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Minimalistic Cover Art
The cover to Tri Repetae. No, really.

"It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."
Nigel Tufnel on the revised album cover of Smell the Glove, This Is Spinal Tap.

Some people think abstraction is enough to sell.

Sometimes the best way to make something stand out... is to make it not stand out. Amongst a shelf full of angry pink balls, floating heads, scantily clad women and outright lies, some classy minimalism can work wonders.

In music, the first really popular record with such a sleeve was The Beatles' eponymous 1968 album known as "The White Album", but the mainstreaming of the minimalist design style from the 1980s onward is mostly the fault of Peter Saville's work for Factory Records in the 1970s and 1980s, which set the design tone for Post-Punk and much of the eighties (and aughties). He did sleeves for a lot of mainstream bands (e.g. Wham!, Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Ultravox), but Factory let him do anything he wanted on international hit records by New Order.

At least one of the things below apply to such covers:
  • Complete absence of everything sans the background: Self Explanatory.
  • Solid color, simple gradient or just generally unsophisticated backgrounds. Alternatively, a closeup of a material used as a background.
  • Single Object Focus, considering the said object exists.
  • Lots of empty space for the covers that have something besides the background. Alternatively, the cover would even have an action-packed part that cover only the - say - 5% of it.
  • Minimal use (or complete lack) of text.
  • Any form of literarist art will do as well.

Minimalism was pretty much the art style of the aughties, that is, whenever people weren't abusing neoclassicism.

Contrast Detail-Hogging Cover and Design Student's Orgasm, which go for the opposite strategy.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Music 
  • The Beatles' eponymous white album.
    • Metallica's eponymous black album.
    • The Artist Formerly Known As The Love Symbol Formerly Known As Prince's Black Album.
    • John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band's Live Peace in Toronto 1969 has a picture of a blue sky with a few clouds.
    • The cover of Benjamin Britten's recording of his War Requiem just has white text on an all-black background.
    • As well as Peter Hammill's A Black Box
    • Buckethead's DCK.
    • Back in Black.
    • So Far by Faust.
    • The censored version of Smell the Glove by Spinal Tap is the mother of all black sleeves. (Metallica said they were inspired by it for their album)
    • The Songs : Ohia album Ghost Tropic has just the album title on a black background.
    • Danger Mouse's ''The Grey Album'' is here to balance it out. Especially when it incidentally happens to have sampled The Beatles' White Album, mixed with the vocals of Black Album of... Jay-Z's. Whose black album was less fitting for this trope.
    • Comedy duo Martin/Molloy released an album titled The Brown Album (a parody of The White Album) that had, you guessed it, a completely brown cover.
    • Primus also have a Brown Album.
    • Gumby tribute anthology, officially titled "Gumby" but basically The Green Album.
  • Peter Saville's first big splash was Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division. That being early work, he actually put the band and album name on the sleeve (in small print on the back).
    • He quickly grew out of this, of course. New Order's first big hit single, "Blue Monday," had the band and song names only as a colour code. The accompanying album, Power, Corruption and Lies, only had the catalogue number, FACT-75, on the cover - as text on the spine and, of course, colour code.
    • The cover of New Order's Brotherhood is a a photo of zinc-titanium alloy.
    • Saville pushed design well beyond reasonable limits. The die-cut cover for "Blue Monday", meant to resemble a floppy disk, was much more expensive to produce than a standard cover and reputedly lost money on every copy sold ... this became problematic when it turned out to be a hit.
    • He also caused many (quite financially important) New Order releases to be delayed because he took so long to come up with the perfect sleeve. He would be so late they would say "just get it to the printer!" - without the label or band even seeing it.
    • The sandpaper sleeve of the first pressing of The Return of the Durutti Column was not Saville, but Tony Wilson, the head of Factory. Now you know what level of freedom Saville had there.
  • The front cover art of most of The Young Gods' releases are mostly just the band's name engraved on a different background. Their Only Heaven is an even straighter example.
  • This trope (or at least one variant of it) would be alternatively be called The Designed Republic, after the late graphic design studio who tended to produce covers like these.
    • The cover art they did for Autechre deserves mention. The one pictured comes from their Tri Repetae. And yes, that cover does completely look like that.
    • Quaristice.Quadrange.ep.ae apparently seems like a Shout-Out to Kazimir Malevich's Black Square, don't you think?
  • Trent Reznor apparently loves these. Special mention goes to the Rob Sheridan-designed ones.
  • Starflyer 59 has played with this to various degrees.
    • Four of their albums had solid monochromatic covers, with no text: Silver, Gold, Americana (red cover), and I Am the Portuguese Blues (metallic blue cover). The Everybody Makes Mistakes cover was yellow, with small text running along the left margin, and a large 9 as a false watermark.
    • The album Dial M doesn't count, but covers of associated releases—the single "The Brightest of the Head", and the Minor Keys EP—just feature blocky white and red text on a black background.
    • Side project: The Right Amount by Bon Voyage was a light bulb against a black background. The only text was on a removable sticker.
  • Joy Electric's The White Songbook, Hello Mannequin and The Ministry of Archers.
  • Speaking of Starflyer 59 and Joy Electric, their collaborative album The Brothers Martin just had a simple line drawing diagram of Earth's magnetic poles as the cover.
  • Alternative rap group Giant Robot released an album entitled 33 rpm Robotics. The cover? An up-close photo of cardboard.
  • Few of Yes albums are this.
    • Close to the Edge made up for its minimalist exterior by having a Roger Dean painting on the inside of the gatefold.
  • Do you know Squarepusher?. The guy was incidentally signed to the record label The Designers Republic themselves were somewhat involved on, noneless.
  • Cover of Justice's (the French electronica duo) debut album Cross consists solely of the glowing cross on a black background.
  • Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.
    • The Wall, Meddle, and Atom Heart Mother too.
  • Aphex Twin and his 26 Mixes for Cash.
    • The cover of the second print of his Come to Daddy is just the white "An image of children chasing after an ice-cream from an Orange? TV commercial advertising Text messaging." text on an orange background. Again, The Designers Republic did it.
    • And Chosen Lords.
    • Selected Ambient Works 85-92 is just the logo, artist, and album name. Richard D. James Album may also qualify.
  • Among some of Swans' stuff, there's their eponymous EP.
    • Not counting the band name and album title labels, their Filth don't feature much besides the angry teeth on a black background.
    • Their Love Will Tear Us Apart EP has an all-red cover with text only on top and bottom of it.
  • Coldplay's X&Y, (plus every single from that album) as well as their only (so far) compilation album.
  • Every LFO album has a pretty abstract cover, with Sheath being the most fitting to the trope.
  • Orbital's album Middle of Nowhere has a cover consisting of a big "O" and a walking man, with a very small text accompanying some versions of it.
  • One edition of Mindless Self Indulgence's If.
  • The Church and their Untitled #23
  • One prerequisite for this trope has been subverted with Explosions In The Sky's The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place which cover consists of nothing BUT the album's name written all over and over it (with the band's name written in one place with a red outline) on a white background.
    • In Rainbows does the similar "write the titles all over it" thing, with the fancy explosion in the background.
    • XTC's Go 2 is another album which the front cover consists of a block of text. The text contains a humorous diatribe on album covers
  • AFI's Sing The Sorrow, especially the U.S. tour edition cover.
  • The Pet Shop Boys' albums Introspective, Very, and Bilingual.
  • Talking Heads' Talking Heads: 77, Fear of Music, and Brick.
  • Italian group Elio e le Storie Tese's album Cicciput.
  • Russian rock group Kino and their Black Album, released after their lead singer Viktor Tsoi passed away.
    • Also, their Blood Type (for abstract art) and A Star Called The Sun (for single object focus/simple black background)
  • Both of the two (so far) Hard-Fi albums. The cover for their second album Once Upon a Time in the West (as well as the covers for all three singles from the album...and the cover of the promo CD for the first single) goes even so far as to hang a lampshade on itself.
  • Portishead's Third.
  • Funkstörung's Appendix.
  • Radiohead's Amnesiac, even better if you have the limited edition, which is the red book pictured on a front cover of its standard CD release.
  • The censored cover of Tool's Undertow is mainly a one big barcode.
    • The uncensored cover counts as well, depicting only a ribcage.
  • The cover of Pinebender's Too good to be true is mainly a blue grid paper so you can draw your own cover art on it. The album's first pressing even included a pencil into its jewel case.
    • BECK's The Information does the same, except that it comes with stickers (perhaps you could always get your own pencil if that wasn't enough).
  • Public Image Ltd.'s Album. Or Cassette. Or Compact Disc, depending on the format.
    • The band Flipper called PiL out when they felt the latter ripped off the former's similarly minimal artwork for Album - Generic Flipper. Which is ironic considering that the cover of the Flipper album is strangely reminiscent of Gang of Four's untitled EP, commonly known as Yellow EP.
      • If anything, the PiL cover is an homage to Repo Man.
  • Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols is pretty much just the title on a yellow background, nothing else.
  • All the three Soviettes albums.
  • The Chicago Transit Authority.
  • Some of Low albums kinda fit.
  • Slowdive's Pygmalion.
  • So far, both two albums by The Field.
  • Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, although there's a little more to it because it's an optical illusion. When the band made a musical appearance on The Late Show, David Letterman held up their record and joked that it was available "in wallpaper stores everywhere."
    • May I note that Animal Collective's albums Strawberry Jam, and Hollinndagain, the EP's Prospect Hummer, and Fall Be Kind, and the single Summertime Clothes were all also textless.
  • Adlib's MCD.
  • No Line on the Horizon.
  • The Modernist Editions, a series that takes covers of classic albums, like The Beatles' Abbey Road or Pink Floyd's The Wall, and distills them down to a black-and-white pictogram.
  • Brakes - ''Give Blood''
  • Shinedown's "The Sound of Madness."
  • The Hush Sound's first album, ''So Sudden''
  • Rush's Hold Your Fire. Also, their self-titled debut, 2112, and Counterparts.
  • Susumu Yokotas album Grinning Cat. See it here
  • John Zorn's I.A.O.
  • Coil and their Time Machines.
  • Steely Dan's Aja.
  • Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut, with the famous image of the Hindenburg explosion. Also, Coda.
  • The Police's Ghost in the Machine.
  • Death In June and their The World That Summer, Brown Book and Alarm Agents
  • Devendra Banhart's Nino Rojo
  • Throbbing Gristle and their The Second Annual Report
  • Einstürzende Neubauten, as well as their Fünf auf der nach oben offenen Richterskala
  • Few Groove Armada albums are this, especially Black Light.
  • EP001, the debut EP of Dhani Harrison's (George Harrison's son) thenewno2 project.
  • Every release from experimental drone band Growing to date have not had any text on the artwork, whatsoever.
  • The Boredoms' release "Vision Creation Newsun" consists solely of a picture of a young child in front of a sun glare. The limited edition box set of the album had artwork that consisted of nothing but simple vector shapes.
  • The Secret Machines have released several albums with minimal artwork, notably September 000, which is simply a blue circle on a white background, with black text of the band name in the lower corner. The iTunes release of the album did not have the black text, leaving the artwork simply as the large blue circle.
  • Brian Eno seems to be a fan of this trope as well, with his Music for Films being the most minimalistic.
  • German krautrock duo Cluster also have a few albums like this, notable among which is Grosses Wasser. And let's not even mention their collaborations with Eno himself.
  • Speaking of, mentioning a King Crimson member seems more appropriate if you consider every single album they've made in 1980-2000. And before that, we had Starless and Bible Black (no relation).
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico as well as White Light/White Heat
  • Venetian Snares had printf("shiver in eternal darkness/n");
  • Both releases of Eminem's Infinite.
  • Todd Rundgren’s Faithful came in a plain, beige cover with just the album title and Todd’s name in lowercase letters across the top.
  • The cover for the XX's self-titled debut album appears to be a white "x" on black background. Actually it's die-cut and the CD booklet is white. Second album Coexist does the same thing with an inverted color scheme, though there's a rainbow streak like you sometimes see in oil slicks going up part of the "X". All of their singles so have also followed suit, with different patterns on the booklets.
  • Sparks' Lil' Beethoven.
  • Dr. Dre's 2001.
  • Several Wizard Rock albums have these, starting with Harry and the Potters first, self-titled album: the 2007 EP of the Month Club albums, specially Voldemort's ''Evil is Sexy'' and Roonil Wazlib's ''Putting Fluffy to Sleep'', ''OMG It's Catchlove'', ''VII'' by Creevey Crisis, Gred and Forge's first album, and The Butterbeer Experience's ''Love Will Prevail: Songs from The Final Battle''.
    • Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls' full set of House EPs would have been this, had it been completed. Sadly, we only got the Slytherin EP.
  • Röyksopp's Senior, contrasting the approach taken from their previous album, Junior.
  • Frank Zappa's Fillmore East June 1971, which is about as cheap-looking as you can get.
  • Junior Boys's Begone Dull Care fits.... [1]
  • Live At Leeds by The Who.
  • Works Volumes 1 and 2 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
  • Limp Bizkit's Greatest Hitz, quite unusual considering everything else they have done.
    Fred Durst: I wanted it to stand out on the shelf and I did not want it to look like every other metal band record.
  • Soulwax- their newer album covers will hurt your eyes and make you scratch your head... until you see the hidden text.
  • Arctic Monkeys' Suck It And See.
  • The Dire Straits album Making Movies.
  • This is an album by The Black Keys. The name of this album is Brothers.
  • Master Of Reality by Black Sabbath.
  • After The Rolling Stones' label rejected their original cover for Beggars Banquet (which featured Bathroom Stall Graffiti), they substituted a plain white cover, done up as a mock "R.S.V.P." invitation card. (When the album was reissued on CD in the '80s, the graffiti cover was used instead.)
  • Spiritualized has several minimalist covers, but Sweet Heart, Sweet Light takes the cake: A white background, a green, octagonal outline, and the blue sans-serif text, "Huh?". Frontman Jason Pierce designed the cover, partly because he wanted something that would still look good when shrunk down to a 100 pixel thumbnail, and partly because Huh? was what he originally wanted to name the album.
  • Green Day's American Idiot cover is supposed to invoke this. It may not be completely minimalistic, but compared to earlier albums such as Dookie and Insomniac, it counts.
    • Kerplunk also.
  • Boys & Girls by Alabama Shakes.
  • Lupe Fiasco's ''Food and Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album pt. 1" takes this Up to Eleven. It's album is completely black. No, not just the front cover. The entire album. The cover of his "Friend of the People" mix-tape also counts having just the word "JESUS" in solid white letters on a black background.
  • "Real To Real Cacophony" by Simple Minds. Though apparently, the original release was thermographic.
  • Bush's Golden State - originally there was going to be a slightly less minimal cover featuring the silhouette of an airplane, but that started seeming Too Soon by its release date of October 2001.
  • Avenged Sevenfold's self-titled album.
  • The eponymous first album by the krautrock band Neu.
  • Kraftwerk's second album: a green/white traffic cone with "Kraftwerk 2" in stencilled letters.
  • Silkworm's Italian Platinum: the band name and album title in small print and all lowercase letters over a white background, with two lines of barely visible light blue asterisks above and below the text. The album's All Music Guide review speculates that it's supposed to look like the cover page to "someone's 10th-grade English paper".
  • Franz Ferdinand initially planned to take this Up to Eleven. Both their self-titled debut and You Could Have It So Much Better apply, but originally all of the albums were to be self-titled.
    Alex Kapranos: "The whole point is that the album doesn’t have a title.... The albums are going to be identified by their colour schemes rather than a title."
  • Yeezus by Kanye West doesn't even have a proper cover. In physical form, there is just a piece of red tape sealing it, with a plain CD, and a text-only tracklist on the back. The official representation of it pretty much reflects the same thing.
  • Sigur Rós' album (), also known as Untitled, is all white with the parentheses in a slightly less glossy white.
  • Every album so far by The Field. From Here We Go Sublime, Yesterday And Today and Looping State Of Mind look almost exactly alike, with the band name, album title, and a tiny logo for the record label printed in a handwriting-like font over a plain off-white background - the only differences between albums are that the text is in different colors, and the background is a slightly different shade of off-white. Cupid's Head switches things up but is if anything more minimal, since the same font is used, but it's black text on a black cover... Although digital versions of Cupid's Head use an alternate cover where it's white text on a black background, so it's at least easier to read as a thumbnail image.
  • L'Appel du Vide by Life In Yellow. Black text on a slightly off-black background…and none of which is yellow.
  • The artwork of Digitalism's second album, I Love You, Dude, is just a black, heart-shaped octagon on a white background with the band and album name in simple text on the top left.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Studio Ghibli's much-awaited Blu-ray releases all come in monochrome cases, a single colour background with the title and a silhouette of the main character in white.
  • The JP Blu-ray releases for Rebuild of Evangelion are a plain single colour, with the title on the front in black text.
  • Funimation's covers for almost anything Dragon Ball just have the character standing there with a cool pose and a one color background.
  • Ansatsu Kyoushitsu: The volume cover art is usually nothing more than two solid colors and Koro-sensei's smiling face. Special mention goes to Volume 5, which resembles Koro-sensei's poker face: a blank cover and the ._. emote.
  • Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service has covers in brown and one other color, a dramatic difference from most manga covers.
  • Drawn & Quarterly's translations of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's one-shot collections have fairly minimalistic cover art.
  • Sailor Moon's 11th manga volume has just a picture of Chibi Chibi and the logo, with the author's name, plus 11 in the corner. Link.

    Comic Books 
  • Some collected editions of Watchmen only have the smiley face on the cover.
    • Some have an extreme close up on it that shows only part of one eye.
  • Variation: In some versions of Final Crisis issues, anything that isn't text covers only a 1/3 of the front cover.
    • And the collected edition has a black-and-red cover of Superman holding Batman. While not as minimalist as other examples, it's certainly minimalist compared to other Crisis covers.
  • The all-black cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #36 (#477), save for the Marvel Comics header and the logo. This issue is the 9/11 tribute issue.
  • The all-white cover for Zero Hour #0 (1994), which implies that the DC Universe was already erased at that point.
  • Back in 1968, this Steranko Nick Fury cover was considered almost too minimalist to publish— Stan Lee couldn't fathom publishing a cover that was black and white, and so insisted that Steranko color the title and Fury.
  • Superman Vol 2, #100 had an almost entirely white cover, except for the title logo, the S-shield reflected in a broken pair of glasses and the legend "The Death of Clark Kent!" Action Comics #720 duplicated this, only the S-shield was reflected in an abandoned diamond ring, and the legend was "The Engagement Is Off!"
  • DC had a horror anthology title in the 80s called Wasteland. Due to one error or another, issue #5 was published with issue #6's cover. When the real #6 came out, it was numbered "the real number six", and the cover, apart from framing elements, was pure white. For a horror comic, it worked quite well.
  • The new hardcover editions of some Sin City yarns went for this, with just close ups of their protagonists. However, given the Sin City art style and design, it fits perfectly.
  • The new Rice Boy hardcover edition is going to look like this, hiding the colorful surrealistic art inside.
  • The Judge Dredd Case Files, a series of trade paperbacks collecting the entire thirty five plus year run of the series, have covers that are half solid colour, half black with a logo, plain text title and an image of the Judge himself. In the earlier editions, the image of Dredd was black and white which enhanced the effect. This style has since been carried over to other 2000AD complete collections, including Strontium Dog and Nemesis the Warlock.
  • MAD parodied this more than a few times.
  • The cover art of Seconds is just a close up of Katie's face.

    Film - Animated 
  • During The Renaissance Age of Animation, Disney produced two kinds of posters for each movie: one that attracted children with brightly-colored pictures of cute characters, and one enticed adults with silhouettes of the heroes and prestigious-sounding taglines. As one example, compare the page image of The Little Mermaid to this.

    Film - Live Action 

    Literature 
  • The UK/Aus/NZ editions of the Gone books give them a much more foreboding feel. The image doesn't even do it justice: the author's name is only visible because of its gloss on an otherwise matte cover.
  • The covers of the second and third Twilight novels are black backgrounds with the title and some random object that may or may not relate to the plot. (A flower and a ribbon, respectively.)
    • And given Twilight's success, every other YA fantasy novel cover these days has a similar design.
    • The torn ribbon may be interpreted to symbolize the tear between Bella's vampire boyfriend and family and her "werewolf" friends, who are enemies. However, Meyer has stated she had no control over the flower cover, and it has no relevance.
    • The first one's less minimalistic, since it shows its random object on a black background (an apple; I don't know what apples have to do with the plot, but What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic??) being held in a pair of disembodied hands. But it still probably counts.
  • Many, many old (and other hardcover) books are like this, with just a title printed on the spine. Of course some of those could be because the book jacket is missing. It can also be because the original paperback cover fell off and got lost, and the book was rebound in hardcover in a library.
  • Faber & Faber's poetry books are often this (example).
  • Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon and Against the Day, released in 1997 and 2006, respectively.
  • The first edition of Richard Bachman's Thinner
  • Not counting the mylar cover it was packaged in, Madonna's book Sex just has the title in tiny, raised letters on a blank cover.
  • A few of Cormac McCarthy's books.
  • The UK/Ireland editions of the Wheel of Time books all have plain black covers bearing the author's name, title of the book, and a line drawing of the Wheel and an ouroboros. These are considerably more popular than the horrid and nonsensical American covers.
  • The English-language paperback editions of the Haruhi Suzumiya novels feature a plain red cover with an understated title and a small, easily-overlooked silhouette of Haruhi. The hardcovers, however, bear the original Japanese art, probably on the grounds that anybody buying the hardcover is already a die-hard fan.
  • Corgi's new, "classy" covers of Discworld novels, especially the early ones. A mostly black cover, with Terry Pratchett's name at the top, the title half-way down and a grey image with gold highlights in the lower half. Compare the two covers of The Colour of Magic.
  • Plentiful of Chuck Palahniuk's work had this on their first (and many later in some cases) editions, especially Lullaby and Diary.
  • The Catcher in the Rye. White cover, black text, flat rainbow-colored stripes in one corner. Many of Salinger's books can be found with that same pattern.
  • Some of France's publishing houses use minimalist covers for their most prestigious collections. See for instance the nrf or les Editions de Minuit.
  • The cover for Push by Sapphire is just the title of the book on a red background.
  • Incompetence and Fat by Rob Grant have similar covers: A black background with the book's title and a parody of a warning sign (Incompetence has a "no IQ" sign, while Fat has the symbol for men's and women's bathrooms with the man symbol depicted as overweight).
  • The m/m crime thriller series Cut & Run by Abigail Roux is definitely an example of Single Object Focus; typically a single item (a balloon animal, a voodoo doll, a pair of handcuffs) and at most two items (a compass and anchor) are featured against a solid white background and simple black font for the writer's name.
    • Similarly, the Spin-Off series, A Sidewinder Story, does much the same thing (featuring a four-leaf clover or a Celtic cross) with the exception that the background is a single textured/stylized color instead of white.
  • The historical fiction story Arcadia by Tom Stoppard counts too.
  • Plenty of books in recent years that feature the "exploding flower" motif are this: Lucie Whitehouse's Before We Met, and Liane Moriarty's The Husband's Secret being two examples.
  • Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.
  • The Lovely Bones too. Blue cover, white title, no-fuss-no-muss author's name, and a single floating bracelet with a teeny tiny house pendant on it.

    Live Action TV 

    New Media 
  • The Goons have once launched a photoshop contest on "classy" literature-influenced covers for various modern Video Games. Some of the entries kinda fit for this trope. Here's the now fourth edition of it.
  • This VGBoxArt entry managed to spoof this.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Hero System 4th Edition cover was four-color comic book action with art done by notable comic-book artist George Perez. By fifth edition, Hero Games couldn't afford that sort of thing anymore. So fifth edition is black on black, with only the Hero Games logo on the cover.
    • Now that they have all that MMO license money Hero Games could afford to do that sort of thing again, but chose instead to again go minimalist with a Yellow logo on a Blue background for the 6th Edition cover.
  • Cards Against Humanity has this not just on the cover, but on the cards as well. Everything is either black Helvetica on a white background or white Helvetica on a black background.

    Video Games 
  • Almost the entire North American and PAL Sega Master System library. This however, was more due to Sega thinking that if a game came from the arcades people would immediately buy the game, no matter how minimal the box art is.
  • The Designers Republic were involved with earlier Wipeout installments. It shows especially well in case of the third game and its Updated Re-release.
  • The later The Elder Scrolls installments, starting with Morrowind. Each one just depicts a symbol with the title on it, placed on what looks like the cover of a leather-bound book.
  • Just about every Quake installment sans Quake Wars. The jewel cases for the first one sometimes go as far as to feature just a game's (and id software's) logo on a gritty background, withouth any text whatsoever.
  • Half-Life (before the Game of the Year edition that has Gordon in it). This carried over to European releases of the expansion packs, as the US releases do feature their protagonists.
  • The Collector's Edition of Mass Effect 2 only has a shot of a bloodstained N7 logo set at an angle on the front cover. The Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition is similar.
  • Darker is an obscure PC game set in a planet that is pitch-black in one side. Appropriately enough, its cover art besides the title, logo and the stickers feature a black silhouette of the city with two power plants superimposed on a nearly black background.
  • The cover artwork of the Japanese and American releases of the first Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation consisted of a simple white background with the game's logo. The European release on the other hand, featured an illustration of Solid Snake's face to it.
  • As Portal shows, Valve is apparently very fond of this kind of stuff.
    • The original version of the cover for The Orange Box was going to be just that: pure orange, with a list of the games. The final version got changed.
  • If it's not for the detailed background its cover happens to have, Dead Space would otherwise count, with its focus on that severed hand.
    • More fitting example would be Left 4 Dead. Surprise, it's Valve.
    • As well as Dead Space 2, which cover is mostly a shot of Isaac's helmet in a dark.
  • Limited Editions of some games may be packaged with this kind of cover, notably Prince of Persia (2008).
  • Most of the front cover of Blood is a hand-shaped splatter on a black background.
  • The old PC game Quarantine (completely unrelated to the 2008 movie).
  • Beneath a Steel Sky
  • Ultima VII: The Black Gate. (Ultima VIII: Pagan and Ultima IX: Ascension were originally planned to do the same, in red and white respectively, but that didn't happen.)
    • The later US releases of Pagan have the Pentagram removed from the cover for some reason, making the cover more qualifiable for this trope.
  • Diablo:Hellfire expansion pack.
  • 9 : The Last Resort (no connection to the certain webcomic or the 2009 CGI film) is an Adventure Game with Robert De Niro involved in its production. Its cover - company logos aside - features mostly a monkey holding a card with an "9" on it.
  • The European versions of the first MDK.
  • The entirety of MOTHER series, sans the American version of the only entry in the series to be released outside Japan.
  • The Legend of Zelda had a shield with one section cut out to reveal the cartridge inside.
  • Black & White.
  • Non-Game of the Year editions of Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
  • The Dark Spire.
  • An obscure 1996 adventure game called Animal features this.
  • "Vanilla" Neverwinter Nights and its sequel. Few of their expansion packs count to some extent as well.
  • Internal Selection
  • The US cover art for Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice pretty much just has the main character Mao, and the game's title on it. Very minimalistic compared to the US boxarts of the previous games, which at least feature most of the main characters, and extremely minimalistic compared to the JP boxart, which is a character montage featuring all of the main characters, plus most of the generic units, as well.
  • The Japanese and PAL releases of Final Fantasy games from VII to X originally had a cover with the game's logo on a white background. Examples 1, 2, 3, 4. This actually makes the more complex covers of the American releases look downright odd to people used to logo and white.
  • Final Fantasy IV's SNES release also utilized a minimalist cover.
  • Darwinia.
  • Front Mission 2 and Alternative.
  • The cover for Heavy Rain is a simple focus on a piece of wet origami. Unless you live in the US, and then the focus is something else.
  • Game covers re-imagined as old books.
  • Dark Colony, in certain countries. A big logo "DC", the game's title, a brief tagline, and lots and lots of completely empty brown space. Just take a look.
  • The cover for Hellsinker just consists of the game's logo on a white background, as does the loading screen. The opening screen is the logo against a background that starts out totally black and gradually gets filled in with dark blue designs.
  • Edge magazine has done some incredibly minimalist covers for particularly massive hardware or software releases.
  • Resistance 3's cover is just the white imprint of a chimera face on an orange background. That's it.
  • The Mario & Luigi series always had minimalistic cover arts in Japanese. The first two games' overseas releases were much more elaborate, but starting from the third game, the Japanese cover art was used everywhere.
  • Saints Row: The Third's boxart consists of just the game's title and logo.

    Web Original 
  • Designing minimalistic posters for popular works has become somewhat popular in recent years, thanks to increased access to graphic design tools, such as Photoshop. For example, this tumblr page collects minimalist movie posters.

    Other 
  • Peter Saville again: The gravestone of Tony Wilson from Factory Records.
  • The infamous Is God Dead? TIME magazine issue.
    • Also, Newsweek's The Decline and Fall of Christian America issue.
  • Esquire magazine's October 1966 issue cover, and The New Yorker's issue following 9/11; voted #8 and #6, respectively, in ASME's top 40 magazine covers.
  • News magazine The Economist once ran an article about zero inflation. Apart from the small red-and-white logo the cover just had a big white 0% on a black background.
    • Speaking of The Economist, this spoof would be possibly the best minimalistic cover ever if it were true.
    • This ad.
  • The flag of Libya was entirely and monochromatically green from 1977 to 2011.
    • The Onion made fun of this in their Our Dumb World book: "The flag of Libya represents green."
    • Then there's the white flag of surrendering, the red flag of communists and socialists, and the black flag of anarchists.
    • A lot of flags, especially old ones, are minimalist, usually having two to four colours arranged in rather standard shapes. Notable examples include France (blue, white and red tricolour), Japan (red circle on a white field), Austria (red field with a white stripe in the middle) and similar designs.
    • From 1996 to 1997, the Taliban government of Afghanistan used an all-white flag.
  • Covering the Hutton Inquiry, The Independent had a blank front page above the fold with just "WHITEWASH?" (in red) and "THE HUTTON REPORT" (in black).
  • One issue of Icon magazine was this.
  • The 200th issue of Game Informer had eight different possible covers, which were all white with images from iconic games on them. Some were more minimalistic than others.
  • Polish magazine Przekroj had a couple of issues with minimalist covers, but the most fitting have to be the 65th anniversary issue as well as the issue following the plane crash that took out the president.
  • Speaking of the Smolensk disaster, a daily Polish newspaper Metro had one too.
  • The French writer and humorist Alphonse Allais (1854-1905) held a couple of "art shows" at the Galerie Vivienne in 1883 and 1884 that visually showcased his literal brand of wit. Here is his 1883 masterpiece "First Communion of Anemic Young Girls in the Snow".
  • Doctor Who Magazine Issue 423 (released after The Pandorica Opens was broadcast) bore a black background with only the logo and The Crack in Time; the cover also wrapped round onto the back.
  • The Cleveland Browns football team logo.
  • The Sports Illustrated cover featuring the Miracle on Ice celebration is the only one in the history of the magazine to have no other words besides the title Sports Illustrated on it.
  • After recently being revived from bankruptcy, graphic design industry journal Grafik has had covers that have a large central image, large masthead and small selection of article titles and that's it.

Idiosyncratic Cover ArtCover TropesMirrored Confrontation Shot
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