I don't know about you, but I always thought The Dog Days of Summer were those days when it's so hot, all the dogs are panting.
Well, the heat does make them, and most of us, pant. But that's not where the name comes from.
No, the term comes from ancient forecasters and astrologers who noticed the seasonal alignment of the Sun and Sirius (the Dog Star constellation). They believed the combination generated more heat and called the stretch between July 3 and August 11, The Dog Days of Summer.
My curiosity about The Dog Days of Summer started with the August edition of my Riddle Me Mail project. I was searching for a theme and decided to go with what I thought I knew about The Dog Days of Summer.
Connecting the Dots
So why do The Dog Days of Summer matter? They're a good example of how often we think we know something, but don't know the whole story.
How one thought leads to another, and how unexpected connections can generate new interest in a familiar topic.
What About Your Book?
What information could you share or clarify? Is there a backstory about your business or story people would find interesting?
Are there ways you might simplify your message?
Could you present it in a new format or context that would generate new interest?
If I can help, let me know.
I'm the first to admit to a little DIY plumbing. I've changed a washer on the bathroom faucet and replaced the hoses on the washing machine. But, when it comes to replacing the seal on the toilet or installing a new garbage disposal, I call the professionals.
DIY publishing and graphic design is easier than ever, and chances are, you publish a lot of your own content.
A critical element in content design, and one that's often misunderstood, is font choice. There are so many to choose from and it's tempting to use too many, or the wrong ones.
Here are some tips to choosing the right fonts that will help you attract and keep your reader's attention:
Display fonts are the fancy, decorative styles, and they should be used sparingly. Just a few words. Really. Maybe a headline. Well, maybe not. Definitely not for sentences or paragraphs. They are just too hard to read. Go easy on these. Too much of a good thing is, well, too much. I used a display font above ... for one number and two words. Just two. And it works. Any more than that and it becomes difficult to read.
These are the fonts that have little bits at the ends and tips of the letters; fonts like Times, Goudy, and Garamond. These are great for long passages of text, for books, and reports. They also add a warmer feel to your text. If you're writing a book, be sure to set the text in a serif font. It's easier to read and will look more professional. Not sure about that? Grab a few books from the bookshelf and see what style fonts are used.
These are straight-up fonts, no embellishment, no little bits at the ends or tips of the letters. Helvetica and Arial are common san serif fonts. You’ll see a lot of san serif fonts on the web. They can be easier to read online for blog posts and on your about page, but again, if you have a lot of text or long passages, consider a serif font. Something like Georgia is great for online reading.
Two things to remember.
1) Make it Easy to Read
Your text needs to be easy to read. If it’s not, people will abandon what you've written and your message will be lost.
- Use display fonts sparingly.
- Choose serif fonts for longer passages and a softer, more welcoming feel.
- Use sans serif fonts for shorter entries, technical writing, instructions, and headlines.
2) Use The Two Font Rule
What is the two font rule? Use only one or two fonts on any document or page. Sure, you can use the italic and bold features within the same font and you can combine it with a display font, but that’s it. Any more than that and you risk losing your reader. Too many fonts distract the eye and make it difficult to follow.
I'm here to help. If you're too busy to worry about font choice, send an email, or give me a call. I'd love to help out.
Nonfiction Book Development and Design
Legacy Books • Memoir • Corporate History