I'll be looking at them a little more in the future .. but have fun selecting yours - cheers Hilary

  3. Yes, make the font readable. The fancy loops and swirls are really hard to read.

  4. You hit the biggies.

    One I'll add. Don't be afraid to break the rules. It all depends upon the tone of your book. You need to match it, more than anything else. So while Elephant may be hated by some...if it matches the tone...go for it.

  5. Mostly I let my publisher worry about the details, but there have been times when I made suggestions or specifically requested certain aspects. The font thing would drive me crazy if it wasn't something I loved, so I totally back putting in the time to get it just right.

  6. Great advice - especially today. I've been playing with fonts all morning. Been creative - or was I just avoiding the writing - hmmm - no, it's all relevant and important :)

  7. Great tips on finding that right font! I do enjoy looking at fonts on covers. The right font really can make a cover stand out.

  8. Heather, I like Font Squirrel too.

    Hilary, thank you. Enjoy your reading!

    Alex, absolutely!

    Mac, exactly! There's always a moment when breaking the rules is acceptable.

    Crystal, it's nice when I have my publisher's cover artist do the work, but there's also a great feeling when you make something yourself. :)

    Nicola, I have been using fonts to procrastinate too!

    Cherie, totally! :)

  9. I do like playing with fonts. Although, there is one font I think all writers need to retire. I don't know what it's called, but I saw it on a lot of books and got so over done. Kind of like some cover models.

  10. Such great tips! I really hate reading a book that I can't make out the title of from the fancy font used :)

  11. I love fonts! Tip #4 is a very important one that I wish more people would remember. :)

  12. I love to play around with fonts, but when it came time to select the font for my actual novel going out into the world, I let the book and cover design, I let the professionals take over. Though I did make the occasional suggestion, I mostly deferred to their expertise. I figure they know much more than me on these things. :)

    Excellent tips! Especially the one about choosing a legible font. Funny how many people don't think of that.

  13. Patricia, oh yes, those cover whores! ;)

    Meradeth, thank you. And I totally agree.

    Holly, me too!

    M.J., thanks! I'd love to be able to afford a cover artist, but clearly I don't think I'm insane enough.

  14. As a visual artist in addition to being an author, I am obsessed with type font styles, too.

  15. My first thought was Brick from "The Middle"...if you haven't seen the show, the kid is obsessed with fonts.

    My second thought was, of course Christine thinks of these things...she thinks of everything! Blood and Sorrows- excellent book. Perfect font.

  16. Thanks for the links. I'm bookmarking them immediately.


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