The image on a book cover is important, but the words do a ton of heavy lifting, too. They tell you all the crucial information: what’s the book called? Who wrote it? Typography can also convey something subtler: it can indicate whether a novel will be dark and suspenseful or light and bubbly. And when it doesn’t–well, that’s nothing short of a graphic-design disaster.
For the next few weeks, Figment and Hyperion are teaming up to spread some cover love by showcasing the publishing world’s best and most beautiful feats of design. Hyperion is even giving you a chance to design a book cover and get it professionally printed! Today, we want to get your expert opinion on lettering and font choice. In the following examples, which use of typography do you think is the best? Vote now, or, if you don’t see your favorite book in the quiz options, leave a comment and let us know what we missed!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The premise: Cinderella as a cyborg, with the fate of the world balancing on her shoulders. The font? A glorious combination of old-school, fairy-tale throwback with a shot of steampunk. Bliss.
Dark Eyes by William Richter
This debut novel is a thriller–not that we’d need to tell you that. The use of typography here epitomizes the power of type to convey tone. The bold, sans serif font, which whooshes out at the viewer at a jarring tilt (and with an unmissable caps lock), conveys a story that’s fast-paced and exhilarating.
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Right away, the typography here indicates historical fiction, with a splash of romantic intrigue. (The cover model’s brightly colored lips also help with that reading.) A golden and embellished version of Zapfino, the font here evokes the book’s title as well as its mood.
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
There’s no doubt that Illuminate is a pretty book to look at, and the font adds a large contribution to its overall aesthetic appeal. Bedazzled with luminous curlicues, the typography is at once elegant and whimsical.
May B by Caroline Starr Rose
Unlike some of the more ornate type treatments we’ve seen, the text used on the cover of May B is noteworthy for being at once simple and distinctive. With a touch of rusticity, the font indicates a warm and down-home sensibility.
The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
When a horrific virus hits Los Angeles and turns people into zombie-like Weepers, Sherry is forced to hide out in a sealed bunker with her parents . . . until they run out of food. The sketchy, erratically inscribed text, which itself mutates into strands of barbed wire, hints at the story’s post-apocalyptic decay.
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Now this is a bold cover. Set against a fluorescent yellow background, the stark block letters not only take over the entire cover, but also manage to meld text and image. The urgent color scheme and forceful size reflect the dystopian setting contained within the pages.
Truth by Julia Karr
Like The Way We Fall, Truth‘s cover combines text with visual imagery. Still, the graphic design conveys a completely different tone: in part due to its white background, the vertical orientation of the text and the fonts being used, the story comes off less like dystopia and more like adventure.
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