I was browsing through the new release section in my local bookstore, enjoying the nostalgia of the printed book, when my eye was caught by an historical novel called “The Siege Winter.” More specifically the cover design drew my attention, because it used one of our earliest fonts, Cymbeline. More particularly I was struck by the shortcomings of the font and by a glaring layout error in the cover design.
The font actually looked pretty good. It’s authentic medieval calligraphic character was enhanced by some of the rough areas of the outlines and structural inconsistencies. But it’s a sad commentary on the lack of attention to detail applied to book design at HarperCollins and other publishers, that such a glaring error on the cover could slip through. I know I’m picky, but it ought to stick out even to a casual observer. Take a look at the word “winter” and you’ll notice that the dot on the “i” is lower and father to the right than in the word “siege.” This probably resulted from laying the cover out on Photoshop and deciding to move the text up and to the right, and missing the dot on the “i”, and rushing it to press without really looking at it. Yes, I’m a pedant.
This kind of thing goes hand it hand with the lousy standards in proofreading these days. Publishers don’t have the money to hire recent college grads at slave wages to do scut work anymore, so a lot of errors slip through the cracks.
On the upside it drew my attention to the Cymbeline font which haven’t touched in about 10 years, and given me a reason to address some of its flaws and imperfections, especially in character size and weight, for a new release.