Faces on Book Covers: Love them or Hate them?

I could not resist writing a post about book covers, as I can be quite opinionated about them.

I do not buy books solely based on their covers, but I do believe that covers sway people to pick up a book that they know nothing about, of the shelf. It’s the first thing people see, so holds a degree of impicture003portance in my opinion.

There are always mixed opinions about book covers – it’s very subjective – and we all have our pet peeves. My personal pet peeve is people on book covers. I am not a big fan of models being used for covers. I don’t know what it is, but when a models’ face is used as the focal point for a cover, I find it really off-putting. I will always try and find another edition of the book which has a different cover, if I can.


The covers in the photos above and to the left are examples – these are definitely not the worse that I have seen, but are some examples that I had on my bookshelves.

It may be that models are used to put a face to the characters – although I think if the writing is good enough, you shouldn’t need this to visualise them. I often find myself thinking that the image on the cover looks nothing like how I  visualised the character. As I said, I have seen worse covers than the ones above, but most of the covers I see featuring models on the front – and I really don’t like to use this word – look kind of tacky to me.

However, sometimes a models’ face is used in such a way that the cover looks good. It’s often when there is more to the cover than just the face on it; when the facial image is used in a more creative way than just an image of the model taking up most of the space. The photo below shows some examples of this.

Proof that it can work, sometimes.

Stormdancer features a person on the front; however, between the use of only half of the face, the grayscale background of the mountains and the red flowers and title, a truly beautiful cover was created. A Breath of Frost  has a beautiful and clever design. It shows some creativity, I think. The We Were Liars cover is almost like a photo. With the image slightly out of focus and the sun shining, it is like a moment being captured.

I love the use of illustration and silhouettes! I think silhouettes create a bit of mystery and illustration like the kind used on FanGirl below, shows creativity and is just fun! I understand that it may not work for all covers, and that design work can be difficult (believe me I know as I have tried it myself) but surely there are ways to be more creative, right?

Illustration and silhouettes work better, in my opinion!

I’m curious: Is it just me? Do others dislike models being used on book covers? Feel free to tell me any pet peeves you have regarding covers.


11 thoughts on “Faces on Book Covers: Love them or Hate them?

  1. Oh, you are definitely not alone here, haha. I almost immediately turn away from books with faces/people on them at the bookstore if I’m looking for a casual new read. I’m okay with illustrations and stuff but if it doesn’t have ~humans~ on it, it’ll definitely stand for a better chance to be purchased by me. 😛


  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Tacky, or some word like it, is definitely what I would use to describe them. It usually puts me off.


  3. Faces instantly put me off a book. You hit the nail on the head. If your writing is good enough, you shouldn’t need a model on the front cover.
    Illustrations are fine, though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s