Harry Potter Typography in Action

By: Kazu Kibuishi, Blog, Post, Reverse Engineered by C.S. Gilmore http://www.extravaganzi.com/new-covers-of-harry-potter-by-kazu-kibuishi/


Harry Potter 15th Anniversary covers by Kazu Kibuishi

Original: In attempting to think of a good example of two typography types being used together, it struck me to try book covers, which led me to look up Harry Potter book covers. I came across this one in a simple search and found it rather pleasing in both art and typographical layout.

Harry Potter 15th Anniversary covers by Kazu Kibuishi

Oldstyle is used for the author name and the title apart from “Harry Potter” this serves to provide the information while not distracting the eye with the less bold font type. The font is recognizable from that of a serif font due to the fact that the stresses are at diagonal points in the letters, meaning the thin parts of the letters are at diagonal points across from each other, instead of on the direct top or bottom. The serif points also have a distinctive curve to them that would be more squared in a standard serif font.

Harry Potter 15th Anniversary covers by Kazu Kibuishi

Decorative text is what serves as the real eye catcher of the piece, as seen in the words “Harry Potter” the unique and imaginative character shapes help draw the eye and let the reader quickly know that they are looking at a Harry Potter series book. It wouldn’t be a good idea for this font to be used throughout the story as the texts shape would be harder on the eye, but it works well in this small dose as an identifier.

Harry Potter 15th Anniversary covers by Kazu Kibuishi

Size is one of the primary ways these two fonts contrast well. The decorative font is several sizes larger than the oldstyle font, allowing it to catch the eye at first.

Harry Potter 15th Anniversary covers by Kazu Kibuishi

shape is perhaps the largest contrasting point between the two fonts. While they do share in the pointed form of the serifs, they also differ greatly in how many of those serifs and other edges are portrayed. The oldstyle font is more rounded and smooth, while the decorative font has many points of extra elongated serifs and sharper edges to the curves. Take the letter “e” for example, the oldstyle has like a half oval in the eye of the “e” while the decorative fonts eye is more like a triangle due to the sharpened curves. The “P” also sticks out with the tail being lightning bolt shaped instead of normally drawn.

Conclusion: While the two fonts have their connecting points, their contrasting points are much stronger and serve to compliment each other, with the decorative font serving as the eye catcher and identifier, while the oldstyle font carries the more detailed information.


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