FONTS FOR BOOKS AND BOOK COVERS
I’ve been using the Adobe Creative Cloud for years now, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and many other great tools for publishing books or graphic design.
One of my favorite tools is Adobe’s Typekit. It is included with my Creative Cloud subscription, but you can get Typekit even with a small subscription (you don’t need the whole Creative Cloud to get it).
What’s cool is that Adobe comes right up front and tells you that their fonts permit commercial use, and it clearly states that this includes books (with no limit on the number of sales). If you’re a graphic designer making book covers, for example, the author who purchases your finished product doesn’t need a separate license (provided that the author doesn’t need to edit your design).
With Typekit, you don’t actually install the fonts on your computer. (Note that if you did install the fonts on your computer, the same licensing would no longer apply.)
Rather, you just install the Adobe app, and the Typekit fonts automatically work with Adobe products and Microsoft Word (for other software, there may be limitations; you should look into that if using other programs). Just make sure that you’re logged into the Adobe app before you open Microsoft Word (if that’s what you’re using); otherwise, Word will automatically substitute another font without even telling you. You don’t need to remain online while you work, once you’ve successfully logged into the Adobe app.
There are several great fonts at Typekit.
For the body text of most books, including novels as well as nonfiction, you want a font that reads well. Adobe has some Garamond fonts, including Garamond Premier, and Garamond is one of the popular fonts for novels. You can get an entire family of Garamond fonts, so if you normally feel that Garamond is a bit light, you can find a darker version.
Another good font for body text is Minion, which I was excited to discover was included with Typekit.
If you’re designing an educational book for K-12, you might consider SchoolBook. There are a few other fonts similar to SchoolBook, too.
But there are numerous fonts that would work for body text paragraphs. I have a few tips for searching for fonts for body text:
- Serif fonts are commonly recommended for body text.
- Think of letters and punctuation marks that are important to you. I’ve encountered fonts where I didn’t like the lowercase r, the lowercase a, the lowercase f, the uppercase R, the colon, or the curly apostrophe (don’t type a straight apostrophe from your keyboard, that’s different; first get one in Word and then copy/paste), for example. If you may be typing digits, remember to check the numbers, too. Type these in the sample text.
- Once you narrow it down to a few fonts, add them all. Open a file with plenty of sample text and test each font out. It just takes one letter or punctuation to spoil a font, and you want to catch that before you format an entire book that way.
(For fonts inside of the book, my recommendations are for paperback books. For ebooks, I recommend not trying to embed fonts. But for ebook covers, see below.)
For headings, you might go with a sans serif font. Myriad is a good simple sans serif font, but there are plenty of others to choose from.
For book covers, you might want a very bold font for keywords, such as Azo Sans or Jubilat, to really help the two or three most important words to stand out, especially for a nonfiction book where it’s really important for the cover to spell out the most important words.
For novels, you want to find a font for the book cover that spells out a particular genre, like Lust or one of the script-like fonts for romance. But remember that it’s more important that the font can be read easily on the small thumbnail. If you get carried away, you can wind up sacrificing the readability. Try to avoid having more than three different fonts included on the front cover.
Another option is to search through websites dedicated to free fonts.
Good luck and happy font searching.
Write Happy, Be Happy
Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides