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Zombieclypse Series, Vol 1

The author says:

This is the cover I made for my book collection. (Release date end October) Three novels about Ralph and Sarah; telling the story of their survival during the zombie apocalypse. They go from being quarantined and escaping their imminent death, to struggling with other survivors to survive and ending in them trying to bring down a corporation up to no good. It’s a young adult zombie series, set in the near future during a zombie apocalypse. The target audience are zombie fans who love horror, carnage, and fast-paced action.


Nathan says:

The problem with “horror” fonts like this is that they now connote a goofy, winking self-awareness.  Unless your novels have a self-deprecating B-movie tone (and it doesn’t sound like it from your description), you’re not giving the right impression with your cover.  Plus, it’s hard to read in two ways: one, the “clypse” doesn’t contrast well with the background behind it, and two, you’ve split “Zombieclypse,” which is a marginally readable neologism at best, leaving “Clypse” to be read as a separate word. Anything you do that makes it harder to instantly comprehend your cover is something that decreases reader interest.

Also: The title, as I gave it above, is my best guess, but it could more easily be read as Vol 1 Zombie Clypse Series,” which is just ungainly.

My advice:

  1. Give the title as “Zombieclypse Volume 1,” on two lines:

    Volume 1

  2. Use a modern, distressed font for “Zombieclypse” instead of something from Nightmare Theater.
  3. For your second font, I would either go with the non-distressed version of the “Zombieclypse” font, or something entirely different, like a handwritten font.  (Remember also this rule of thumb: The smaller the text is, the more readable the font needs to be.)
  4. My instinct is to left-justify all of the text, to balance out the zombie hands on the right (nice image, by the way).  If “Zombieclypse” won’t fit on one line without overlapping the hands, then I’d consider setting it on a cock-eyed angle.

Other comments?


  1. Nathan/submitter: before I comment, do we know if the black…text?…at the very top is supposed to be legible, or suggestive, or…?? Is that supposed to be “Driving?” Or…something-ning?

    If it is supposed to be legible, it has a real issue. If it’s not…it’s confusing.

    I realize that our expertise/comments are supposed to be on the cover design and nothing else–not plot, description, etc., but for what it’s worth, Zombieclypse doesn’t really roll off my tongue. Now, I agree, it’s hard to write Zombiepocalypse in a way that isn’t absurdly long and a bit confusing, but I keep seeing “Zombie Clyps,” as if this is advertising a new Hair Salon, you know, instead of Great Clips it’s Zombie Clyps, and the hairdressers all do Zombie Cosplay, right? Just had to bring that up, as it’s especially noteworthy with the break in the words.

    I don’t think that that shade of red is really helping, either, for the font. You may want to consider trying different tints–adding more white to that, or even a yellowy shade, to see if you can get more contrast. But the real designers will speak to that.

    Fonts. (sigh). Yeah, that font is screaming “1950’s Zombie/Horror movie SEND-UP,” and I don’t think that’s what you want. Let’s see, some suggestions: Boycott; Infected; oooooh, what about Caracura? Yum…that might be gorgeous with this. “Another Danger” is at Dafont, and it might be nice, if you want a horror-ish font. Nightmare5 might split the baby–horror-y, but not too-too.

    I like Urban Jungle, if you have the tools to overcome its kerning problems. Corner Dark–you could play with the background color, to get the contrast.

    The challenge with eroded/grunge fonts is that you already have a dark/black background, so that you won’t easily see the typical erosion technique, which is on the edges of the lettering. Perhaps something like Summer Festival, or even Warning–I’d have to test Warning, and see how that looks. Might be too busy-busy, with that background.

    Hope some of that helps. I, too, really like the image on the right-hand edge…so to speak. 😉

  2. Another example of a good image ruined by bad typography.

    The horror font is, as Nathan points out, pretty cliched. Aside from that, it is simply too difficult to read and I think that, as Hitch suggests, it is the shade of red you’ve chosen.

    The rest of the typography is no less uninspired.The white is certainly jolting.
    It is not well-placed, either, leaving you with a large, blank hole in the lower quarter of the cover.
    The art would be better served if you were to move the type away from it—at the moment everything is crowded up to the right side of the cover.

    Other questions include:
    What is that word in black at the very top? I suspect that is in the art itself?
    Is “Zombieclypse” one word or two?
    It should be “Books One, Two, and Three…”

    1. Maybe that word is supposed to be Surviving, in part? I don’t know, but as I said in my post, it’s distracting. And yeah–the shade of red is just not working. You’re correct–I ought to have mentioned the sort of marooned effect for the two words in white.

      I do think that using a more commercial font–something with better kerning, less “wink wink” in it, would help the cover immeasurably. I like and second Nathan’s idea for a nice solid sans, with a grunge effect. That ought to work.

  3. I think the idea of zombie hands coming in and grabbing around is pretty cool, and I’ll agree with everyone else that the typography should be redone. I’m also not sure about the composition, as it seems very heavy on the right side and very empty on the left. If the text is made centered it’ll be easier to place the picture (this one or another) in a slightly more centered manner (doesn’t have to be dead-center but right now the subject – the zombie hands – act more like a border for the text!). But it could also look balanced enough with the text aligned on the left as Nathan suggested.

    As a side note, I’ll also agree that if the title is not set in stone it could be tweaked for something that is easier on the tongue and more obviously zombie + apocalypse. Zombocalypse? I don’t know xD

  4. I agree the image is great. Tough one to balance though. Especially with a long title. If the cover designer has any image editing skill, I’d almost rather loose the bottom hand (HA ZOMBIE HUMOR!) in favour of a longer title at the bottom. But, then you are left with a rather large blank space in the middle. Tough one indeed. I’d go for left justification in any case.

    The primary red and white text SCREAM DIY (HA! MORE ZOMBIE HUMOR!) Perhaps giving whichever other font you choose a bit of a gradient or texture should help it out of DIY land. Hitch’s font suggestions are, as always, spot on.

    Also, where the hand interacts with the title … it’s just not working. I’ma LOVE to have something interact with the title kinda gal, so bring it on, but it needs to be more skillfully done with shadows and such.

    I’d love to see how this one progresses.

  5. Frankly the Vol 1 and it also being three books is a bit confusing. The word for many books in one cover is ‘omnibus’ by the way, maybe that helps. I would drop that VOL 1 in any case, it looks a bit unprofessional – surely should be Vol. 1? Or Volume 1? Unnecessary when it is already “books 1 to 3”. Even if you keep it, now it is pretty much the only thing legible in thumbnail. Not enticing. Dim it and make it smaller.

    Like everyone else, I think the picture is great, and I am actually not that bothered by the Return of the Voodoo Curse! style font, but maybe it is a bit too retro. I might sort of expect this to be a reprint, or set in the 50’s, if not outright pastiche of old pulps, if it did not have the other font – that itself should never be let near zombies. It does suck any atmosphere from the rest, by its very office manual-feel.

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