Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Covers & Fonts to Avoid

Putting together my cover (with the help of the talented Photoshop genius Samantha Collins), I'm thinking about what fonts to use.

The first think I should do is to figure out what fonts to avoid at all costs.

Some of the (apparently) big no-nos?

  • Papyrus
  • Comic Sans
  • Brush Script
  • Lucida Handwriting
  • Bradley Hand
What goes on the outside helps sell what's on the inside.
(Books by Leon Brooks)
I did a web search for the most-hated fonts, and found these:'s The Most Hated Fonts

Definitive last word on fonts? Probably not. Industry standard is to write your novel in Times New Roman or Courier, of course, so don't deviate in your manuscript pages from that. But for your title, steer clear of average and hated.

Meanwhile, I'll be choosing something just a little more awesome for my own title. Remember that it should easily readable, even from a distance, and to keep it large enough on your cover to be seen from far away. 

I want to avoid making the basic mistakes. I don't know how many self-pubbed books I've seen using lovely fonts for the title, and I have no idea what the book is named, because the elaborate script has so many extra lines and curls that the letters are completely obscured. 

Just as bad are scripts so spindly they fade right into the background, effectively becoming invisible. Why, what a fantastic horror font--wait! Danger, Will Robinson, danger! Use something thick enough you can see it! And I'm averse to eye-popper colors: no red on a black background for me, thanks. 

I also want something indicating the correct genre. Sure, those dots and swirls are cute, but for a contemporary fantasy, high-adventure and high-action, where the hero has lost her entire family except her twin and the only way to bring the rest back puts him at risk, light and cheerful is just not appropriate. And while I love a good cyberpunk font, computers aren't a central theme, nor is programming used anywhere in the plot--thus, another font style to be skipped. 

Now to dive in and find a font I like.

What's your most-hated font? Favorite?


  1. Sans serif fonts grab attention, but don't keep it (good for titles). Vice-versa for serif fonts (good for body text). If you choose a decorative font, don't do something too out-there or inappropriate. To be read from a distance, a bolder font is better than a skinny font, but not so thick it becomes illegible.

    Loved- Shruti. I don't know that it would be appropriate for book titles, but it's great as a font in scientific Power Points- good height-width ration, good thickness, good kerning, and it's sans serif.

    Hated- Comic Sans. Not because of the font itself, really; because it's so overused and inappropriately to boot.

  2. Hmmm, good topic to touch on. I've never actually given any though to fonts on a book cover but now that you've mentioned it, I do get annoyed when I see some Brush Script font. Some of the curlier fonts like Lucida can actually work out if you maybe only use it for one word and then leave the others as readable/view-able as possible.


    1. I hate it when I can't read titles. Totally agree that words need to be readable!