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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fonts, fonts, and more fonts

By Michelle Lee
BWL Art Director

Hi, it's me again - the resident cover art geek.  I'm back with my latest in cover art related posts (after a fairly long hiatus due to graduate school).  I bet you can't guess what this post is about.  Come on ... give it a try ...

I'll give you a hint.  It's not images and it's not color schemes.  So what's left?  FONTS of course!

I touched on this a little bit in a past post, but it is well worth revisiting (at least in my mind).

Now I know what you are thinking, why would this be something worth talking about - twice now?  Well ... because the font typefaces used can be just as iconic as the images.

Let's look at a few examples shall we?

With the sharply pointed edges of this typeface, the artist brings to mind fangs.  Which is appropriate - anyone who doesn't know what Blade is about, it involves vampires.

 Another font that springs to mind right off is the one used for the Highlander TV series with Adrian Paul. Since she show is about sword-welding immortals, the font fits - because it has an almost blade edge like to it.

Ready for one that everyone should know?

Look at the elongated S's.  They almost see to be moving further away from the nearby letters. 

Another blast from the past - TRON.  Although the font was updated slightly for the new movie, it still have the same basic shape and feel.  The N especially is iconic.

Want a more modern example?  Then look no further than the Hogwarts school of magic.  It has a very wand like feel to it, and of course there is the lightening bolt end to the letter P.

 Now every author's dream is probably to be a household name.  Obviously the biggest part is creating a product you can be proud of.  However there are other things that go into the magic formula of success.  Part of that is branding, part of it is the wrapping, and of course a good deal of it is plain old fashion luck.  Since you can't control luck, an author needs to focus on what they can control - the product, branding themselves, and the wrapping of their product (namely the cover and blurb).

While the images are going to be what catches a reader first, they will notice the font.  And if it doesn't fit the overall feel of the product, then it can turn them off of the book.

Imagine a romance with a very stark, bleeding font.  Unless you are looking at a post-apocalyptic or paranormal genre, it probably wouldn't fit.

How about a fancy, script font on a horror.  Or a blocky, unattractive, bland font on a very visually stunning and provocative image.

The font selected for a cover can really say a lot about the contents.  So I strongly suggest authors take a little bit of time and scan through some of the options.  Including a few suggestions with the cover art form can help a cover artist to create the wrapping that will help to see your book.  At the very least, it will let you be able to explain to the artist what style you are looking for.

If you are not sure on what kind of font you are wanting, ie don't know the terminology, check out this quick resource - Basic Typography Terminology

If you are looking for something a bit more in depth - check out this article.

Some of the websites I personally use are:

DaFont     *     1001 Free Fonts     *     Urban Fonts

What I like about DaFont over some of the others out there is the option to see what specialized words - like a book's title - would look like, and the way they have the categories organized.  It makes it super easy to find something to fit.

To stress how important a choice picking the right font can be I leave you with one last iconic font.

Can you guess what uses this particular font?






If you guessed
 then give yourself a hand.

Now being realistic, your font typeface choice isn't likely to make you a household name.  BUT it is something important to consider when looking at a cover's creation.

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