~How I love to use fonts and typefaces to take advantage of books~

In my earliest days of writing, one of my largest concerns with pursuing this hobby over like animation or manga or video games was basically… well, its lack of visual elements!

I used to see this as a weakness, because in some ways, it does make getting across our visions of our worlds a lot harder, yeah?

But at some point, I realised that… that was kind of the appeal!

Every time I read a book, I wasn’t picturing the setting, I was picturing what I thought the setting looked like—and that level of personalisation is one of attractions of the written work, isn’t it?

But personally, I wasn’t quite content with leaving things there and penning my manuscripts in 12-point Times New Roman or something…

Fonts in fantasy…

Ever since I transitioned into a full-time fantasy writer, building my worlds has become so much more of a priority than ever before—and given my descriptions can be pretty bad, very early on I thought of one way to explore this through a more visual element!

Fonts, typefaces, whatever you’d prefer to call them—and using the, sparingly for when they’d build my environments well!

My favourite way of doing this is just with signs and what not, for example these signs from the country of Aravythrin:

(Avenir Next Condensed)
Great Vibes
Unifraktur Maguntia, then Fruktur

Since our books are all written anyways, where’s the harm in sprinkling these little moments in, yeah~?

I source a lot of my typefaces from Google Fonts, since basically everything there is licensed under SIL Open Font License, the Apache license, or the Ubuntu Font License

H-Honestly I just copied these straight from Google… I don’t know enough like legal English to explain these to you, but hey I’m fairly sure commercial use is okay’d for all of these licenses—and that’s where my fun begins~

I’ll try to mark down what typefaces I use in each screenshot, since when I choose them, I also tend to follow more guidelines of sorts, though it’s nothing too surprising!

A case for every case…

So I’ll talk more about these in a future post~! But my 8th and latest finished manuscript, A Kind of Reverie, is set across four countries:

  • Aravythrin – A vast and diverse country encompassing most of the Eastern and Central portions of the continent of Verhyth, Aravythrin’s territory stretches from the fields of Astasher in the east, the high, cold peaks of the Kinavyth Mountain Range across the centre, and the fertile lands and thick forests around the metropolis of Araveth in the east.
  • Niirasong – A large archipelagic country off the east coast of Verhyth, housing a diverse array of locations from the busy commercial centre of Siiongiin, to the rainforests around the town of Gonasii.
  • Sarozanka – Comprised of two main islands, much of this economically-prosperous nation’s population is concentrated in its capital of Saro-Kanazara, situated along the vast southern coastline of its larger island, and connected to its second largest city, Tsuzugo, via a bridge across a long strait. Around the northern half of Sarozanka are vibrant, blossoming forests, clear lakes, and warm hills that make popular vacation spots for locals and tourists alike.
  • Crynthellian Republic – Spanning the Western peninsula of Verhyth, the Republic is a cold, hilly country largely ran as a dictatorship by Crynthelm, the Prince of Abstractions, who maintains large support through his charisma and public reverence. Sharing only one land border with Aravythrin’s Astasher Province, the Republic’s capital of Stantenholt is renowned as a centre for artists internationally, largely due to Crynthelm’s jurisdiction over such arts.

Just for fun, here’s a map I “drew” as a quick reference for these countries…

Sure, Youchien (幼稚園) students have drawn better, but it works well enough as a reference… r-right?

Anyways—I tried my best to give each of these countries a different theme of sorts for these fonts!

So while Eastern Aravythrin gets a lot of geometric sans-serifs and fancy-looking cursive scripts, Southern Aravythrin and the Crynthellian Republic get a lot of Blackletter typefaces, whilst Niirasong receives a lot of traditional display ones, and Sarozanka boasts a good stock of stylised, angular fonts!

So just below, here are some examples of more typefaces I chose, as well more ways I applied then beyond signs~

Beyond signs…

So for a few examples of me applying some of these ideas a bit more~

Copperplate, then Roboto

This newspaper article-! Which I thought would be quite fitting to include in this scene~

I honestly can’t promise that I wrote this according to usual journalistic standards—I’m not trained in that I just went with what felt right for the universe (*^^*)

But for me anyways, isn’t showing this whole article a bit more effective in terms of contextualising how my characters react to it?

It’s definitely a grim piece, and I’d be spoiling a lot if I explained its significance to the story, but—I actually did this twice in the book!

Pamela, then Gill Sans

This does touch on the same topic I wrote about in our previous article, but this time, my main intention with this piece was basically to introduce Crynthelm, since this is the first we hear about who he is and what he does!

And—yeah just from reading this alone, whatever you think about Crynthelm is valid-!

(he is so much worse than what’s mentioned here but honestly I can’t help but think he’s a bit… (๑>◡<๑))

Now for one more example from this book, here’s one I vividly remember writing at a Starbucks of all places!

Rye, then Aldrich

Once again I don’t think I quite nailed that government tone but- I can promise you that QR code works exactly as written!

though unfortunately I can’t exactly register that website—it would’ve been funny if I could!

Thing is—my usage of these fonts in this first book didn’t stretch too much beyond these small moments, since I do believe that using them sparingly helps make them more effective!

So here’s a thought… What if this kind of style spanned an entire chapter?

Stretching a book in quite a few ways…

For anyone else who’s read it, I think House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski will be, for a long time, one of the most unique literary experiences out there!

And I’d be lying if I said this book’s style didn’t influence some of my own experimentations too!

In one chapter of A Kind of Reverie, our protagonists, Ennarin and Sakiyo, read a book alongside the Prince of Loyalty, Lucellius, who is attempting to analyse them based on the choices they make in the story.

So, to try and take advantage of this being a written medium, I decided to write… well, a short story within a book-!


This first page showcases my style for this chapter—The sections in Alemandra are the short story being read, and those in Charter are the conversations my characters are having between it~!

Honestly, my main concern is mostly with whether or not the contrast between the fonts is good enough to not be confused, so I’ll have to wait for some beta reader feedback for that!

If you ask me though… this is nothing compared to what I did for my second book in this series.

My plot in the second book, to spoil as little as possible, revolves around these mysterious tomes that, when read by a specific character, transports them into a trance-like state as the books feed them memories they’ve forgotten one by one.

One of my main themes for this book so far has been memory and how easily-corruptible it can be, and when our character reads the third tome, instead of a smooth transition into a vivid flashback, they are greeted by…

…and I think it’s best I let this segment speak for itself (*^▽^*)

Whichever ones of these you read, I’d love to hear what you think of have to say!

All the love to ‘ya! ٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶

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