Top Ten Tuesday—Ten Book Cover Trends I Like/Dislike

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature of The Broke and the Bookish. A full list of instructions and future themes can be found here. This week’s theme is Ten Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers) I Like/Dislike.

Trends I Hate:

1. “Oh look, my head is missing!” I’ve seen some covers with just feet or legs that work, and I have no problem with just the upper body or the shoulders up. But why did chopping off the head, part of the face, or a good portion of the upper torso ever become a trend? Invincible Summer, by Hannah Moskowitz, is perhaps one of the creepiest examples of this trend, since it’s just a torso in a bikini.

2. On a similar token, a closeup on a mouth. Seriously, why? I had to laugh when someone at Goodreads pointed out that the cover of Katherine Longshore’s Gilt bears a creepy, uncanny resemblance to the cover of Madonna’s Erotica album. How will seeing someone’s mouth make me avid to read the book?

3. Crotch closeups. This should never have become a trend. The most horrifying example I’ve seen is Maureen Gibbon’s Swimming Sweet Arrow. Beyond vulgar and tacky, even for a book that apparently has lots of tawdry sex scenes. It should tell you something when even actual erotica doesn’t have crotch shots for covers!

4. The almost-kiss. Boring. I’m also old-fashioned and don’t like PDAs. I tend to look away in embarrassment when I see people kissing or making out in public. I like the traditional Jewish wedding custom of saving the first kiss for a private room after the ceremony, before the reception. Something so personal and private shouldn’t be on such public display. If I get married, I’m going to follow the Orthodox custom. The thought of kissing someone in public almost makes me break out in hives, making others privy to something that should be special and private between just two people.

5. A bare chest. Yeah, that’s original! Bonus points for unoriginality if he’s also missing a head or part of his face.

Trends I Like:

6. Actual artwork. Nothing against digital designs, but artwork is more old-fashioned and personal. Plus, it’s just what I’m used to, from reading mostly older books my whole life.

7. A good colour scheme. As an artist, that’s one of the first things I notice about a cover, how colour is used. Say, earth tones, blues and greens, purples and violets, yellows and oranges, off-white and grey.

8. An object or symbol important to the book. Say, a teacup, a fan, a palm tree, a basketball.

9. Artistic use of typography. Don’t just plaster your name and the title in some generic, overused typeface like Monotype Corsiva, Lucida Handwriting, Bleeding Cowboys, or Brush Script. Take the time to match it to the book’s content, and don’t just pick the first typeface you see which evokes that mood. For example, there are a lot of Gothic-style typefaces out there, in a wide range of styles.

10. Geometric shapes and patterns, or abstract/modern artwork. Fie on those who bash or discount all post-1900 art and artists out of hand! My favourite artists are Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Egon Schiele, and Albrecht Dürer, and the one pre-1900 fellow on my list, Dürer, would fit right into modern styles with his dark imaginings. It lets me use more imagination, and evokes moods you don’t often get with pictures of people or landscapes.


13 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday—Ten Book Cover Trends I Like/Dislike

  1. Oh I’m with you on the artistic typography. It’s especially bad amongst self-published books I think, but even some traditionally published books are lazy when it comes to typeface. And a good font can really make a book stand out in my opinon.


  2. Personally I dislike the trend of using ant parts of “beautiful’ people, period. They all end up looking the same and are intended to be suggestive rather than about the story. Ugh! I agree with your ‘likes’ as well. Let’s be more original and have our covers actually match the book.


  3. Pingback: Ten Book Cover Trends I Like | Brin's Book Blog

  4. I also hate book covers that only show a person’s torso. I just don’t get it. The bare chest as gets on my nerves. I’ll never agree to that!

    I would love to see more covers that look like art.


  5. Funny list! I don’t have a particular distaste for anything, as long as the cover is professionally designed. I find color seems to jump out at me the most. When bright, standout colors are used, it doesn’t really matter what the image is.


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