Forgive me reader, for I have sinned. No, not what you’re thinking. Well, probably. But that is entirely besides the point! I’m talking about fonts, people. Focus.
Chances are, you have heard of the dreaded Comic Sans. There simply are some fonts that must be avoided at all costs. Covers are no different. In this instance, I will be discussing Fantasy covers specifically.
These fonts are not at the level of Comic Sans, but they are definitely overused and if y’all are considering one of them, I recommend trying a few other options first.
Disclaimer: This is of course just my personal opinion, even if I am always right.
So, without further delay, here is the list of shame in order of how much I find each font odious and/or done to death:
This one is probably the most detestable on the list. It was hijacked long ago by the New Age crowd, used to sell everything from dubious incense to even more dubious tarot readings (I do my own readings, thank you very much). At this point, it’s more or less a meme, yet tends to be used by folks looking for an ‘old manuscript’ feel. If Egyptian themes are involved, it is almost always the culprit. I advise y’all not to use this font unless you want to look like a hawker of cheap healing crystals.
This tends to turn up on every other urban or paranormal fantasy cover, in various stages of decorative chaos. This font has a very Twilight-esque aesthetic, and has been paired with a set of vampire abs so often that I’m developing some form of graphic design PTSD just from looking at it.
3): Cinzel Decorative
This. Is. On. Everything.
Objectively, it is not a bad font. Nice clean serif, thin, attractive, has a hint of something Grecian and classy. The decorative options, if used sparingly, are elegant but not distracting. However, sheer overuse has rendered this typeface a fantasy cliche in its own right. You’ll find it on Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, and so on.
I don’t hate Cinzel. I even use it from time to time. But man, I’m getting tired of it.
This seems to be the favorite for all medieval-esque or gothic-ey fantasy covers. It has that grim, pseudo-Dark Ages look, yet feels very D&D fantasy. However, like Cinzel, it has been overused almost to the point of abuse, and often feels more gimmicky than anything.
5): LHF Encore
I call this the Six of Crows font, because I blame those books for the fact that this very recognizable font has started to pop up more and more. Before this beautiful font is murdered by its own trendiness, I implore everyone to hakuna their tatas and maybe consider another font option.
And here we have my own personal sin. I have this font on all of my YA trilogy covers. I love the glyphs. I adore the way this looks beveled. The symmetry and variation of the interlocking characters is so damn satisfying. Arg. However, this font, while stunning in the right application, can be flouncy, supercilious and over-the-top. It is also popping up a lot where it is not needed, and a simple classy serif would have done. Sometimes, less really is more.
So there it is, folks. My list of six fonts I find are often overused (or are on the brink of overuse) in the Fantasy genre. Did I miss one? What do you think? Any favorite fonts or fonts you can’t stand? Let me know in the comments!