So you’re self-publishing your book or setting up your author website. You got the content and layout all worked out. All you need is to pick some fonts and download some images, right?
Every image on the Internet, and every font available for download, is someone else’s creation. As such, if they haven’t given you permission to use them, you may well be at risk of legal action if you put them on your website or book. There’s a reason cover artists, book interior designers, and web designers can rack up such a high cost to use. It’s because they either have to create their own images and designs from scratch, or pay a license fee to use certain elements and blend them together to carry out their work for you. Just as you want people to pay for your words, you need to pay a creator for their images.
But for those of us just starting out, we might not have the budget to pay for everything to be done for us. We have to find ways to save money, and we can do that by pitching in and providing pre-selected images or font choices. The important thing is to remember to check the licence agreement for everything. If you haven’t seen a licence agreement for an image or a font, play safe and assume it’s off-limits.
So how can we find the best ways to jazz up our designs, without breaking the bank and without exposing ourselves to legal risk? Writing.ie is here to direct you to the best sources on the Internet for just what you need:
1: Font Squirrel – One of the most comprehensive collections of fonts currently available. Font Squirrel also does your homework for you, and lets you filter your searches by which fonts have licences available for particular formats, and which ones are better suited to titles and headers, compared to those better suited for content.
2: Canva – For some quick and easy designs, for ebook covers, social media images, even business cards, Canva is hard to beat. It has a searchable image database, a simple and intuitive design tool, and the best part is once you pay your (very modest) fee at the end, the completed image is all yours to use. You can even make changes to a saved image, and download your alternate versions, free of charge for 24 hours.
3: Photoshop Brushes – The more skilled among you may want to take a more hands-on approach to cover design, and if you have a copy of Photoshop, installable brushes can speed up your work. This list shows some of the best free brushes available.
4: Shutterstock – Like Canva, but without the design tool, Shutterstock is one of many stock image stores around. Search for an image you like, pay your fee, and download the image to edit to your heart’s content.
5: Fonts to Avoid – Some fonts have been used so much that the mere presence of them on a website or cover screams “Amateur!” Others are naturally difficult to read, or not suited to grabbing attention, even if they look nice. This list of 20 fonts to avoid provides you with suggested alternatives, so that even if you need to do the design work yourself, your readers will never know the difference.
As always, good luck!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt