Here's an interesting article about face shapes in Disney
. Of those samples, it's clear that males have more diversity than females, but females have more diversity than is being recognized.
Joy and Elsa have a heart-shaped face: wider at the top, with a pointed chin, and a point of hair that sticks down in the center of the forehead. Disgust and Merida have round faces. Sadness has a pear shape, wider at the bottom than at the top, pretty rare. Vanellope has a square face, look how flat it is on the bottom.
If you are an artist or a writer, you can avoid the cookie cutter effect by thinking about infrastructure. One way to do this is to use reference photos. I've been working my way through a splendid lineup of Olympic athletes
. When writing outside your own race/culture, using a sample photo -- especially of someone who seems "like" your character in some ways -- can help create a look that is well put-together and makes sense. Another option is to make model sheets, like these from classic Elfquest
. This is ideal if you're creating a batch of characters all together, like the members of a team: you want them to contrast so they're easy to tell apart. When designing a character, you may consult charts of body shape (male
), face shape
, noses and lips
. Understand that certain features appear more or less often based on ethnic group
, but populations have mingled a lot
, so don't be afraid to mix and match. Also for nonbinary sex/gender identity, either minimize strong sexual clues (very long or very short hair, pronounced angular or curved lines) or combine ones from both polarities.