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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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. 😛

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  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.

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  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

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