Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

A Book & its Cover

Friday, 12th January, 2007
skyTHE GROUND AROUND the feeder is smooth and wet but it's not just those pheasants that have pummeled it: we've had wild, wet, windy weather most of the week and the ground can't take any more. When it rains small puddles form on the bare ground.

The lawn looks threadbare and I'm looking forward to the fresh green shoots of the spring.

grey eveningIt wouldn't be impossible to go out drawing but for the time being I'm fine-tuning my walks book. I intended this to be a simple booklet to occupy me during the winter months.

Why is it taking so long?

Today I've been thinking about the cover, what colour card should I use? I'm going for black only on the cover. As far as I remember, I've produced only one book with a monochrome cover; The Natural History of Wakefield in 1978, and that was brown lettering on cream card.


grey windy dayFor the walks booklet I think I'll go for green, but softer than the one above; more like a sage green.

I like that typeface (above), which is Crazy Loot BT inline. It's one of the 200 basic fonts that come with Page Plus 11, the desktop publishing software that I'm using.

My first version of the cover used Arial which looked clear and reliable, both important qualities in a walks book, but didn't, for me, convey the fun and sense of freedom you get when walking.

A serif face, such as Times Roman, gives a hint of the history of the landscape you're walking through but it can look a bit authoritative. When you walk you're escaping for a while from your routine obligations.

So that leaves the 'handwritten' fonts; they have the feeling of freedom that you get when out walking; of the improvisation that comes in when you have to vary your route because of flooding or overgrown stretches of footpath (both problems that I've had to address in the booklet).
But does a handwritten look rather wayward?
mugWould you trust a walks book with this kind of typeface on the cover?

title pageStriding or Strolling?

I think Informal Roman (left) works well , although it suggests a walker who is striding rather than strolling.

Informal Roman is a font in Open Type format by Esselte (1997), supplied with Microsoft Publisher 2003.