Bookish Ramblings · Discussions

Illustrated Covers – Is the Trend Working?


A few weeks ago I was doing a “This or That” poll on my Instagram (I love those by the way) and I included an option about book covers.. It was between the classic abs (I think the one I used was the Elle kennedy Off Campus series one) and an illustrated cover; I honestly thought that the Illustrated cover was going to win… but it didn’t.


I found that surprising given the fact that half of the books now have Illustrated covers (Not just romances, even some Horror and Thrillers have them). The trend is in full swing… but is it really working? Is it grabbing the reader’s attention as it used to when just a few had them?

When this trend started it was refreshing and clever, I adored it actually.. Let’s face it it’s easier to fit what the characters look like and give some idea of what the book is going to be about with an illustration than finding a theme and real life models to do the same.


There were problems of course, because Illustrations can also be tricky.. They might mislead you into thinking of a light-hearted story line when it’s actually the opposite. That can make you feel cheated, even if the book turns out to be amazing… I have been there.

You need to know how to fit them with the book’s plot… like when you are using a creepy children’s drawing to depict a horror story… At least that’s my humble opinion.

But moving forward in time, even if you tick all the character look-alike and plot representation boxes with your Illustrated cover.. it simply isn’t new anymore. It’s just one more in a sea of them.. You might get lucky and find a typography that calls out to the reader or a combination of colors that catches the eye.. otherwise it’s a needle in a haystack.. There are just so many of them..

3b-bailey oct-7-sgrle_orig oct-4-knmty oct-26-feels oct-14-vltse

It’s what usually happens to bookish trends.. when they become a hit.. it needs to imitated. (Do you guys remember the bookish trend about cufflinks and jewels and a minimalistic aesthetic… Like with fifty shades of Grey or the Crossfire series?)


I get it, It’s business and you need to sell.. but it’s sad to see how something that was amazingly creative just fizzle out.

I wonder which is going to be the new trend? What do you guys think? Will Abs make a come back? Let me know in the comments below.. 

And If you want to help me keep on creating content and making you at least smile a bit with my quirky posts and ranty opinions just  visit my Ko-fi page or and support my work..

As Always

Happy Reading


3 thoughts on “Illustrated Covers – Is the Trend Working?

  1. You’re so right—every once in a while I see an illustrated cover that’s great, but when people make upcoming release collages and they’re all illustrated, it’s just a sea of sameness.


  2. I agree with Holly that you make a really good point that any magic illustrated covers had got diluted when they no longer stood out. And if I’m being honest with myself, I can say the same about abs and cufflinks. It must be really difficult to balance aligning your book with a current trend and making it look like a fresh new take.
    But I’m also disappointed that everyone has limited themselves to the same exact cartoony style, regardless of the content or tone of the actual book. Why aren’t there a couple different styles to choose from?
    Looking at the examples you chose side by side, I’m struck by how the characters are either crossing their arms or putting their hands on their hips. Some of them come across as awkward or sassy as a defense mechanism. At least with clinch covers, the characters put their arms to good use!

    Liked by 1 person

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