November 20, 2020 - Day 5: Ask a Canva Design Expert Anything!

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It's the final day of Canva x Wattpad Design Week. We hope that you've learned some new skills and tips to uplevel your cover game, and that you're feeling more confident to take these new skills forward in your journey as a creator. We had the chance to ask Canva Art Director, Sacha de Boer, a few commonly asked design questions.

Watch this intro video from Sacha and hear her answer the popular question, "Can we create curved text when designing a cover?" 

Read on for more great tips as Sacha answers two frequently asked questions we received from Wattpadders.

I'd love to know more about the fundamentals for good composition when it comes to making book covers:

The most important thing is to make sure your title is clear so readers can see it immediately, because this is the name people will use when referring to a book. For Wattpad users this is even more important as their cover will be reduced to a thumbnail size. This can be done by ensuring contrast between the title and the background and through scale. There is no perfect layout formula that will apply to each book, but in the end each book has 3 mandatories to work with: a title, background and the author's name. In general you should dedicate at least 1/4 of the cover to the title. As each genre has its own specific cover design traits it always helps to do a short analysis yourself in the genre you're writing in by looking at other book covers in that area. What covers in that genre stand out to you? Can you put in words why you like it or what makes it unique or noticeable? Perhaps it has a minimalistic cover design, or is it using moody imagery and wide spaced out fonts, or is it only using a solid colour as a background with a bright contrasting title on top of it? This will help you identify the 'recipe' of what you'd consider as a great cover design!

Can you recommend font combos for different genres and moods? I can usually find a decent initial font to use, but then I struggle to find a complimentary font to go with it.

There are so many fonts to choose from in Canva and the options and choices can become quite daunting! Fonts can say so much about a story though and can really set the mood, so there is a lot depending on choosing the right fonts. Canva actually has preset font combinations set up in the object panel on the left, when you click 'text', so we have done the heavy lifting for you! If you want to choose your own fonts combinations or are still unsure of what to choose from these preset combos, then here are some common font styles and what they represent, and combinations that you can follow.

An all caps, wide spaced out font (top tip: we call this spacing 'tracking') shows sophistication and has a rich, almost distant touch to it. You can use a serif font for an even classier touch, or a sans serif font for a more modern look in this style. You can use a contrasting font in combination with this style for balance. You could opt for a hand written font to break down the seriousness and add a personal touch to the design, which will make it more approachable, or you can go for a condensed font with a wide tracking in all caps, which will give it a modern touch!

For a more approachable look for your cover you can use the same all caps fonts, but simply reduce the tracking. In this instance it might be nice to use a font with a wider tracking for the smaller text on the cover to give it that nice balance and allow for some breathing space.

If your story is an autobiography, then you might want to consider using a hand written font. This can be balanced out perfectly by flipping the approach in step 1 for your secondary font, or go all out and have all the text on your cover written out in the same handwritten font!

For an informal and approachable look you can consider a font in lowercase with a normal, or even a little tighter tracking. This font can be a serif or sans serif, depending on what you think is more suitable for your story. A sans serif is usually the more modern option, but that doesn't mean that it's the better option! Serif fonts have lots of personality to them, something that could help you get the emotion across of your story through its cover design. Try and balance your title font out with a contrasting font for extra personality. Are you using a decorative lowercase serif font? Try to use a sans serif with a wide tracking that is a little condensed!

If you find it too hard to decide on the perfect font combination you can always just use the same font for all your text on the cover and just simply differentiate each text through scale.

Have a question of your own? Thread below in the comments and we'll try to include it in our monthly Ask Me Anything series coming soon on the Writer Resource Page. And if you missed anything this week, all the resources can be found here

We're so happy you joined us this week and look forward to seeing all your Canva creations in the days to come.

- Wattpad HQ

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