Proofreading Tips: Vintage Fonts Part 2

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Last month I looked at the history of typography with self-publishing in mind - Vintage Fonts Part 1. If you have book cover font decisions to make there are various factors to consider... including stylistic ones. Here are some thoughts and a couple of useful links.

To some extent book covers share with movie posters the need to convey a taste of what’s to come. I noticed the font chosen for the film La La Land has an Art Deco vibe hinting at the golden age of Hollywood musicals. Each of the Twentieth Century’s decades has stylistic idiosyncrasies which conjure up each era. Have a look at - you can enter a decade in the search box and compare samples.




For 1970s examples here’s another scrapbook page to accompany: Vintage Fonts Part 1.

There are of course a myriad of decisions to be made when designing a book cover but if a historical setting is involved an appropriate font can speak volumes. If you’re organising your own publicity, launch, etc you may wish to use your book cover on pull up banners, posters, bookmarks etc. The font you choose will contribute to the effectiveness of your publicity materials (large or small).

I recommend professional book cover design but if you’re diving into every aspect of self-publishing have a look at ...each month there’s a selection of the latest book cover designs, including the occasional children’s book. And nothing beats browsing in your local bookshop for ideas and booky zeitgeist.

A strong uppercase serif font conveys serious intent or portent but beware of using ‘Trajan’ . Trajan shares with Comic Sans a tendency to be looked on as over-used. That YouTube video is ten years old but if you tune in to looking for Trajan on book covers and movie posters you still see lots of examples.

And finally, proofread! Yes even your book cover needs proofreading.


Catriona Tippin has been a member of SCBWI since 2006 and helps organise venues for SCBWI North East. Details of her writing and illustrating can be found here. She proofreads study guides, house magazines and publicity material for national educational organisations, in addition to working on a variety of proofreads and copyedits for the growing self-published world. Her monthly column Proofreading Tips is intended to give you food for thought, remembering “Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling or typographical error” (McKean’s Law, named after its inventor Erin McKean, editor of the Oxford American Dictionary).

Louisa Glancy is a features editor for Words & Pictures.
Twitter: @Louisa Glancy


  1. That "parties" font is a truly scary encapsulation of the 1970s. Pineapple on a stick and the A is even wearing flares!

    1. ...and the cocktail will be a Harvey Wallbanger or a Tequila Sunrise...


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