Character-based vs. Object-based book cover: What type to choose?


Your manuscript is ready, and it’s time to start thinking about a stunning book cover. But it’s easy to get confused at this stage because there are so many types of design. However, we can divide all of them into character-based and object-based covers. Which one is better?

Today we want to tell you how to choose between character and object-based covers, considering certain features. Let’s get started!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of both types?

The good news is that character-based and object-based book covers are equally impressive and relevant. The advantage of one type over another primarily depends on the quality of the design. For the rest, the answer to the question ‘How to choose between character and object-based covers’ relies on your taste or specific goals to achieve.

For now, let’s dig a little deeper into the pros and cons of these types.  

Character-based book covers


  • They give a clear idea of what the character looks like according to the author’s plan.
  • If your character has an extraordinary appearance, it automatically makes your cover unique.
  • Faces attract readers’ attention and make covers more remarkable and recognizable.
  • Character-based design work great for merch items.


  • Character-based book covers do not convey the other ideas of the book well.
  • They limit the readers’ imagination.
  • This type can prevent readers from identifying with the characters.

Object-based book covers


  • They give great opportunities for the imagination of readers.
  • You can hide many additional symbols and secret meanings in items.
  • Object-based book covers are more versatile, especially for book series. After all, it is difficult to find images with the same character for all parts.
  • You can play with the book’s title in an unusual way and weave objects right into the words.


  • Low-quality and non-professional object-based cover design can make your book unnoticeable among competitors.
  • This type can create opposite ideas about the characters in different readers or readers and the author and cause contradictions.

Character-based vs. object-based covers in different genres

As we have already found out, both types have many advantages. However, there is a preference for one type over another in specific genres.

To understand what works best in your genre, try a simple trick: Go to the Amazon online bookstore, select your genre, and research what covers dominate the bestsellers there.

Conversely, we also did a little research and want to share its results with you.

What genres benefit from character-based book covers?

Romantic Fantasy

One of the key features of romantic fantasy is focusing on romantic relationships between a gorgeous lady and a brave man. So no wonder we often see a beautiful couple on the book cover.

Character-based book cover design by Getpremades

Young Adult

These are books in which the protagonists are under the age of 18. Teenagers enjoy seeing vivid characters on the book covers and associate themselves with those heroes. Young people tend to dress like their favorites, so it’s an excellent idea to give them a clear picture.

Character-based book cover design example


Romance is one of the most popular fiction genres. In the center of these stories, we always see a romantic couple who overcomes obstacles on the way to their love. And readers love watching the adventures of this couple, so it makes sense to see characters on the cover.

Character-based book cover design by Getpremades

Historical Novel

It tells about a specific historical personality or particular epoch. In this case, a character-based cover makes a book recognizable and helps the target audience to find what they are looking for.

Character-based book cover design example


Such stories provoke strong emotions, make us worry, and cause fear. The character-based book covers help us to read the true feelings on the heroes’ faces and evoke empathy.  This trick allows you to dive deeper into exciting events and sets the right mood.

Character-based book cover design example

What genres benefit from object-based book covers?

Epic Fantasy

This genre usually covers many events and characters, each of which has a vital role in the story. The main character is not the only one, and it is difficult to decide who to portray on the cover. The whole crowd is unlikely to get in. Therefore, the object-based book cover is the best choice.

Object-based book cover design by Getpremades

Cozy Mystery

It’s a subgenre of the mystery where violence often happens off-stage. The events occur in small towns, villages, or other cozy places. The tone is usually light, funny, and comforting. That’s why we typically see things associated with coziness on the book covers, such as soft blankets, comfortable armchairs, beautiful tea sets, and mouth-watering sweets. Moreover, the object-based design allows authors to hide some clues to the stories on the book covers.

Object-based book cover design example

Science Fiction

What will better depict the atmosphere of the future world and the technological process than state-of-the-art devices? At the same time, images of planets and spaceships emphasize the space theme best.

Object-based book cover design by Getpremades


The reader never fully knows who is who in a detective novel, so you should maintain this intrigue by avoiding the image of the characters on the cover. But mysterious objects make readers think and look for hidden meanings that help unravel secrets.

Object-based book cover design example


Such books don’t have characters at all in most cases. That’s why there is more sense in depicting some objects on the covers depending on the theme: Clocks for time management, food for recipes, plants for gardening, etc.

Object-based book cover design example


We learned more about the advantages and disadvantages of both types. For example, the character-based covers clearly show what the character looks like and work great for merch items. Object-based designs open opportunities for the imagination and can hide many secret meanings.

However, both options work great if they are professional and high-quality. If you hesitate about choosing the type, learn what works best for your genre. Thus, character-based covers are great for romantic fantasy, young adult stories, romances, historical novels, and thrillers. Object-based designs can be perfect for epic fantasy, cozy mystery, science fiction, detective, and non-fiction. In the end, it all depends on your tastes and desires.

Do you prefer character-based or object-based book covers, and why? Tell us in the comments.


Share the article:

Was this article helpful?

Releated articles

Romance Premade Book Cover Design: Specs, Process, Examples, and Challenges

As we wait for Valentine’s Day, why not talk about thematic book cover design? Moreover, we have something special for […]

Author success story. Interview with Katherine D. Graham

Would you like to know more about the writing routine and secrets of the successful indie writer? We know you […]

Ebook from Scratch: Key Elements and a Structure

Today, creating an ebook from scratch has become an accessible option for everyone. Whether you’re an aspiring author or a […]



Access is denied.