Ah, picking a typeface, possibly the most frustrating hurdle a designer will face when working on any design.
It’s not just a case of slapping on some text in any old font. You have to find that perfect one that that feels just right.
This is especially true when designing a book cover.
Everything on the cover will give a potential reader a snap-judgement of the story inside, especially the typography.
Pick the wrong font, and the whole design will suffer.
So, in an attempt to make things just that little bit easier, I’m starting a new series of blog posts that will feature free fonts suited to a specific genre or style that will hopefully be a good starting point.
What’s more, all fonts will be available to download freely and use commercially.*
Kicking things of we’re looking at the broad genre of science fiction.
*Correct at time of publishing. Please check the licensing agreement of individual fonts before use.
What does ‘science fiction’ feel like?
This is the question I asked myself before I compiled this list.
Scifi is a broad genre, and the term covers a wide range of sub genres.
At the most basic level, science fiction (at least in the classical sense) focusses on technology.
Therefore I have tried to source fonts that have a scientific or technological feel to them.
Where possible I’ve avoided fonts that are direct copies or references to fonts used in well-known scifi movies, books, or TV shows, though some are reminiscent of familiar faces.
These fonts can either be used ‘as is’, or can be subjected to some kind of type–treatment to create something unique for your design.
So, set your cover designs to stunning.
Here’s 25 hand-picked, freely available fonts recommended for science fiction book covers.
A bold, high-tech display font with a futuristic feel.
A condensed, contemporary font, similar in appearance to Trade Gothic Condensed. Good for longer titles.
A rounded, tech font available in 4 weights/styles. All characters share the same X-height.
An angled, tech/digital font, originally designed to be used in Russian. Requires a free MyFonts account.
A bold, ultra-condensed display font. Suitable for short, snappy titles.
An industrial font with a HUGE selection of weights and styles. Suitable for body copy as well as titles.
A heavy, condensed, ‘small caps’ display font with an industrial feel. The angled counters in some of the characters are very reminiscent of the Star Trek logotype.
A soft, rounded font with a retro science fiction feel to it.
A curved, tech font, with an almost calligraphic quality to it. Available in regular and bold weights.
A heavy, angular display font with a retro feel to it.
A geometric display font with a digital/screen feel.
A bold, curved display font with a slight retro feel.
A rounded, geometric font in a variety of weights and styles. Very reminiscent of Futura.
A rounded, geometric font with a futuristic/tech feel.
A blocky, angled font, with a digital feel. Available in a variety of weights and styles.
A rounded, geometric tech font. Reminiscent of hacker/cyberpunk novels.
A tech/digital display font, very similar to Bank Gothic and Eurostile.
A monospaced font originally intended to be used for programming and coding.
An condensed industrial, stencil display font. Best used BIG to show off the breaks in the characters.
A geometric slab serif font with a ‘friendly’ appearance. Probably best suited to lighthearted, comical books.
A monospaced, rounded programming/code font.
A monospaced tech font, with a squared, pixel version available.
An elegant, narrow font with a decorative appearance. Ideal for stories leaning towards the science-fiction fantasy genre.
A chunky display font with a retro feel. The slanted letters such as A, M, V, can be ‘flipped’ through capitalisation.
A rounded, geometric font, very reminiscent of retro 60s/70s scifi. Some glyphs missing unfortunately.
A few notes on picking a typeface
Picking a typeface and font for a particular design can be a frustrating process.
Whenever I’m trying to find a typeface for a branding project I always try to find a font that conveys the same emotional response that the brand would like;
Is it precise and machined? Is it slick and modern? Is it friendly-looking?
Try approaching the typography and design of a book cover in the same way.
Don’t feel that you have to use a programming font for example, simply because a novel is about hacking.
Think deeper about the content. What emotional response does the author want to provoke within the reader?
If a story is witty, lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek, find a font that makes you feel this way when you see it.
Over to you
Hopefully this post is a useful starting point for finding a suitable font for a science fiction book cover, but I want to know your thoughts.
What do you think about the suggestions?
Are they too cliché or ‘traditionalist’?
Would you suggest other fonts?
Leave a comment letting me know your thoughts, or even suggestions for a new genre list you’d like to see in future.
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