The Right Font for the Right Job

Last night I was working on the cover to the next Book of Beasts. Placing the logos is a lot more time consuming than you’d think. “Does it look good here or should I move it over 2 pixels?” is a common question. Yes, being that nitpicky really is that important.

So I came to the title. I put it in place and made sure it filled the space. Done. I sat back and thought about it and I didn’t feel the font was perfect. So I changed it. About a dozen different font tests later, I still wasn’t satisfied. I narrowed them down to the above 4 choices (click on the image to see a larger version of it). To me, each says something different. The top choice says “Disney movie” to me. Its a beautiful font, but I don’t want someone looking at the Book of Beasts and thinking Beauty and the Beast.

The font below that one to me says “Gothic Horror.” It makes me think of Dracula and all the classic horror stories we geeks grew up on. That’s good, but I’m not sure if that is what I am looking for with this one. I will admit, since I used it in Book of Beasts: Wandering Monsters 1 as the logo, this font might be chosen. Branding is important.

The next to the bottom font is cool and all but … for some reason I think of Pan’s Labyrinth. While that is a good thing in my opinion, I’d prefer it more for something like if I was doing what Paizo calls the First World or White Wolf calls Arcadia or Jim Butcher calls the Nevernever. Basically, Faerie. That is definitely not what I am doing with this. But I still like the font.

The bottom font is more of what I consider to be a basic font. It presents the title in big attention grabbing letters. As a small publisher, grabbing attention is important. However, the font itself does little to promote the fact that this is a fantasy book. I could see this font being used in science fiction or modern or super heroes. Definitely super heroes.

So what do you think. Is there one you like more than the others. Is there a font you like that I didn’t use. Check out for more awesome fonts.

3 thoughts on “The Right Font for the Right Job

  1. Of the four, I prefer the second – but it reminds me of something else, maybe a GURPS book used it already. I’m looking at the various offerings on and am going to list the ones that caught my eye in a quick scan and what I like about them. For some reason, my first thought on this is Gothic. In fact, I think Option 2 above is Dark 11, under Gothic/Modern?

    under Gothic/Medieval:

    Faith Collapsing – gives it the look of a really old book. So old, the ink/paint has started coming off the cover.
    Puppeteer – very similar to Faith Collapsing.

    Deutsche Zierschrift – c’mon, woodcut German? That just smacks of a book best left unread if you want to stay sane. (DampfPlatz is similar, but lacks the more visceral edginess.)

    Gregorian – very clean and scholarly. Makes the book look like a standard, well-established reference work.

    Medici Text – another scholarly look. Very much an Enlightenment style, as if someone sat down and culled together all that was known about the topic and set it to paper for serious use.

    Decadentia – almost looks to be written in animated ink. It is a neat look, but might not be quite right for this project. But so far, it is one of my favorites.

    Minster – just looks evil. Clean and easy to read, but has a very foreboding aura.

    Being totally unschooled in the publishing/graphic-arts ways, I would think font choice also depends on cover art? Some of these fonts suggest very definite styles of compatible illustration to me.

    Anyway, there’s some opinions from me. Thanks for the link – I’ve downloaded a few that struck my fancy – and I’m sure I’ll be back for more.

  2. Well, Dale, it’s like this.

    First off, the reason I am such a PITA about commenting on your covers is, I do have a bit graphic arts in my blood. First serious GF/Fiance is now a successful Commercial Artist and fellow font geek. Plus, I dabble in design myself, though not professionally.

    Now that I got my CV out of the way,


    In other words, I go with either four or two, whose name I know not or is forgotten.

    You are right the first is too plump and friendly and the third is just a bit too serif for…

    Ah, crap, I hate when that happens. I changed my mind, go with Copperplate for that University Press look or actually number three as it is upon refection a rather feral looking font which, while I love my Copperplate, is probably more inline with the whole meme.

    So final vote…(*sigh* I feel like I am betraying a friend.) Number Three, the Feral Font!

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