Best Fonts for Book Covers

Pentecost, by Joanna Penn uses League Gothic font

Pentecost, by Joanna Penn uses League Gothic font

I’m working with an author on a book cover for a nonfiction book with strong commercial potential.

Since the cover is among the top 3 reasons why readers buy a book, we’re working closely with our designer to choose the exact right fonts for the cover.

In doing research, I came across an excellent article by Joel Friedlander, the Book Designer, on the 5 best fonts for book covers. His picks:
5 best cover fonts
I tend to prefer chunkier fonts because they read better when reduced to the postage-stamp size image displayed on Amazon pages. But that Trajan, which is used for many movie posters, is an excellent choice when you’re going for a more elegant look.

You can’t go wrong with any of these choices. But if you want more, check out the huge collection of commercially available fonts on MyFonts or the free fonts available on Font Squirrel.


Choosing Typefaces

One of the most common questions that indie authors ask: which fonts should I use in my book?

The typefaces you use matter. They set the tone for your book. They affect readability. And they hint at your level of professionalism.

But if you haven’t paid much attention to typefaces, you probably don’t have a particularly sophisticated eye. If you haven’t played with glyphs, serifs, kerning, leading, ligatures, m-boxes, x-heights, you are at a disadvantage when it comes to choosing fonts for your book.

Wikibooks has a nice intro to choosing book fonts, which includes a number of excellent “rules,” including:

  • Avoid using too many fonts; three is probably enough for most books
  • Use unusual fonts only in short bursts—on covers, title pages, chapter headings
  • Spend some time in a bookstore looking at the typefaces of well-designed books. (Typefaces are often noted on the jacket or in the back matter of a book.)

But following rules too closely (Wikibooks recommends using 11 pt Palatino for text and 14 pt Helvetica for section headers) can result in a book with a cookie-cutter look.

The FontFeed offers an excellent article on Ten Typefaces Used by Book Design Winners—with examples of each font in both body copy and cover size. It’s well worth a look – and could help sharpen your eye as you consider typefaces for your book.