Typography can make or break a book cover design. The extensive variety of typography on covers is mind-boggling – from conservative serifs to charmingly handwritten typefaces. Book cover typography has never looked so good.
If you’ve got a cover to design but need some direction for the typography, let us give you some inspirational suggestions.
1. If you’re designing a cover for a Classic…
Follow the example of the iconic Penguin covers and choose the traditional sans serif typeface Gill Sans. More recent interpretations of the covers by Levente Szabo still use the same typeface, and look just as relevant today:
The revised covers, also published by Penguin, for classic titles such as Moby Dick use Wile, a lovely serif font with a clean, classic look:
These covers, designed by Jessica Hische, reinterpret a very traditional hardback format, and use vintage-style typography for an authentic, ornate look. To mimic this look, try Nexa Rust, a more modernised version of a slab style, or Asterx, for adding a gothic twist to your text:
2. If you’re designing for a Contemporary Fiction title…
For some titles, a simple sans serif can look really effective without being overwhelming. Try FF Nexus Sans for a clean look that will complement just about any cover design:
A romantic or nostalgic fiction cover needs a font with more emotion. If you don’t want to venture into handwritten territory, try adding in italic caps like this cover for Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, published by Grove Press UK with illustration by Emiliano Ponzi. Adobe Caslon Italic Swash will achieve the same effect:
3. If you’re designing a cover for a Non-Fiction title…
Non-fiction titles tend to be more serious and less fantastical than their fictional counterparts. Try a digital, soviet-inspired typeface like BF Anorak to achieve a similar look to this cover, designed by Jason Ramirez:
For a traditional yet beautiful serif font, try Classical Garamond or Adobe Garamond Pro. Contrasting large-scale text against a pale background can be really high-impact, as demonstrated in this cover design by Cristopher Brian King:
Try Trade Gothic for a serious sans serif style that complements travel and political commentary books best:
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