Idiosyncratic Cover Art

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Epic fantasy, now in three designer colors!

This is where cover art is basically the same motif repeated over and over with slight variations within a franchise. Collectors probably love this stuff. Until the scheme is switched midway through publishing a series, anyway.

One popular variation is to have the covers of all the installments of a work form a larger picture when they're placed side by side in the correct order.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • When you put all of the boxes of the DVDs of .hack//SIGN together, you'll notice the first letters of each DVD title spell out "LOGOUT" (mirroring the title of the first disc, "LOGIN", making it a not-quite Recursive Acronym).
  • When all 42 volumes of the Dragon Ball manga are put together, the images on their spines form a huge mural.
    • Similarly, the VHS tapes form different pictures when placed side by side in order, one for each saga. They even had alternative pictures for the uncut tapes. The season sets on DVD do this as well when the slipcases are removed.
  • The English volumes of Darker Than Black work in much the same way (albeit with a much smaller mural), forming a picture of Hei's iconic mask
  • The spines of the Finnish volumes of Ranma ˝ form pictures, each taken from the cover art of some of the volumes. The last one cuts a bit short. When they accidentally misprinted one of the spines with wrong picture, they provided the correct picture on their website, so people could print it and glue it on top of the wrong one.
    • The original Japanese collected editions all had female Ranma's mugshot (in a variety of colors) at the top of the spine. Mainly comedic, romantic, or filler volumes would depict her with a whimsical or cute expression; volumes that were predominantly serious or action-oriented would instead give her a determined, or even fierce one. The final volume gave her a genuinely happy look.
  • The spine art of Fullmetal Alchemist is this; each volume features the basic metallic gray, red and white color scheme and a single character on the side of the tanokban. Thanks to the series' sizable lifespan it ended up showcasing practically every major character, and the Elric brothers more than once, due to significant visual changes.
  • In Nurarihyon No Mago, the covers for all volumes published so far form a large picture. See here for the first 13 volumes joined.
  • Every Assassination Classroom volume cover features Koro-sensei's face, the color and emotion varying across each one.

    Comic Books 
  • The Swedish Kalle Ankas Pocket (anthologies of Disney Mouse and Duck Comics, mainly Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse titles) in the 1990s had pieces of a portrait of a character on the spine, if you collected about 10 or so issues and put them together on a shelf, it formed the picture of a particular character. The earlier and the current ones seemed to have abandoned this motif, though. Maybe they ran out of characters.
    • They stopped doing the characters in the early 00s, and went on to using a large drawing with most Duckburg characters in it.
    • The German edition had it too, and so did the Finnish and Polish editions.
    • Spain and Brazil's "Literature Classics" collection.
  • The spines of the Sin City books published when the movie came out form a picture of Nancy when assembled.
  • Some older Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comics published by Archie featured 3-part mini-arc comics fairly often; each mini-arc's cover could be placed side-by-side, forming a large piece of artwork relevant to the story within. This also applied to every single issue of its Knuckles The Echidna spin-off.
  • The covers of The Walking Dead trade paperbacks all form one long mural of zombies when put next to each other.
  • The covers of the final Cerebus the Aardvark storyline from about #291 to 299 join together (with one duplicate) to form a 360 degree panorama (by background artist Gerhard) of the room in which Cerebus spends his final day.
  • The covers of the three Blackest Night tie-in issues of Tales of the Corps (issued during the first part of the saga), when put together, form one single image featuring the main member of each Corps in the emotional spectrum.
  • Variant covers for certain Brightest Day titles would form one image featuring the resurrected twelve as White Lanterns on thrones with the seven emotional entities, Nekron, and the Entity in the middle, as seen in the Brightest Day page.
  • The spines of the trade books making up the House of M and Decimation events for the X-Men create the logos for each arc when shelved correctly. Most book stores ignore this...
  • Speaking of X-Men covers, the first issue to the 90s X-Men series had four cover variants, which form a joint image of the X-Men battling Magneto.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic IDW:
  • IDW's prequel 24: Nightfall to the popular TV series had each of its "A" covers (and the "B" one for the final issue as well due to the miniseries being cut from six issues to five) styled so they could be put together to collectively form the 24 logo as well as feature a countdown clock that went from 23:00 all the way to 0:00.
  • Larry Welz's Cherry (Poptart) series is one of the few examples of a comic book that doesn't use the gimmicky "form a larger image" version of this trope. Under the title, main character Cherry is usually seen in a sexy outfit from the thighs up, facing the same direction (aiming to her right, toward the staples that hold the comic together), in vaguely the same "arched-back, one-knee-bent" pose, looking at the camera and addressing the viewer via word bubble. A miniature Cherry is usually seen on top of the title logo, and Mini-Cherry also says something to the viewer. Mini-Cherry is always under a marquee of sorts that also has some sort of pseudo-funny non sequitur.
  • The covers of the Super Family Crossover Millennium Giants fitted together to form a picture of the three Giants, to a scale that dwarfed the heroes, who appeared at "regular" size when you looked at the covers individually.
  • Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen had three sets of covers. The A Covers featured artwork of each of the four featured Doctors against a purple-to-blue background of circuitry, the B covers featured a photo of each of the Doctors against a similar blue-to-green background (both starting with a group shot to get five covers from four Doctors), and the C covers each showed a Cyberman from a different era against an orange background suggesting Gallifrey. In addition the backgrounds to each set of covers lined up to form one image (albeit one where all the Doctors appeared twice, in the A and B covers).

    Film 
  • There are several box sets of the Star Trek movies out that, when placed end to end, form a picture of the Enterprise (Constitution Refit). Later editions that include the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies show both ships.
  • The spines of one set of the James Bond films on DVD forms the 007 logo when the films are put in order.
  • One DVD set of the Rocky series. When the DVDs are put in order, the spines form the famous image of Rocky wearing the American flag.

    Literature 
  • As shown above, the latest edition of the first three The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant novels are clearly meant to go each other. When place next to one another, they form a complete illustration of the title character's white-gold wedding ring.
  • The Discworld books have several different covers:
    • The newest North American editions (also published in the UK, although the original Kirby/Kidby art is also still available) all have a black background with a single inanimate object artistically shown.
    • When I Shall Wear Midnight was published, Paul Kidby went back and made new covers for the previous Tiffany Aching books to match the ISWM cover. These versions all show Tiffany and an older witch in a circle of light, with black borders to the cover. The Shepherd's Crown then immediately breaks the pattern, showing Tiffany standing on her own (because she's no longer an apprentice) with the Chalk and Ramptops stretching out behind her.
    • In 2017 Kidby designed a new set of "gift edition" hardbacks of the Tiffany books with tinted cameos of Tiffany against a black background, with a sort of laurel wreath effect at the bottom (made of, respectively: fossils; herbs; snowflakes; fire; and bees).
  • One edition of The Chronicles of Narnia series, when the books are placed side by side, forms a picture of the castle.
  • Inheritance Cycle has a portrait of a dragon on each cover with one dominant color: blue for Eragon, red for Eldest, gold for Brisingr, and green for Inheritance.
  • Twilight and its sequels all had the same recognizable cover theme: a dark background with some image symbolic to the book's plot coming out of the darkness. Breaking Dawn was slightly different, but still within the same theme.
    • Plus the distinctive color scheme: black, white and red.
    • New Moon has the color scheme right, but the flower actually has nothing to do with the book, and Meyer has stated that she wanted it to be a clock.
  • The Symphony of Ages fantasy novels all have the same format of cover art: Raphsody's current True Companions are standing, viewed in profile, against a very pretty backdrop. One of them is holding a plot-relevant item in hand.
  • One edition of the four The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books (back when the trilogy only had four books) had each book showing one quarter of four different pictures: a towel with the words "Don't Panic", the Heart of Gold, a face and a fish. You could put the books together in four different ways to reassemble the four pictures. In addition, one particular arrangement of the spines would reveal the number 42.
  • The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices both have busts of the main characters over a city horizon. And shining covers, as does The Shadowhunter's Codex. Probably the third, upcoming installment, The Dark Artifices, will have it too.
  • Some editions of the World Book Encyclopedia form the title WORLD BOOK across the spines when the volumes are arranged in order.
  • Old British editions of Robin Hobb's novels all had fantasy art within an ornate borderwork, with the style of the border changing with each trilogy. Newer editions all have a single animal on a plain background (although one had a ship), similiar to...
  • New editions of A Song of Ice and Fire, both the American and British editions, have an animal or object on a plain background of a different color. The American rendition of the object tends to be a little more abstract, and the link to the story can be a little tenuous.
    • To elaborate on the American covers: A Clash of Kings has a crown and A Dance With Dragons has a dragon-motif shield which is logical, and A Game of Thrones has a sword which at least makes some sense, but A Storm of Swords just has a generic helmet and A Feast For Crows for some reason has a chalice.
  • The UK covers of Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy form a clock on the spine, hands at 12 o'clock.
  • Many of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels have the Star Wars logo written across—not down, like on most books, but across—the spine. Some have the titles written the same way; others don't. It's a bit inconsistent. Also, the Star Wars logo is always on the cover, usually at the top, sometimes in raised letters, with the book's Era emblem on a lower corner of the back.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel trilogy Millenium has a long shot of the station and wormholes (yes, plural) spanning across the three front covers.
  • Barbara Remington's wonderful painting that became the cover of Ballantine Books' paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings. What started as the cover for "The Hobbit" became a 38" x 73" long oil on masonite painting transitioning from the Shire to Mordor. The cover for each volume was 1/3 of the painting, and when you set the books next to each other you got the whole thing.
  • The first edition of Stephen King's novels Desperation and The Regulators had covers which formed a complete picture when laid next to each other. This tied in with the fact that the characters in each book were alternate-universe versions of each other.
  • The covers of the Magic Time novels all have a similar format: a portrait of one or more main characters, framed by a border colored black (on the hardcovers) or blue (on the paperbacks).
  • The Hunger Games trilogy features the iconic Mockingjay pin on the first book, a stationary, dark-colored version of the Mockingjay that is seemingly trapped in its circular frame on the second book, and a predominantly white Mockingjay in flight breaking out of its circular frame on the third. Bonus points for being a sequential representation of the plot.
  • Roger Elwood's 4-volume original science fiction anthology series Continuum, which featured several continuing story series, was published in Britain with four covers by the same artist, two of which consisted of a single painting split in two.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy was published in Britain in the 1970s with a 3-part joiner cover by Chris Foss.
  • A trilogy of X-Men and The Avengers novels titled "The Gamma Quest Trilogy" could be put together to form one full image of the two teams.
  • Probably the most celebrated example in Non-Fiction Literature is the O'Reilly Press series of programmer's references and tutorials. Each one features a woodcut-style portrait of some exotic animal. Often they are chosen as some oblique commentary or pun on the topic within, and many of the standout books in the series are somewhat reverentially referred to by the star of their cover. For instance, the de-facto standard of Perl is contained within the "Camel Book." (One of the oblique commentaries— camels are dirty, smelly, ugly, prone to spit, and incredibly robust laborers.) Similarly, the most widely regarded reference on Javascript is the "Rhino Book." (It features a Javan Rhino in particular— one of the puns, obviously).
  • The Disney Animated Canon Perspective Flip series A Tale of has the left half of the main character's face (each book has a different one) against a black background on each cover, with the twist that the dust jacket and the actual hard cover beneath it have them in different forms. For Fairest of All, it's the Queen on the jacket, the Old Peddler on the cover. For The Beast Within, it's the Beast on the jacket, the Prince on the cover.
  • The Incarnate Trilogy covers feature each particular book's Arc Symbol covering main character Ana's face like a masquerade mask: butterfly wings, flowers, and feathers, in that order.
  • The Bapton Books editions of the Village Tales series have this trait: cloth-look cover in an ecclesiastical color; rose-and-thistle cipher to one side of a line, six lions passant guardant to the other; central panel, approximately one-third of the cover, which doesn't spoil, doesn't lie, and consists of oblique, artistic, inanimate references, often heraldic or churchly, to characters, plot points, or themes; and a typeface – Roman, part-serif, and lapidary – very much akin to that used on the Cenotaph and other UK public buildings and monuments. In fact, in Evensong, which was published in two volumes and in one Doorstopper omnibus edition, the three covers are distinguished only by a banner stating which volume it is … in the same typeface, over a background of silk cloth in one of the colors of the Church year. That one in its format could almost be mistaken for the Church of England prayer-book at a distance. Which is sort of the point....
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Overall, the main English covers follow a certain design: a small boxed image of a major cat from the book with the background depicting an event from the book.
    • The alternate UK-exclusive English covers for the series often feature photographs of trees on the bottom with the eyes of a photographed cat above the title.
    • The Russian covers have a cover pattern that makes them look like leather books.
    • The German, Austrian, Finish, and several other European covers are similar to the alternate UK covers. They feature a photograph of a cat's face with art of cats on the bottom. The Slovenian covers have the same idea but use different photos and art.
    • The alternate German and Austrian covers feature a cat on a medallion.
    • The Simplified Chinese covers have a retraux look to them. The way they're coloured and the style of the cats looks like a cover for a mid-1900s book more than a 21st century one.
    • The alternate Japanese cover features a drawing of a cat on top with a white, silhouetted scene on the bottom half.
  • Seeker Bears covers are similar to Warrior Cats covers. They feature art of the bears in the background with a box featuring a close-up of an important bear in the center.
  • The famous original covers of the Animorphs series show a character morphing into an animal through a string of intermediate images, against a tinted cloud backdrop. The Animorph books almost always featured the narrating character on the cover and an animal featured in the book (the animal that was the end result of the morph always had cut overlayed from a graphic of the scene depicted in a book). They did like to play with this too. In five cases, the animal in question was not real (and in one case, the animal wasn't real within the universe, but the result of a temporary power boost allowing the character to morph into animals she could make up, the other four were aliens). With four unique morphs, humans were the most featured end result, each one was a unique individual (one human was an older version of the character). Although two books featured a Red-Tailed Hawk and human morphing, the first one (book #3) was human into hawk and the second one was hawk into (same individual) human (book #13). Finally, one book featured an animal that did not appear in the story (human to ant) but was important. In this case, the morph was only partially done to prove that the character could do it. The ant was never the less important as the character's Call-Back to the one time he did it for real and the trauma from the experience served as a metaphor for the plot of the book, making it significant to the story.
  • Gemma Doyle: The cover of each book of the trilogy is of a girl in Victorian clothes, as seen here.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Babylon 5 box sets (at least the UK versions) each have a big 5 logo on the spine with and end-on picture of the station in the crook of the 5, tinted a different colour on each volume. Unfortunately the overall effect is ruined by the Fourth Season version being too big and the Fifth Season misaligned.
  • The UK Red Dwarf DVD spines join up to form the show's logo. Two new series have aired since the original eight series were released; the first, Back to Earth, is mocked up to resemble a DVD case seen within the story, but the tenth series has a reversible cover allowing it to match up with the previous 8.
    • The VHS tapes for the remastered version of the first three series join together to form a single image. Quite cleverly this is integrated into each volumes cover art, which wraps around from the front to back cover. (Images, number 7 is based on the spines).
  • The Contender DVD box sets of The Avengers join up to form portraits of Steed and Mrs. Gale, Steed and Mrs. Peel in black and white, Steed and Mrs. Peel in colour, Steed and Tara King, and Steed, Purdy and Gambit.
  • Contender uses similar designs on its Lexx box sets (which unfortunately don't include Season 4).
  • The UK Star Trek: Deep Space Nine VHS tapes had a series of long thin images spread over their spines (each spine only had a square of the image), showing various space scenes relevant to each season. The last '90s release of the original Star Trek had quotes revealed when all the spines were put together as well.
  • The Sopranos VHS collection.
  • A series of Mystery Science Theater 3000 VHS tapes (Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments), when put together, show a photo of Mike and the Bots with text underneath lampshading this trope, reading "Isn't it neat that when you stack these tape boxes together you get this cool picture?"
  • Doctor Who had one in the first VHS release of "The E-Space Trilogy." One side of the box was the normal, small "Doctor Who" TVM logo with picture and story title, but the other side had a larger part of the logo.
  • MGM/UA did this with their box-sets of Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

    Magazines 
  • Putting together a full year of Maxim shows yet another scantily-clad model on the spines. This was lifted from British lad-magazine Loaded, who pioneered the concept.
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd's Nintendo Power episode, he noticed that a certain ten or twelve issues of the magazine put together revealed a picture of Mario on the spines. It matched up sorta, but was a little off, though.
    • Nintendo Power used to do that with every year until they switched to the new cover style a few years ago. For instance, the combined spine image for 2003 was Link sailing on the King of Red Lions.
  • Putting together a single year's worth of PC Gamer Magazine together in order will form an image (ranging from a larger version of their logo to an image from a hotly-anticipated game).
  • One TV Guide, focusing on Spongebob Squarepants' tenth anniversary, had four different covers that formed a complete image when arranged in a certain way.

    Music 
  • Be-Bop Deluxe: Six CDs where the spines spell out BE-BOP at the top and DELUXE at the bottom.
  • There's a Pink Floyd box set with repackaged CDs, whose spines when put together form the Dark Side of the Moon prism logo.
  • The remastered Marillion CDs from Script for a Jester's Tear to Afraid of Sunlight have letters on the spines which spell M-A-R-I-LL-I-O-N (eight albums, nine letters, so the two L's go on one spine)
  • The cover art for Nelly's Sweat / Suit albums can be placed side by side to form a picture.
  • Starflyer 59's Ghosts of the Future box set consists of 10 vinyl singles. When their sleeves are laid out in a 2x5 row, they form an abstract isometric picture.
  • Judas Priest and Iron Maiden have both released CD remasters which, when placed side by side, form a picture. In addition, the Priest set spells out the band's name.
    • As have Megadeth and Japan.
    • It should be pointed out this is a rather crafty marketing trick to sell live albums. Live After Death, A Real Live Dead One and Live At Donington are required to complete Iron Maiden's spine image, regardless of whether you want to listen to them or not.
  • Type O Negative album covers generally have a theme. On the front, the band's logo is in one corner, the album title in the diagonally opposite corner, usually no tracklist on back and the band's name and album title in large bold lettering in on the spine. Because the lettering on each spine is a different color, they look quite nice when lined up next to each other, Bloody Kisses, October Rust and World Coming Down being the best examples. Their only albums not to follow this pattern are the original release of The Origin Of The Feces, (the cover was redesigned to fit the tradition on its reissue) and The Best Of, which was released without their permission. Part of the reason the band were so annoyed with The Best Of is that they had no input with the cover.
  • Everything by Demon Hunter has a Textless Album Cover with some variation on the band's logo (a silhouette of a demon's head with bullet hole) rendered in a different "medium": a seal on the cover of a leather-bound book, an appropriately-shaped dead tree stump, rust on a metal gate, a cow's skull on a bed of roses, etc.
  • Almost all of Chicago's album covers feature the band's iconic logo in a different setting. The only exception is Hot Streets, which features a portrait of the band.
  • Thus far, all Days Of The New albums have been Self-Titled, and all of their covers feature depictions of the same dead tree in different settings. The exception is the Greatest Hits Album Definitive Collection, which opts for a photo of Travis Meeks sitting down with an acoustic guitar instead. The next album has been announced as Days of the New Presents Tree Colors, which breaks the self-titled pattern - given the title, that signature tree is probably not going anywhere though...
  • The covers for the five installments of Celldweller's Wish Upon a Blackstar can be pieced together to form a very wide image
  • All of Back Majesty's album's cover art feature a cloaked and masked figure accompanied by a lion (other than Sands of Time, where the lion is missing and the figure has a slightly different design).
  • Give 'Em The Boot, a series of budget-priced compilations released by Hellcat Records, has almost always used the same ink-stamp-like image of a stomping, booted foot in different colors as cover art. In fact, almost all of the covers are identical except for the color of the background and a different roman numeral for which number in the series it is. The first compilation is the only exception, as it used the Old English font found on all of the other albums, but over a black and white picture of skyscrapers in Los Angeles at night, which can be chalked up to Early Installment Weirdness.
  • The three official Silva Screen Records soundtracks to The Prisoner have "Be Seeing You" written across their spines.
  • Covers for The Birthday Massacre are purple and always include a rabbit on them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The spines of the core BattleTech rulebooks form a picture of a Timber Wolf and Rifleman IIC dishing out a lot of ordinance.
  • Identical cover layouts, complete with a franchise-wide "picture frame", have become more or less standard for roleplaying games and miniature wargames. Notable examples include every World of Darkness gameline put out by White Wolf.
  • Further on the subject of White Wolf, it was planned that, when most of the Changeling: The Dreaming books were put together in publication order, the spines would form a picture based on the covers to the three Immortal Eyes books (the exceptions being the kithbooks and later editions of the core); unfortunately, the line ended long before the picture was ever completed.
  • The covers to the three corebooks of Scion 1e (Hero, Demigod, God) all feature one of the signature characters solo with their right arm raised (holding a gun, lifting a hat, and raising a weapon respectively). 2e's Origins, as a new corebook, continues the tradition, this time with the character removing their glasses.
  • All of Wizards of the Coast's original trading card games were to have the brand name "Deckmaster" somewhere on the card backs. And they all did, until they were all discontinued except for Magic: The Gatheringwhich retains the now-meaningless text due to the requirement that all cards' backs be identical.
  • The second edition covers for Pandemic and its first two expansions join together. Same for the 'red' and 'blue' covers of Pandemic Legacy.
  • GURPS Fourth Edition books all show three to five images in interlocking right-angled shapes, often breaking the borders of each image. This presumably symbolises how GURPS allows all kinds of different settings, magic systems etc. to "fit together".

    Video Games 
  • Starting with Morrowind, every installment of The Elder Scrolls series has featured Minimalistic Cover Art showing an emblem of some sort from the Elder Scrolls universe as though it were printed on the cover of a book. Oblivion goes a bit further: the normal edition is printed in white, the collector's edition in brown, and the Game of the Year Edition in black.
  • The covers of the first four mainline Halo games all feature Master Chief staring at something with a gun in hand.
  • When StarCraft was first released, it came packaged in one of three different boxes, each depicting a unit from one of the three races in front and colored, and the other two units toward the side and grayed out. If you put the boxes side-by-side you could create a sort of infinite loop.
  • The first three releases in the Warcraft series (two games and an expansion) keep the theme of a close-up on a human and an orc staring each other down. Warcraft 3 broke from this trend by having four different editions, each featuring the face of a hero from each different faction. The expansion continued this trend, featuring a more recent picture of one such hero after his Evil Makeover.
  • Each game in the Star Wars: Battlefront series (except the mobile phone versions, because they don't count) has had some kind of soldier facing to the viewer's right and shooting. They also had combatants from opposing sides until Elite Squadron bucked the trend. Additionally, LucasArts games in general since 2006 have had bright yellow spine art.
  • Continuing the .hack example above, placing the cases for the first 4 games side by side reveals a picture of the main character riding a grunty along the bottom of the spines.
  • The cases for the PSP releases of the first two Star Ocean games could be put together to create who full image.
  • Grand Theft Auto III introduced what would become the standard cover-art for the series; the title in the center surrounded by a mosaic of tiles containing pictures of characters or objects from the game. (As well as some things that aren't in the game). With the exception of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, there's always a helicopter in the top-left panel.
  • The Japanese Mega Drive versions of the Sonic games all feature mostly white backgrounds with artwork of the main character(s), surrounded by various geometric shapes of basic colors (white, black, red, green, blue, and yellow). They also sometimes have English text (usually an inspirational quote and/or "The Most Famous Hedgehog In The World"). The JP boxarts for Mega CD's Sonic CD (as well as its PC release) and Sega Saturn's Compilation Re-release game Sonic Jam, as well as a few of the Sega Game Gear Sonic games, also use boxarts of this design nature. Somewhat subverted however with Sonic and Knuckles as that game's boxart goes for a more basic approach—it only features the "Sonic and Knuckles" insignia rather than character artwork, and makes use of only two colors (white and blue).
  • Every game in the Borderlands series shows a Psycho firing at least one Finger Gun into his head. Where blood spray would be shows a mural of an action shot.
  • Each version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters features a different Turtle as the cover character, with each one facing a different opponent from that particular version of the game on the foreground. The 8-bit NES version shows Leonardo fighting Hot Head, the Sega Genesis version shows Raphael fighting a Triceraton, and the Super NES version shows Donatello fighting Armagon. Since no fourth version of the game was made, Michelangelo was left out from the action.
  • The early first-party releases for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America (from the launch lineup on October 1985 and up to most of the 1987 releases) featured a minimalist packaging design that featured a black background with an artwork mimicking the in-game pixel art and the game's title written underneath in a standardized font just above the NES logo (some of them, namely arcade ports such as Donkey Kong and the original Mario Bros., had a silver stripe behind the title). This was done in response to complaints about misleading packaging art in many pre-NES games that led to false expectations regarding the game's content, as Nintendo wanted to make sure to the customers that what they saw on the box is what they got. Nintendo later switched to more traditional illustrations (and occasional photographs) in subsequent releases.
    • The Japanese equivalent of this would be the Famicom Pulse Line cartridges which looked even more minimalist. The design would have the English title in the pulse line, and the Japanese title above it. But each of these cartridges would have a different color scheme. Like with the NES, this would only be on the early first party releases and Nintendo switched to more traditional illustrations in subsequent games.
  • Also applies to the covers of disks: New Super Mario Bros. Wii has the game's four playable characters arranged in the same way as the buttons of the Super Famicom, and Xenoblade puts the hole of the center of the disk on the Monado, to name a few. (Some other games take a approach, though.)
  • The cover art of the soundtrack album for Portal Stories: Mel has two different colours. The blue cover is used for the tracks that the player hears while on an excursion funnel.
  • The spines of the PSP Ys games forms the Ys logo when put together.
  • All covers of the core Dragon Age series prominently feature a dragon on them, although on the Dragon Age: Inquisition cover, its shape is formed very subtly in the negative space in the midst of a cloud of demons descending from the sky. Also, until Inquisition, all covers featured a lot of blood, even on the Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening cover that didn't have a dragon on it.
  • For a long time, main Final Fantasy entries had blank white covers with the title in the series' signature font, backed by a colourful Yoshitaka Amano-inked logo. This was mostly the case in Japan and Europe, with American covers often featuring full CG art instead of the white background, but this practice has seeped over to Europe starting with XIII and many spinoffs have been non-standard too. The logo style is consistant, though, with spinoff franchises (such as Tactics) even having their own font variations. It's worth noting that the very earliest titles (such as FFIII, for example), which didn't even make it to Europe, had completely different stylised logos in different regions, but they've since been ported or remade with the standard look. The wiki has an exhaustive article on the subject.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IdiosyncraticCoverArt