This is prompted by poet and blogger Rachel Fox and one of the comments on her recent posting, about the fonts I use in the books I publish. Typography has always fascinated me. While I’m not in the same league as the late, and sadly missed, Duncan Glen, nor the very much alive and kicking Gerry Cambridge, I do like to use typefaces which I feel reflect the words and the styles of my authors.

To answer the specific question on the font on the cover of Ross Wilson’s The Heavy Bag, it’s Cooper Black, more often used in advertising than on book covers. I’ve used it in red to make the title stand out, and in white for the author’s name to contrast with the background. You wouldn’t want to set a whole book in Cooper Black, nor even a whole paragraph, but for this title it’s (forgive me) punchy and eye-catching.


The text of The Heavy Bag is set in 11pt Palatino. It’s a fine font for books, balancing nicely rounded, distinctive characters with economy of spacing, so I can usually get fairly long lines between the margins.

My house style for the verso page is 9pt Verdana, my wordmark on the title page and back page insert (that’s publisher name, date, ISBN) is Copperplate Gothic, and my logo is in a font called Neurochrome, which I set in green.


In other recent books I’ve used Goudy Old Style and Century Schoolbook. Times New Roman is perfectly fine for newsprint, but to my eye it’s too narrow for books. It makes the text look mean and spidery.

For books containing a lot of haiku or which have short lines, I’ve tended to go for sans serif fonts, including Verdana, which is a bit ‘fatter’ than Arial or Futura.

Covers are where you can be creative, typographically. Alistair Noon’s cover has Valhalla in white, which works well with the deep red cover image.

I always set the title in a larger size than the author’s name.

For Marion McCready’s Vintage Sea I used Corsiva, a cursive type with good clean lines.

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), that these and many other titles are available from the Calder Wood Press online shop.




About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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