Helvetica Reflection: Typeface in Book Design

Every book genre has design conventions that are there to help the reader recognize the book’s genre, and in turn, these design conventions create an overall mood or feeling. For instance, poetry covers usually rely more on typographical designs,  rather than image-based covers like those of fantasy novels.

Here’s a poetry cover:


And here’s a fantasy cover for comparison:


Additionally, looking at book series will reveal a static design throughout the covers to connect each book in the series.

Typeface brings together the design of a book cover with the image creating a connection to the genre and story. When used unconventionally—something done outside the expected cover design like Matt Sumell’s Making Nice cover—the design stops readers and prompts them to pick up the book to read the back cover. Typeface is especially important for readability on the cover and spine. If you’re browsing books in the store, the font size has to be legible from across the room.


Typefaces for Book Layout

I prefer using certain typefaces for layout design because they’re popular in interior book layout, such as Garamond.


For design that’s more text heavy, Garamond is a nice default choice because of how it appears on print. It has a traditional feel to it and it’s easy on the eyes when printed. Garamond was created by Claude Garamond in 1495. This typeface reflected the “elegance and legibility” of the French Renaissance.


Other popular fonts for interior layout can be viewed here.

Helvetica‘s Lessons

I agree with the designers in Helvetica that said looking for a specific font for a design piece is time consuming. I find myself spending so much time looking for typefaces that never really quite work. It’s frustrating and so I resort to using fonts known to me.

Re-watching Helvetica reminded me that design can change the feel of a typeface depending on the audience it’s designed for. The beauty of Helvetica is its wide range of uses in so many different designs. From government signs to store displays to ads, Helvetica is diverse in its representation of the designer’s vision. Even though some typographers said the typeface is bland, I think that in the hands of a skilled designer it can be used in a way to give it individuality and expression.

So maybe I can expand my creativity on how I use my default fonts, but I also want to expand my inventory to create a library of typefaces that work in my designs.


About Garamond – http://www.linotype.com/3474/garamond-font-feature.html

Feature image from – https://litoole.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/typeclassificationdesres2.jpg

Image sources are linked in the image.


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