I’m always at my local library, and I love checking out the “what’s new” on the the non-fiction book shelf when you walk in. I have to say, the last few months I’ve been noticing a design pattern on book covers! A particular script font that is being used quite a bit… Thirsty Script in Rough and Regular. Just take a look:
Here’s more examples:
And this book too: One Bowl Baking. It’s official:
Thirsty Script on Book Covers is a thing.
The interesting thing I noticed, is that this trend is happening across different topics, genres, and even across different publishers. It seemed to come into popularity recently and now I see it everywhere.
The fonts that become trends in design seem to happen out of the blue, but really they are a result of the design trends that are happening all around us and coming about in small and slow ways over time, at an individual designer preference based level. Thirsty script to me, looks like a continuation of the arc that graphic design has been taking since 2013. It’s a more modern approach, some would say a “hipster” look, but something that is currently speaking to our time and has been appealing to this wave of graphic designers for awhile.
Early script fonts that pre-date Thirsty Script would be Lobster and Marketing Script, and more recently: Wisdom Script. These fonts have been used widely, in part because they are free, but also because they are a script font that is more casual. These script fonts walk the line between something that says “wedding invitation” and the more casual style of script like fonts that look more like handwriting. Here’s an example of a handwriting font.
Script fonts are something that tends to look modern, yet friendly.
They often work well for subjects like cooking, travel and home decorating, gardening and parenting.
Thirsty font works particularly well because it’s easy to pair with other fonts.
This last point might best explain why Thirsty Script (and Thirsty Rough) has been used so much recently and why I suddenly noticed it everywhere. In terms of design, it’s always a challenge for graphic designers and typographers to pair fonts together. This means, that we are mixing two or more fonts, using one as an accent for part or all of a title, and then trying to find one that matches well with it for sub titles, author names, or other text.
Because Thirsty is a script, it stands out on it’s own against other fonts (especially the textured option of using Thirsty Rough). But because there are other aspects about the font, specifically the ascenders (the part that goes up on the lowercase d and k) and descenders (the tail on the y, and the lowercase p, for example) are not too long or curly – so if you have a line of text under that in a different font, those two lines don’t bump into each other. Like this:
Now if you move the sub head down far enough to clear the descenders, you end up with a gap that makes the two lines look really separate and visually not connected:
The other reason why I think Thirsty is easy to pair, is because the font from left to right when used in words is pretty lined up straight up and down (just slanted a bit).
And a final reason why I think Thirsty is easy to pair with other fonts is because the baseline is fairly straight, versus another script font, like Amelia Fine Script, for example:
These things are all important because when pairing fonts, you want them to be similar, but not too similar. Here’s the thing with mixing fonts:
It’s kind of like matching colors or patterns in clothing. You want some contrast, you also want them to look like they belong next to each other.
Thirsty Script, in the book design examples above, is paired with both serif and sans serif fonts, and even other textured fonts – so it’s really versatile to the preferences of the designer and the larger art direction of the book design as a whole.
Tips for using a script font (and mixing it with other fonts):
Try one that is more straight up and down – not too slanted.
Find a script font that has a relatively straight baseline, this will be easier to pair with other sans serif and serif fonts, as well as placing sub copy underneath it
Use a font that has shorter ascenders and descenders, this also makes integrating the font into an overall design, whether that is on a package or on a page, easier and look more cohesive. You will have less awkward gaps in the conversation of the lines of type.
Look at the “glyphs” within the font.
Glyphs are the alternative versions of the letters within the font. For script fonts, they are other options for curlicues and swirly things (flourishes) and will give you greater versatility when using the font. Some script fonts also have a “fancy” version and a plain version. Consider this before making a font purchase and play around with demo versions of the font (if available) to see if the script font will pair with your other fonts and work with your text.
Here’s a couple quick examples of fonts that are in the script family that also play well with other fonts:
Have you noticed Thirsty Script or Thirsty Rough showing up everywhere too? Or maybe there’s another font that has been catching your eye? Next time you see repeated fonts out there, take a moment to consider why they are so widely used and think about if you want to give them a try – or maybe deviate from the trend a bit.