An Image is Worth a Thousand Words! A Visual Discourse Analysis of Face Images on Front Book Covers

  • Songul ALMOSAWI University of Mosul
  • Huda HALAWACHY University of Mosul


Book cover is a complex collection of signs that can be decoded in a multidisciplinary approach. The current study comes as a perceptive account of signs which may help consumers to interpret messages in the chosen book covers images and meanings matching the book content. To our intuition, the most spectacular images are human face images which are sub- divided into real model face images and abstract character face images, animal face images, and compound images. Totally, we analyzed a blend of 10 images in various book covers adopting a visual discourse approach. Three assumptions are worth investigating: (1) the viewers could read basic fragments of the book body via the eyes in the images, (2) it is likely that book titles are in/directly related to the corresponding book covers images, and (3) animal face images in the compound image could connote more evilness about the content, and the sort of the book. Findings revealed that real model face images could decode more about the book than abstract characters images interpreting the publisher’s messages. In compound images, animal face features could connote evil messages more than humans. Eyes remain the most powerful feature reading the book cover.
Keywords: Visual Discourse Analysis; Sign; Human Face Image; Animal Face Image; Front Book Covers