Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville Office
Weather: warm and cloudy
I’ve written about the content of titles this week and their length, appropriateness, etc., but I haven’t said much about their looks, their style and where they appear on the book, especially in relation to the author’s name. These decisions almost always fall outside the author’s say-so, but it is interesting to think about.
Is the typeface for the title in one font and the author’s name in another?
There usually is some distinction between these typefaces. I like the treatment on Debbie Macomber’s Knit Together in which the title is in italics at the top and her name in Roman style is at the bottom, and both are about equal in size.
Is there a size difference in the type for the title and the author’s name?
That’s often a clue to what the publisher thinks readers will be looking for. A recent hard-cover book by a best-selling romance author (not a Books & Such client) had her name so large at the top, it covers more than half the front cover. Who could ever remember the title–or if there was one? Do you always start reading a book cover from the top down? I have a friend who reads from the bottom up; so in most cases she’s reading the author’s name first, then the subtitle and then the title. Strange!
What colors are used to make the title stand out or “pop,” as book designers say?
Many good books fail to attract the attention they deserve because their titles, which may have been well chosen, were treated in a color and style that sank into the book cover’s background. More often a few letters of the title clash with some element in the background and are lost.
The guiding rule many designers use about titles and covers is this: Does it make you want to stop for a second look when you’re passing by? That means a book has about five seconds to grab a reader’s attention in a bookstore! Can you think of books you stopped to examine simply because of the type? If a book is very successful, designers tend to stick with the same type and look for upcoming titles along with the overused but coveted “best-selling author of ….”
Don’t forget that the only rule in publishing is that there aren’t any rules. “Word of mouth” still trumps all the rules, no matter what title a book has or how it looks.