Typography can make or break a book cover design. The extensive variety of typography on covers is mind-boggling – from conservative serifs to charmingly handwritten typefaces. Book cover typography has never looked so good.

If you’ve got a cover to design, but need some direction for the typography, let InDesignSkills give you some inspirational suggestions.


1. If you’re designing a cover for a Classic


Follow the example of the iconic Penguin covers and choose the traditional sans serif typeface Gill Sans. More recent interpretations of the covers by Levente Szabo still use the same typeface, and look just as relevant today:

penguin classic gill sans fonts typography for book covers

penguin classic catcher in the rye gill sans fonts typography for book covers

The revised covers, also published by Penguin, for classic titles such as Moby Dick use Wile, a lovely serif font with a clean, classic look:

penguin classic wile fonts typography for book coverspenguin classic wile fonts typography for book covers

These covers, designed by Jessica Hische, reinterpret a very traditional hardback format, and use vintage-style typography for an authentic, ornate look. To mimic this look, try Nexa Rust, a more modernised version of a slab style, or Asterx, for adding a gothic twist to your text:

jessica hische classic covers typography fonts for book covers

jessica hische classic covers typography fonts for book covers


2. If you’re designing for a Contemporary Fiction title…


For a more serious title, choose Trajan Pro or Adobe Caslon Pro to command attention:

ian mcewan solar trajan pro typography fonts for book covers

For a design that places the emphasis on simple, elegant typography, you can’t go wrong with ITC New Baskerville. Or try Hebrew Michol for a similar vibe:

susan briscoe the crow's vow typography fonts for book covers

david sedaris dress your family in corduroy and denim typography fonts for book covers

For some titles, a simple sans serif can look really effective without being overwhelming. Try FF Nexus Sans for a clean look that will complement just about any cover design:

lorrie moore a gate at the stairs typography fonts for book covers

A romantic or nostalgic fiction cover needs a font with more emotion. If you don’t want to venture into handwritten territory, try adding in italic caps like this cover for Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, published by Grove Press UK with illustration by Emiliano Ponzi. Adobe Caslon Italic Swash will achieve the same effect:

say her name francisco goldman adobe caslon italic typography fonts for book covers


3. If you’re designing a cover for a Non-Fiction title…


Non-fiction titles tend to be more serious and less fantastical than their fictional counterparts. Try a digital, soviet-inspired typeface like BF Anorak to achieve a similar look to this cover, designed by Jason Ramirez:

ilan stavans jason ramirez gabriel garcia marquez the early years  typography fonts for book covers

For a traditional yet beautiful serif font, try Classical Garamond or Adobe Garamond Pro. Contrasting large-scale text against a pale background can be really high-impact, as demonstrated in this cover design by Cristopher Brian King:

christopher brian king slavoj zizek trouble in  paradisetypography fonts for book covers

Try Trade Gothic for a serious sans serif style that complements travel and political commentary books best:

names for the sea sarah moss typography fonts for book covers

For travel books or nostalgic historical titles, a font with a nod to retro design will bring your cover to life. Try K22 Didoni or Cabernet to achieve a similar look to this cover:

paris versus new york typography fonts for book covers

Have you got any font favourites for book covers not mentioned here? Please share them with us in the comments below! Check out more book cover design inspiration here.


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