How to avoid over-used fonts for your Book Cover:
In my first post in this series I gave some advice about choosing the best fonts for your book cover, but I wanted to take a minute to help you avoid making a terrible font choice. There are a lot of fonts in use that make designers cringe. They’re overused, and often not that great to start with. I have chosen fonts for projects that later made me embarrassed at my lack of design knowledge. But, how can you know if you’ve made a choice that will make font savy people ridicule you?
Well, to start with, I asked my designer friends for a list. They are better at this sort of thing than I am (remember, I’m an illustrator first, designer second) and they said to avoid the following fonts (and then they reminded me that they are actually typefaces).
Do not use these fonts: Helvetica, Papyrus, Comic Sans (but that’s obvious, you say. Sadly, it is still done), Brandon Grotesque, Lobster, Source Sans, Brush Script, Impact.
Feel free to send me any more overused fonts, and I’ll add them to this list.
If you don’t have graphic designers for friends, a trick I have learned, is to google the font you are thinking of using with “overused” (so search for: “papyrus overused”) and see if anything comes up. There are millions of fonts out there, trying to avoid the handful that makes designers cringe is a good step towards making your cover look less amateur.
I would also pretty much avoid using any font that came with your computer for the title on your book cover. If you really want to use Times New Roman or Courier search for serif fonts. If you have the urge to use Arial, Calibri or Helvetica, look at sans serif fonts.
I was going to make a clever image using all those fonts, but I seem to have deleted them and some are paid fonts…and it wasn’t worth buying a bad font just to be clever.
Finally remember, stick to fonts that are easy to read.
A font may be very pretty and not be overused, but still be highly unsuitable for a cover. I see this a lot with fantasy and romance. People get the urge to use a decorative script, which is not a terrible idea, but there are only a handful out there that are legible, especially at a thumbnail size. Keep it simple! If you really want to dress it up, you can find something that has pretty uppercase letters, but still is very readable at lowercase. Sometimes you can pick uppercase letters from a decorative font and mix them with another, simpler lowercase (but make sure they match well!).
I’m working on a post about combining different fonts, and one about how to space the type (kerning, alignment, etc) to look really pro. Do you guys have any other font related questions you’d like addresses?