Your book cover fonts are an important choice, because your book cover can be your audience's first introduction to your content. In this article, we'll look at how to choose a font for a book cover with some example book title fonts. The best fonts for book covers might depend on things like genre, audience, and more. So let's dig right in with a discussion on book cover design fonts.
How to Choose a Font for a Book Cover
Note that your book cover is a bit different from the body text. Your interior isn't necessarily designed for the same purpose. When thinking about what font books are written in, you'll want to think about things like readability, legibility, and consistency—whereas covers are often far more visual. We're specifically going to address what font is used for books in terms of their cover.
If you're new to design, it might be tempting to choose a font simply because you enjoy it—there are a lot of cool book cover fonts out there to choose from. However, it's always important to consider your target audience and the communicative qualities of your font choices. This is a much stronger perspective than chasing after the most popular book fonts.
For example, what do you think of when you hear the phrase "fantasy book cover fonts"? How about something like this?
This font has an ornate, old feel, like something we'd expect to see on an ancient document. This is often the kind of feeling we want to try to evoke when we're designing for the fantasy genre. Your book's genre is important: what kind of emotions revolve around your content?
For example, a sense of adventure in a fantastical world would likely evoke feelings of awe and curiosity. We might want something that looks magical, for example. This could be a stark difference from something like a futuristic space drama or a comedic memoir—the content is very different.
In contrast, let's take a look at another example. How does this one work as a font choice for a fantasy novel?
This would be a very different fantasy novel, wouldn't it? That's not to say this couldn't work for a fantasy book, but we might assume it's a soft, heart-warming adventure for children or families—rather than something darker or gritty.
The key here is how the letters themselves look—your book cover's text is more than just what it says. Different fonts, with different aesthetics, visually communicate in different ways.
Different Styles of Fonts Evoke Different Emotions
Let's explore this concept with one book cover—using several different fonts. We'll use the same text, so the text itself (what it says) is no longer the focal point. Keep in mind that, in a normal scenario, you'll likely want to use imagery more to your advantage (although purely typographic book covers can also be very successful).
For now, focus on the text, how it looks, and how this look visually communicates. Notice how the different visual qualities of the font can imply different things about the book. Check out these typographic book covers and your first impressions of what you think about the contents.
This example feels rather like we're working with an antique book cover font, doesn't it? The ornate look here feels aged. What might you associate with a look like this? We might be looking at an old story, a legend, maybe even a historical account of an event from the past.
You probably would not expect the contents here to be modern or about current events, because the font visually communicates age.
This example is quite different, isn't it? Notice, too, how a little color helps push this aesthetic further. This cover uses a stylish script font, and it could be some kind of modern or contemporary story or memoir. This approach might even suit the romance genre or something for a young adult audience, as it's stylish. The organic quality of handwriting could also give it a rather personal feel, like this is specifically someone's personal story.
Let's play with color in a different way. This font here also uses a handwritten aesthetic, just like our last one—but the aesthetic here is very different. Instead of energetic and trendy, we're left with something unsettling and kind of creepy. Notice how we can use color and contrast to create a visual narrative, even when we're only working with type.
In this case, emphasis has been added to the words "he" and "ex", hidden within the title. We could figure out, just from looking at this, that this is a story about someone's ex... and it's not a pleasant one. Does anything about this look cheerful, welcoming, or friendly to you? Most people would likely lean toward thinking this is a tense, uneasy story of a broken relationship and what happened in the aftermath. Interesting how we could deduce all of this just from the typography, right?
Figuring Out the Best Fonts for Book Covers
Now that we've explored the ideas of how fonts can visually communicate, how do you choose the best fonts for book covers? Is it all about genre? The best fonts for books are going to consider two key factors:
- The contents of the book. What is your book about? Think about your book cover and its book cover fonts as a visual pitch to your audience. If you're not sure where to start, try making a list of simple keywords that describe your book. Then, you can try to visually communicate them.
- Your target audience. Just because something communicates one way to you does not mean it will communicate the same way to someone else. Design can be very subjective—even some of the interpretations we just discussed earlier could be perceived differently by someone else. So, for example, a young audience might not have the same associations as an older one.
The key here is describing your book visually—but doing it in a way that will reach and resonate with your audience. How can you appeal to them visually? What do you want to say to them to grab their attention and get them to open your book?
Let's explore these questions, and possible answers to them, by looking at different example genres.
Fantasy Book Cover Fonts
A great way to get started is to think about other work in your genre—books, movies, and any other related media. Take a look at the typography typically associated with your genre, as well as your competition. This can be an excellent starting point. We're not looking to copy, but we are looking to understand where our market is, what the expectations are, and how we might be able to take our own targeted angle.
Fantasy is often associated with the ornate and whimsical, particularly for its magical vibe. Think about what fantasy means to you as a genre. This is typically a time and a place far removed from our normal, day-to-day reality. So it's not hard to see why a "normal everyday font" might not fit the bill here. We want something that evokes curiosity.
A vintage feel can also be successful because we could potentially associate age with things like legends, myths, and forgotten secrets. Across cultures and traditions, humans beings have long enjoyed sharing old stories and legends. We even remix and remake them today! It's also really fun to think about magical, mystical worlds where reality is a little different.
Thinking about perspectives like this can help you make a design decision in line with these ideas.
Children's Book Cover Fonts
We've all been exposed to a children's book, whether we were the child or we've read one to a child in our life. But what makes the best font for children's book cover designs?
Think about what children's books tend to be all about: fun, enjoyable stories worth sharing with little ones and their imagination. We typically want book cover design fonts that play into this concept in a visually welcoming way.
You may notice that the fonts used in books like these tend to have a softer, organic feel, like handwritten type. We likely wouldn't expect to see stern or business-like fonts in a children's book. Instead, most designers tend to opt for something that's either whimsical or relatable.
Keep in mind, however, that these are just suggestions, not laws. The best font for children's book cover designs is going to depend on the subject at hand. Think about what you're aiming to communicate!
When designing for children's book covers, it's also a great idea to try to match the visuals on the front. This is a genre that is often really illustrative, graphic, or visual. We tend to see pictures of some kind—so, for example, if the illustrations have a really distinct aesthetic, make type choices that complement it.
Romance Book Cover Fonts
So what font is used for books in the romance genre? This is an awesome genre with a lot of variation—everything from paranormal romance to romantic suspense, dashing billionaires to the friend next door. This variation means it's more important than ever to be in tune with your content's message.
If the story is a sweet, small-town love story, it might be most appropriate to pick a font with an organic, rustic feel. Likewise, that wouldn't work well for a big city romance—instead, we'd want something sleek and maybe even minimalist. You have a lot of options when it comes to fonts used in books in this genre.
In general, however, classy script fonts tend to regularly have a romantic vibe. Check it out. The long, sweeping strokes really make for an elegant, romantic aesthetic.
We can also turn to serif fonts with strong contrast to help build a romantic look and feel. Check out this font and how it's paired with a script font. In particular, serif fonts tend to have a classy vibe to them. Sans serifs can work, but can sometimes have a rather geometric or mechanical look—and think about that for a moment.
When you think of love and relationships, does "mechanical" sound desirable? Probably not. That's not to say a sans serif can't work, but exploring how your type choices might be perceived can help you make strong decisions.
Signature-style fonts can also be a strong choice in the romance genre. Take a look at this example. We could easily associate this with the main character, the antagonist, or the main love interest. It can be a fun way to make your character(s) seem even more real. Again, handwriting can be quite humanizing in a genre that is very much about human relationships.
Keep in mind, again, that this is a genre that has many subgenres. So, for example, you may prefer type that has more of a fantasy look than a contemporary romance look, if romantic fantasy is your specialty! Likewise, historic romance would likely warrant more vintage and "old" looking fonts.
Nonfiction Book Cover Fonts
Nonfiction covers a lot of territory, so there are a lot of possibilities here. We'll touch on a few popular ones, but keep in mind that these concepts apply across genres.
If you're designing a cookbook cover, again, think of your content and what's often associated with it. This example, below, draws from some chalkboard influence, like what we might see on a cafe sign. It has organic texture that we might associate with keywords like homemade or artisan.
If you're writing a how-to guide, think about the subject itself. Is it technical? The example below could be a good fit for something like programming or game design. It's common to associate technology with geometric shapes. In this case, sans serif fonts could be a great fit. You could push this even further with stylish display fonts that really push that aesthetic.
You can also opt to keep things simple and clean—sometimes, that's the best way to go. Keep in mind, however, that type like this can have a certain neutrality to it. Take note of the example below. What genre would you associate this with? While you might have some general ideas on that, this really could be a wild card. This can be useful if you want to keep the emphasis on the imagery or photography on the cover.
Writing something historic? Remember to take note of the trends of the time period—this is more communicative content we can be sensitive to. For example, take a look at this really fun, retro font that draws inspiration from the 1980s. This makes it very clear that this content is about this time period. If this was depicted using modern design trends, the idea wouldn't be as clearly communicated.
How about travel writing? We can do really fun things with that genre too. In this example, the type is inspired by vintage travel posters. It's a fun, textured approach that could be customized for many different locations.
You don't have to limit your inspirations to other books. Take some time to do visual research—look at relevant media and see what relates to your content. This can prove to be a perfect springboard for your design choices.
Memoir Book Cover Fonts
Memoirs are an even trickier genre to design for, because they're so personal. Will you go with something classy? Over the top? Something quiet? Remember, if you're not sure, a great place to start is with simple keywords. If you get too complex, it becomes harder to narrow down how to visually convey the idea.
Note how the top example has a classy feel, while the bottom example is super eccentric and loud. We wouldn't expect this bottom example to be a memoir from someone like a politician—it would be a really strange choice for that kind of public figure associated with stability and trust. Note the keywords there: stability and trust.
What descriptive words would you associate with these typefaces?
This bottom example is a great example of descriptive words like energy and movement. What kind of book would you associate with this typeface? Again, that's the key here.
Note that we can subvert expectations and do things that are outside of the norm too. These aren't design "laws", but rather perspectives for your consideration. Sometimes, doing the opposite of what's expected can be really impactful—but challenging to pull off successfully.
Typographic Book Cover Fonts
You can keep your book cover designs entirely typographic, if you'd like to. They can prove to be really fun and engaging design solutions. In this example, the type is hand-drawn, and notice how it lends itself to a very hand-made, DIY kind of feel. This would be a great fit for a journal cover, a planner, a craft book, or an inspirational book.
Typographic book covers don't necessarily have to rely on hand-drawn type, however. You can also use fonts. When doing so, remember to rely on hierarchy and scale to help create your composition. This essentially means: experiment with size and relationships. Notice how not every word is the same size and they are deliberately positioned, in the bottom example.
Experiment with how the letters relate to one another. If the typography is the star of the show, it typically needs to really shine in a visual way.
Want to Learn How to Make a Book Cover Template?
If all this talk of fonts and book covers has you excited, why not walk through creating a book cover template with me? Here's a taste of the walkthrough of this free tutorial. We walk through the technical stuff, the fun stuff, and more!
Interested? Well, join me over here and let's get designing! These concepts transfer to other genres too, so let's start working on a new book cover design template today.
Want to Learn More about Choosing Fonts and Typography?
There's plenty more to learn and explore. We've got so many awesome typography tutorials, here on Envato Tuts+—free ones that you can check out right now! Whether you're looking to DIY your own book cover or inform yourself on typographic basics so you can better work with a designer, there's something for everyone.
Check out these tutorials today.
- TypographyThe Ultimate Guide to Basic TypographyLaura Keung
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- Typography100 Best Typography & Font Tutorials for Every DesignerDaisy Ein
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- FontsHow to Choose the Right Font for Your BrandLaura Keung
Which Fonts Are a Fit for Your Book Cover Design?
So, now that we've explored how to choose a font for a book cover, what will you try?
These concepts transfer to other genres and platforms too. For example, if you're looking for a comic book cover font, similar concepts will apply—think about your genre and what you hope to communicate. Should your comic book cover font be fun and exciting or serious and dramatic? These concepts would also apply to magazines and other multipage documents.
Don't focus too hard on the most popular book fonts. Instead, be strategic and think about what concept would be most successful for your project and its specific message. The best fonts for books will be the ones that are perfectly in line with that objective.
Looking for even more font inspiration? Check out these font collections from Envato Tuts+ for even more ideas.
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