Step 3 in Picking Your Book’s Perfect Front Cover


Yesterday, we talked about the first two steps in picking your book’s perfect front cover. They were researching your genre and analyzing your manuscript.

Today, we’re tackling step 3: choosing your proper font combination. As this week’s Writing Rule states, this is very important.

Your front cover’s font matters.

If you’re going to design your own book’s front cover, don’t overlook the importance of font.

Font type. Font layout. Font size. Font emphasis. Font placement.

There are entire lessons taught on this subject for a reason.

In fact, there are entire classes taught on this subject. So there’s absolutely no way I can cover more than the tippy top of the front-cover-font iceberg in this blog post. There’s so much more than the following; but the following is still worth taking note of.

So listen up! Front Cover Fonts 101 is now in session.

1. Don’t use the same font across the entire cover.

No matter what your genre, you’re going to have at least two different sets of words: your title and your author’s name. There might also be a subtitle or tagline involved, along with a few other possibilities.

Typically, you don’t want to use the same font type, font size, font emphasis (i.e., italics, bolding, underlines) or font accentuations (e.g., shadows, texturing, outlines) for both. If you do, it could lead to a potentially boring front cover.

And, just in case you were wondering, boring is bad when it comes to book jackets.

2. If you have to put text over a picture, make sure it’s readable.

That might sound like a really silly thing to point out, right along with “boring is bad.” But this is something novice graphic designers do sacrifice sometimes.

Maybe they really, really like a certain image that interferes with the text. Or perhaps they really, really like a certain font or font color that interferes with the image.

Either way, it’s best to set that “really, really like” aside and find something else that really, really works. At the very least, your title needs to pop off the front cover, actively warring for attention with your picture, graphic or color scheme.

3. Follow the rule of thirds.

This is a very well-known guideline in the graphic design world that every author should know if they’re left alone to design their book’s perfect front cover. Digital Photography School describes it this way:

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have nine parts…

The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.

Studies have shown that, when viewing images… people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the center of the shot. Using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an image rather than working against it.

With a book cover, that could look something like the one on the right:

While the font for the author’s name, Jeannette DiLouie, could definitely be more prominent for this working front cover, it does follow the rule of thirds font-wise, with the main focus being on the largely centered title, Maiden America; a secondary font type and size being placed in the lower third of the image; and the tagline set in the upper third.

Follow the rule of thirds and its fellow font guidelines above, and your front cover could be catchy. Maybe even catchy enough to make you a best-seller.

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