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I am typesetting my first book. I am using Computer Modern for the font. I am trying to decide which font to use for the covers/dust jacket.

I took a look at a number of similarly formatted books, and they all seem to use sans serif fonts for the cover, even if they are typeset with serif fonts in the body. Is there a good reason—aesthetic or otherwise—why one should use a sans serif font (e.g., CMSS) over regular CMR for the cover?

Backstory: My university has, in my opinion, an incredibly ugly format that is required for all Masters and Ph.D. theses. Double spaced, single sided, letter paper, small margins, single column ... it just looks terrible. For my Ph.D. dissertation I of course used the required formatting for the archival versions that go to the university library, however, I also created my own style file that I think looks a lot better. I am going to use my "prettier" format for printing copies of my dissertation for my advisors, friends, family, &c. The book binder I am using allows me to customize the cover of the book.

Disclaimer: I realize this question isn't specifically related to (La)TeX, however, it is realted to typesetting; I hope it is not off topic!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

I think the KOMA documentation puts it very nicely, when describing which title is created using \maketitle and how it differs from the book cover:

A cover is actually something that should be created in a separate document. The cover often has a very individual format. It can also be designed with the help of a graphics or DTP program. A separate document should also be used because the cover will be printed on a different medium, possibly cardboard, and possibly with another printer.

This means: the layout/formatting of the main document has absolutely no bearing on the layout and formatting of the cover.

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Very good answer indeed :-) –  Joseph Wright Sep 14 '10 at 15:52
    
Thanks, that is what I had assumed. The gist of my question, though, was whether or not certain fonts work better for the cover (regardless of which font is used for the main body). I seem to recall reading some studies, for example, about the readability of certain fonts for signage. That may be a bit too off topic for this forum, however. –  ESultanik Sep 14 '10 at 16:30

I wonder if your collection of books all come from a single source with a certain house style? It doesn't match my experience.

I current have 14 books sitting on my desk. Of those, 4 have sans serif typefaces for the printing on their covers, and 10 have serif typefaces on their covers.

I'm no expert, but I can't think of any reason why covers ought to use sans fonts; perhaps some people do it because it is one place where sans fonts do look appropriate, and they want some variety.

Computer Modern Roman doesn't seem like a great title font to me personally, but I think that's just a matter of taste. It's your book; if you like it, go for it.

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On my desk right now I have Springer, Princeton U. Press, Prentice Hall, and Dover books; all use Sans on the cover and Serif in the body. –  ESultanik Sep 14 '10 at 16:26

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