Typography is an important aspect of any cover. It’s the first thing readers read on a book. The typeface must not only be compatible with whatever images are displayed on the cover, but also with the genre in which the book is positioned. Covers that use the typography as their primary design feature are referred to as “typographic covers.” These are the ones with limited imagery, photographic or otherwise, where the title and author take up most of the space. With these covers, finding the right font is more important than ever.
For a book to stand out in the marketplace, the typography element must be as important as all other aspects of the cover. All of the pieces must work together to cultivate a feeling or message about what one can expect inside the book.
It was the ’80s, and desktop publishing was just starting to take off. Bringhurst felt the sudden availability of digital fonts would overwhelm any inclination toward rational design and cause typographical chaos. He did what any perfectionist would do: write a book.
Every teacher ever told me to submit papers typed in Times New Roman, twelve-point font, double-spaced; I assumed it was the be-all and end-all of professional-looking typefaces. Times New Roman was so ingrained in my being that the idea of using another typeface hadn’t even occurred to me.
In recent years, multiple graphic designers—a few having dyslexia themselves—have created various new fonts designed to be easily read by individualizing each letter to create a smoother reading experience. This is done by creating larger openings in letters like c and e, as well as varying the thickness to make each letter distinct.
The last time you heard from the Ocean in My Ears team, we were busy copyediting the manuscript. Well, now the copyediting is finished, and we have since turned our attention to the cover. Like many of our projects at Ooligan Press, this was a collaborative effort. Taylor Farris came up with the original concept for the cover that featured a watercolor splash, a denim textured font, and a clean aesthetic; Leigh Thomas built upon this design, adding the mountains and the reflection, as well as fine-tuning the details; and Riley Pittenger hand drew the illustrated car. Needless to say, the result is a cover that is more than the sum of its parts, but let’s go ahead and take a closer look at some of those parts anyway.