Author - Nina Cordoba
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6/11/2011 9:29:47 PM

If You've Got It, Font It!


I was going to post my other long article about covers yesterday. I had several visuals and I thought it was pretty good. Then, when I was publishing, I somehow lost half of it. I now have to go in and recreate the rest, but first, I have to stop being so annoyed that I lost it!

Meanwhile over the last couple of weeks an issue has come up with some of my writer friends that I think may need discussing before the cover article anyway, since it's an integral part of the cover.

When an author is designing a book cover, font choice is the most likely aspect to be overlooked.

Honestly, I'm so naturally non-visual, I think I wouldn't have a clue about fonts if the type, size and placement of fonts hadn't been drummed into me throughout high school and college in my journalism and advertising classes.

There's a reason the programs on your computer contain a plethora of fonts. Every font has it's own characteristics and the choice you make gives potential readers an idea of the tone of your story.

So here is a title for my imaginery book:  Blood, Sweat and Tears.

It's an old cliche and when you read it in the font above, it doesn't tell you much. It could be a book about almost anything. However, look what happens when font choice, font color, and background color get involved.

Example 1:

With a medium or light blue background on the cover and script, this is definitely a book for women. Maybe it's a romance or women's fiction. It looks somewhat emotional, traditional. I would expect to sink down into this story gradually and be touched, maybe cry a little.


Example 2:

Hmm...I'd still guess this was a story for women because of the color combination. But the colors and font indicate a more modern voice, and maybe some humor. But I'd expect my heroine to be going through some major drama because of the way the word "tears" is singled out in a larger font and different color. This would probably have a drawing/cartoon image on the cover to tell me a little more. This youthful look could signify a chick lit or YA voice.


Example 3:

Wow, this one's a different story completely. It's done in classic horror colors with the word "Blood" emphasized both with color and size. Maybe it's a vampire book. However, notice the font that's used. It feels a bit fun and campy. Maybe this is a tongue-in-cheek horror book. Something along the lines of the movies "Love at First Bite" or "Sean of the Dead." Again, if you were making the book cover you could choose an image that would clarify it a little more.

Notice that the second two examples are so visually interesting, you could probably get away with no image or very simple images with the titles.

Here's an actual example that my friend Tea Trelawny gave me permission to use. She'd contacted me with concerns about her cover. This was her first version:

This erotic romance just wasn't evoking the right feeling when I looked at it. Why?

Hot picture? Check. Hot double entendre title? (The guy is a photographer) Check. Sexy author name? Check. All the elements seemed to be there except...

I realized the simple block-like font was cancelling out the sexiness of everything else. So Tea sent a new version:

It was a little better, but I still wasn't getting that feeling. I typed her title and name into a blank word document and copied them a bunch of times on the page, then I tried some fonts on them. First I thought script would be the answer for the title, but all the script fonts made the word "Exposure" look strange, not sexy. Finally, I came upon several fonts and thought I might have the answer to the riddle. I emailed her back that I thought the key to doing justice for this cover was in using a title font with sexy "x's." This is what she sent next:

Finally, I felt it! The hot photo goes with the sexy title (in a sexy font) and the great author name (also in a better font). The cover now looks like one unit, all working together for the same purpose. But Tea had another trick up her sleeve. She also sent this option.

I told her she'd gotten to the point where it was now a pure judgement call or preference. You could rightly choose the yellow so it stands out more from the page or the pink because, with this color scheme, it gives more of a boudoir feel. I also thought she should try the author name across the top and see if she liked it, but, again, once the font was right, it all became a matter of preference, not necessity.

To see what she chose as her final cover look, click here.

Next blog, which I'll put up as soon as I finish recreating it: Watch out! Don't Blow Your Cover!

posted by Nina 5 Comments