Choosing the Right Font for your Book: A Short Guide.
Self-published authors often find themselves flustered by the time they finish writing the manuscript. They emotionally invest in writing a story they believe in, but still, fireworks fail to appear. So clearly, making a book needs more than just the story. But what more? Your book needs ‘proper formatting.’ Only that ensures an enjoyable reading experience.
Every good story warrants equally befitting formatting. Apart from excellent writing skills, the other facets of creating an enjoyable read include amazing book design, page layouts, selecting paper color and quality, picking the right size for your book, front and back cover designing, and deciding on the correct usage of fonts. These are all significant parts of writing a book. In fact, each of these factors majorly in the success of your book.
In this article, we are focusing on choosing the right fonts for your book.
For beginners, the world of book design and layout can be a daunting task. For example, your first venture into exploring fonts for your book may leave you slightly confused as far as fonts go.
To be able to understand fonts, we must first understand the broad categories. The typefaces are classified into four groups: serif, sans serif, scripts, and decorative styles. Serif fonts are the ones that finish off with a little extra edge or a letter stem. On the other hand, Sans Serif fonts don’t have that little extra edge.
There are numerous fonts that one can find under each category of fonts. But to put things in a better perspective, Serif fonts are widely used in printed material. It is because of the clear distinction and gaps in the letter, making reading easier on paper. One of the most common Serif fonts used is the Times, New Roman. It is interesting to note that this font was named such because The Times newspaper commissioned it to improve readability.
However, in digital platforms, the resolutions of the computer or reading screens tend to make reading tricky. Add to this the little edges (serifs) in Serif fonts, and the result is not appealing. So, in digital platforms, Sans Serif fonts are a far better choice.
Why are fonts important?
When you step into typesetting, the choice of fonts is a crucial step. There are thousands of font families available today. If you Google this subject, there are endless options in front of you. From its looks, a novice would think that picking a font is simply a matter of personal choice. That is far from the truth. Deciding to choose a font can be as logically driven as other matters in publication. So much so that there’s psychology applied to each font to drive the required response.
It may come out as a shock to many, but font psychology is a real thing. It’s also a powerful thing. The fonts that you pick can dramatically affect how someone interprets the design of the book and sort of plays with the user’s brain. In addition, fonts are powerful enough to inspire emotions in the audience.
It is a widely observed fact that Serif fonts are an excellent choice to invoke traditional, respectable, comforting, and reliable. But, on the other hand, Sans Serif is seen to bring about feelings of stability and objectivity. It is considered clean and modern by many.
People often also feel that Script fonts have elegance and are suitable to portray affection and creativity. There are also decorative styles that are used best in designs. It is used to communicate qualities like friendliness, humor, unique expression, style, chicness, a progressive approach, or only a strong point.
It is always best to understand what kind of reaction you want to invoke from your audience before picking a font. However, it is also equally essential to avoid using a font that works exactly the opposite way of your desired result. For instance, if you are writing a book about finance, you must first understand that finance is still traditional. So choosing a graphic or script font can throw away your chances at success. Similarly, if you’re writing a book on travel experiences, a Serif font won’t generate excitement in the readers.
Tips for picking the right font
Generally speaking, in graphic designing, some fonts such as Helvetica, Trajan, Garamond, Futura, Bodoni, Bickham Script Pro, and Frutiger are used more frequently. Font usage in books is a slightly different game. If you browse through varied books, you notice that the most commonly used typeface includes Baskerville, Garamond, Janson, Palatino, Bembo, and Times New Roman. Now, these are not just names that pop up in a designer’s mind for fun or as per their fancy. Each font picked symbolizes something. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while picking the correct font for your book:
1. Simplicity is the right way to go:
We know how daunting each task of making a book is and just how perfect a choice you want to make with your fonts. Trying too hard to create an impression can probably fall flat. On the other hand, picking a rarely used font may make your reader make a conscious note of your font choice. It usually means that your reader is paying more attention to your font and design choices rather than the content provided. Remember, one of the primary jobs of your font is to make a mark without being noticed. So going ahead with a familiar font may be in the reader’s comfort zone and be soothing to the eyes.
2. Let the genre be the deciding factor:
The subject matter of your book should be the most crucial point of consideration when you pick a font. There are ample font options available out there. Try and pick a font that suits the genre of your book perfectly. For instance, in literary fiction, Baskerville is a popular choice of font, and rightly so, because this Serif font amalgamates classic and modern to give the reader an enjoyable experience. Similarly, for romantic fiction, Sabon is commonly used.
You’re a thriller fan. Garamond might seem familiar to you. Remember the Harry Potter books? See how this one makes good sense? It is because Garamond, as a serif-font, is quite suitable for long texts. It has smooth formations and portrays an ideal way of beautification.
In the case of non-fiction, sans serif fonts are popular. And in the case of children’s books, you might want to pick a more decorative font – something to invoke excitement and interest.
3. Beware of ‘bad’ fonts:
We’re calling these fonts ‘bad’ because they happen to have been over-used and outdated. Fonts such as Comic Sans, Papyrus, Curlz, and Brush Script are some of such fonts. To understand this better, it may be a good idea to eye your book from the reader’s perspective. It’s one thing to love reading and then write your book. The world of writing and reading maybe two parts of the same coin, but they are undoubtedly distinctive too. So, we would recommend you steer clear of fonts that you wouldn’t want to read.
Fonts that work best in books
When you begin working with your publisher, you will often notice a subtle mix of font usage. Bear in mind that it is okay to combine serif and sans serif fonts in the design of your book. However, once your decision has reached a stage where you need to pick one
from the Serif fonts or the Sans Serif fonts, several names appear in front of you. Here are some famous names that might help me make an informed choice:
Deja Vu Serif
Bookman Old Style
Goudy Bookletter 1911
Sans Serif Fonts:
Deja Vu Sans
One more vital aspect to note is the line spacing. Sometimes you might notice a page that seems too cramped up, so a little bit of spacing may work in your favor. Your readers will find it easier to read.
Choosing the font is one of the common book formatting mistakes writers make. Fonts are supposed to enhance the beauty of your written word and communicate the right message. Font usage in books may be a bit difficult to understand initially, but once you’ve done some research, the right names are going to pop right up.