Busting Stereotypes In Book Cover Design

Writer’s Relief
4 min readNov 23, 2022

Examine a few books and you may notice some stereotypes or clichés in the cover design — but this isn’t necessarily a negative! Readers of certain genres expect to see specific elements represented in the book cover. And the cover design experts know that design ideas can become widely used (or imitated) when they look great and sell well. However, using too many cover clichés won’t help your self-published book stand out and grab the attention of potential buyers. Here’s how to recognize and bust out of book cover design stereotypes so your self-published book doesn’t get lost in a sea of similar covers on the virtual (or bookstore) shelf.

Clichés And Stereotypes In Book Cover Design

Flat Art Style: The high-contrast, lineless look of the flat art style is sweeping cover designs — especially in the romantic comedy genre. While this style is fun, eye-catching, and perfect for summer beach-reads, the limited stylistic choices of the flat style mean that many covers resemble each other. These book cover examples of flat art style show how the designers used dark sunglasses and red lipstick on the cover’s subject for contrast. While it’s an effective design choice, it results in many of the covers looking very similar.

If you want your art style cover design to stand out, consider trying one of these underutilized styles:

Headless Characters: The headless or faceless character is a common subject for book covers of any genre, but notably the historical fiction genre. This technique is designed for anonymity and allows almost any model to represent a character in the novel, whether they actually look like that character in real life or not. While this is an effective technique, it’s a bit overdone. Instead, you might use scenery on your book cover to represent your setting. Lush, sprawling landscapes or clean skylines make for gorgeous book covers.

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Writer’s Relief

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