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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.


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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.
    • The VHS tapes from the Funimation dub 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 ½ 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 Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, 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.
  • The spines of the collections of Osamu Tezuka's Buddha form a picture of Siddhartha Gautama at three different stages of his life.
  • The SPY×FAMILY volume covers all have a member of the cast sitting in a 60s-era chair, the series being set in a 60s East Germany counterpart.
  • Tamagotchi: The original saga'snote  collection of DVD volumes features covers that have a character from the show standing below the series logo and in front of some Tamagotchi Planet location, looking at the viewer.
  • I Had That Same Dream Again: The cover art for both the original light novel and the manga adaptation show Nanoka standing on a balcony looking out over the city, with a black cat sitting on the railing beside her. In the light novel's cover art, the perspective is from behind them; in the manga's cover art, the perspective is in front of them.
  • Each of the Omnibus edition volumes of GTO: The Early Years (which were the only ones released overseas) has a different character in a limited color palette (for the English volumes 1-10, monochromatic), except the last one, which has both Eikichi and Ryuji.

    Audio Play 
  • The German full-cast audiobooks of Rivers of London show a figure (presumably Peter) in a police helmet from the back, looking out over the Thames, with the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye visible on the other side of the river, and a regular map of London above. Superimposed on his back is some kind of "gateway" relevant to the story (the entrance to Covent Garden Market for Rivers, Chinatown Gate for Soho and Tube station stairs for Whispers). The pictures are tinted blue, red and green, respectively.
  • Between 2006 and 2018, Big Finish Doctor Who had a cover design similar to the Doctor Who Missing Adventures, with a strip down the left side of the main cover image featuring the Pertwee/McGann logo, the actor playing the Doctor (or the companion/narrator if it's a Companion Chronicle), the title, and the Doctor's face as it appears in the title sequence (or as it might have appeared in the title sequence for William Hartnell, Paul McGann and David Tennant, if their title sequences had done that). The "Lost Stories" series has the further idiosyncrasy that the main image is a single colour near-silhouette against a stark white background.

    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 Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) comics 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 to 24, 24: Nightfall, 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).
  • The "Bats Out of Hell" Justice League Family Crossover sub-event to Dark Nights: Metal featured covers that fitted together to show the whole League battling their Dark Knight counterparts.
  • The opening chapters (and collected editions) of the X-Men Cross Through "Apocalypse Wars" (All-New X-Men (2016) #9, Extraordinary X-Men #8 and Uncanny X-Men (2016) #6) all feature the team scattered around an angry-looking Apocalypse head, in reference to X-Factor #6 (1986), the character's first appearance. They're distinguished both by the composition of the teams and the appearance of Apocalypse: All-New, set in the distant past, has him as a child; Extraordinary, set in the future, has him looking as he always does, and Uncanny, set in the present, actually has Archangel instead.
  • The "Singularity Aftermath" arc in Cyborg (Rebirth) showed Victor's face - both human and robotic portions - slowly being built up from a quasi-mechanical skull.
  • The covers of each volume of the Watchmen limited series are extreme close-ups with the title running vertically on the side. The spinoffs have kept the latter aspect, albeit not always the former.
  • The DC Icons series of YA graphic novels (Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Batman: Nightwalker, and Catwoman: Soulstealer) all feature a cover with the character's logo in the centre, a character portrait (not in costume, but with suggestions of it) above, and the title below.
  • Eaglemoss has many comics collections with combined images on the spine, such as two for Dc Comics collections (a graphic novels one and The Legend of Batman) and one for Star Trek.

    Fan Works 

  • 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.
  • The covers to the DVDs of the Back to the Future series have basically the same composition: the first movie has Marty, in his regular clothes, stepping out of the DeLorean and staring at his watch; the second one adds Doc, also looking at his watch, puts them in their 2015 outfits and has the DeLorean in hover mode; the third adds Clara, has them in their Western clothes, and the watches are now pocket watches.

  • As shown above, the latest edition of the first three The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant novels are clearly meant to be placed next to one another, to 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 Ramtops 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; oak branches; snowflakes; fire; and bees).
    • The "Discworld Collector's Library" editions have Joe McLaren woodcut-style art. The Tiffany books all show Tiffany in profile, with a border of Feegles, clouds, and again, snowflakes, fire and bees.
    • The 2022 Penguin editions of the Witches books all have a bright light source in the centre, with the title imposed on it, and the witches (or other characters) almost in shadow beneath it. For Equal Rites, the light source appears to be a sillouette of Granny Weatherwax, with a secondary one being the staff Esk holds in front of her; for Wyrd Sisters it's dawn through the mountains, but also takes the shape of a crown; for Witches Abroad it's the glow of Genua's fairytale castle; for Lords and Ladies it's the portal in the centre of the Dancers; for Maskerade it's the stage of the Opera House; and for Carpe Jugulum, it's the phoenix aurora.
  • One edition of The Chronicles of Narnia series, when the books are placed side by side, forms a picture of the castle.
  • The two-part Goosebumps entry, Invasion of the Body Squeezers part 1 and 2, forms a complete picture when combined, with the first book showing one of the titular body squeezers attacking humans, and the second book shows the rest coming soon after.
  • 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: Rhapsody'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 using red and green dots (like the Ishihara test).
  • 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. The Dark Artifices, meanwhile, has full-body shots of the main characters above a cityscape, made to look as if the whole thing's underwater, with each cover orientated differently (volume 1 has the cityscape upside-down, volume 2 sideways on, and volume 3 rightside up).
  • 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 Millennium 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.
  • This spine design for The Lord of the Rings also applies.
  • 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 The Foundation Trilogy: Panther's 1962 covers were illustrated by Chris Foss and they designed a 3-part joiner cover, where laying the books side-to-side form one continuous artwork (link).
  • 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....
  • Erin Hunter:
    • Warrior Cats:
      • Overall, the original 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.
      • The newer English covers, as of A Vision of Shadows, forsake the "boxed image" design for instead one large image of a cat. The first, second, and third arcs have covers focusing on cat faces.
    • Seeker Bears covers are similar to the original 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.
    • Survivor Dogs covers all feature group shots where the characters stare at the "fourth wall". One dog, usually a main character from the book, is in the middle. The novellas, however, instead focus on head shots where the dog stares at the "fourth wall".
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • The early Eighth Doctor Adventures novels all featured a symbolic circular image against a textured background. After about six months they realised that was a bit limiting and gradually phased it out, but it was still a concept they returned to frequently.
    • Similarly, the early Past Doctor Adventures featured the starring Doctor's face at the middle of a multicoloured swirl, with an element from the book placed next to them. They kept it up for longer than the EDAs, but eventually phased it out as well, returning to it on occasion.
    • The later Virgin New Adventures, from Happy Endings on, had the top third taken up by the New Adventures logo, the middle third by the cover picture, and the bottom third by the title and author.
      • The first two New Adventures by Kate Orman, The Left-Handed Hummingbird and Set Piece, are set in the Aztec Empire and Egypt respectively. Coincidentally, the cover artists drew a somewhat similar scene of the Doctor/Ace with pyramids in the background. Her third NA, SLEEPY, is set on an alien planet, but she added a pyramid to it just to keep the theme going. (Her fourth one, Return of the Living Dad, has a New Age bookshop called The Pyramid, but it doesn't make it onto the cover.)
    • The Virgin Missing Adventures generally shared the same cover format: the left third of the cover would have a picture of the starring Doctor at the top and a companion (or companions) below, while the right two-thirds would have the Missing Adventures logo against a black background at the top, a picture in the middle, then the title against a black background and the author's name in a coloured stripe to finish off. The left-hand side occasionally got changed up: Sixth Doctor solo novel Time of Your Life only had the Doctor, Doctorless story Downtime had the Brigadier and Victoria, and Second Doctor story The Dark Path, a Master origin story, had the Doctor and a pre-Master Koschei, as played by Roger Delgado.
  • The 2014 covers of Judy Blume books by Lauren Rille are all minimalistic.
  • The 2018 onwards novelisations of Batman storylines have covers showing a face portrait of a character (The Killing Joke and Court of Owls have Batman; Mad Love has Harley Quinn) against a plain white background. The dustjacket has a fake tear in it, apparently revealing a brightly coloured cover with another face (Killing Joke has the rip where the exposed part of Batman's face should be, revealing Joker's grin; Court of Owls has a lateral tear replacing half of Batman's face with a Talon; and Mad Love has Dr Harleen Quinzel's eye peeking through Harley's madness).
  • The covers for the Darkest Powers books feature Chloe's pendant in the different colours it takes on throughout the series
  • Rivers of London novels all have a cover illustration showing a relevant area from Steven Walker's "The Island: London Series", a series of incredibly detailed hand-drawn maps (except Foxglove Summer and The October Man, which show equivalent maps of Hertfordshire and Tier), with the title above in a slightly chaotic font with lots of swirls linking the letters together.
  • The first edition of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency had a brass plaque engraved with the title floating amongst blueish clouds.note  The first edition of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul has a very similar composition of the title engraved on a silver tea-tray, floating amongst reddish clouds.note .

    Live Action TV 
  • The Babylon 5 box sets (at least the UK versions) each have a big 5 logo on the spine with an 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 volume's 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 (1960s) 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:
    • 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.
    • The Region 2 classic series DVD covers all had a standardised image where the top half of the cover was a pattern of TARDIS roundels with the TVM logo and the title. The later animated restorations of missing stories have an image that fills the whole space (and from 2018, the Whittaker logo), but have the standard version on the back of the cover insert, so obsessives can reverse it.
  • MGM/UA did this with their box-sets of Pee-wee's Playhouse.
  • The 2021 Mill Creek release of the Ultra Series is depicted in this manner, with the first seven shows of the seriesUltra Q, Ultraman, Ultraseven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace, Ultraman Taro and Ultraman Leo forming a mural depicting the various heroes and monsters.

  • 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 in 2005. 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.
  • Since 2011, nearly every Christmas double issue of New Scientist has had a cover showing an anthropomorphic version of an animal featured in one of the articles, usually in a Christmas jumper or otherwise dressed up (the exception was 2015, which had a stylised image of non-anthropomorphic animals).

  • Be-Bop Deluxe: Six CDs where the spines spell out BE-BOP at the top and DELUXE at the bottom.
  • EMI did this quite a bit with their CD remaster campaigns in The '90s:
    • The 1992 Pink Floyd Boxed Set Shine On features the included CDs in opaque jewel cases with printed decals. When put together in order, the printwork on the spine forms the iconic cover art to The Dark Side of the Moon.
    • The 1997-1999 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 1997 Talk Talk CDs bear letters on the spines that spell out T-A-L-K. As this campaign only encompassed the band's first four albums (the fifth and final one being released on a different label owned by a different parent company), each case gets one letter, repeated on both ends of the spine; thus, when the cases are laid out in order, you get "TALK" on the top and "TALK" on the bottom, thus altogether reading "TALK TALK".
    • The 1999 David Bowie CDs, spanning his studio albums from Space Oddity to Tin Machine, each have a cropped image of Bowie's face from the album cover on both the spine and the disc art. Sadly, nothing gets spelled out on the spines.
  • Similarly to Pink Floyd's example, the 2000 Mike Oldfield HDCD reissue campaign (which covers the entirety of Oldfield's UK output on Virgin Records) features spine art on the jewel case traycards that, when lined up in order, form the iconic Tubular Bells logo.
  • 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 (1967) have "Be Seeing You" written across their spines.
  • Covers for The Birthday Massacre are purple and always include a rabbit on them.
  • SOPHIE's single artwork from 2013-2015 are stock renderings of waterslides on plain white backgrounds (except for "L.O.V.E." which instead features a rendered inflatable bug on a white background).
  • All three of The xx's albums and most of their singles feature one big "X" on their covers.
  • The White Stripes' record covers all contain a combination of red, white and black owing to Jack Whites predilection with the Rule of Three.
  • Tears for Fears: The Hurting cover is recycled from that of the "Suffer the Children" single, but features the photo in full colour instead of black-and-white and alters the title logo to match the album name. Similarly, the original international album cover reuses the photo from the "Mad World" single.
  • The 2010 CD reissues of the first seven Madness albums spell out "MADNESS" on their spines when placed left to right in chronological order.
  • Jack Stauber's Micropop EPs each have a clay figure with large googly eyes against a black background, with the figure themed after the first track of the EP.
  • Graphic designer Peter Saville is well known for doing this with the artwork he makes for various albums and associated single releases, regardless of which artist he's working with at the moment. New Order is a prominent example of this (given that they're the band with whom Saville has most closely collaborated over the years): once the band started releasing album singles, each album would feature at least one single whose cover art or inner sleeve repeats a visual motif found on the parent album. This also extended to the later single covers Saville did for New Order's previous incarnation, Joy Division, with the 12" release of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" repeating the framed statue photo motif from Closer and the 1988 reissue of "Atmosphere" repeating the New Alphabet headstone motif seen on Substance (for which it was released to promote).
  • Béla Fleck and the Flecktones' first three albums, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Flight of the Cosmic Hippo, and UFO Tofu, each depicts part of the same space scene. The 2011 album Rocket Science calls back to them by showing the full scene from the perspective of a rocket from one of the covers.

    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 Origin, 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".
  • Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition:
    • The corebooks (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual) were all done up to look like a Tome of Eldritch Lore from the game, with faux-leather covers and lots of ornate metal hinges and catches connected to a metallic symbol in the centre (a sword over a spellbook for the players, a world for the DM and an inhuman eye for the monsters).
    • Some sourcebooks like Deities and Demigods and The Manual of the Planes had a less elaborate version of the hinges and catches, and a metal-framed sketch as the central image.
    • The adventure books had a similar thing as a border to the main picture.
    • The Forgotten Realms books had a canvas-effect cover with the ornate catches replaced by a simple tie, looking more like a traveller's notebook.

    Video Games 
  • Each installment of The Elder Scrolls series (since Morrowind) has featured Minimalistic Cover Art showing an emblem of some sort from the Elder Scrolls universe as though it were printed on the cover a leather-bound book. The Collector's Editions and "Game of the Year" editions of each game also follow this pattern, though with small changes from the standard edition. To note:
    • Morrowind has the Imperial Dragon symbol inside of a triangle with the Daedric letters "A", "S", and "V" in each corner, representing the three members of the Tribunal - Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec - printed on a sandy brown background.
      • The Tribunal expansion has the "Hand of Almalexia" symbol in the center of the same triangle.
      • The Bloodmoon expansion has a werewolf head drawn in the style of Nordic runes in the center of a triangle.
    • Oblivion has the Daedric letter "O" printed on a white background. (The Collector's Edition is brown and the Game of the Year edition is black.)
      • The Knights of the Nine expansion has the Red Diamond symbol of the Empire.
      • The Shivering Isles expansion has the head of Wabbajack, the staff associated Sheogorath, a key player in the expansion.
    • Skyrim has the chipped Imperial Dragon symbol (symbolizing both the Empire's decline and the return of the actual dragons) printed on a charcoal gray.
    • The Elder Scrolls Online has an Ouroboros in the shape of a ring, with the Animal Motif of each of the game's main factions swallowing the tail of another printed on dark leathery brown.
  • 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 the Hedgehog 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 Rerelease 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 Chronicles 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.
  • Persona 4 and Persona 5 have nearly identical cover layouts - a vertically-oriented V-shaped group shot of the party, with the protagonist, pushing something plot-relevant onto his face, in the center and front, the Mascot character on the left side next to him, and his Persona standing over him in the background.
  • The Japanese versions of the Yakuza games (aka Ryu Ga Gotoku) were all released with monochrome covers during the PS2 and PS3 era. The earlier covers all feature Kiryu Kazuma in some form, with 2 having him next to his rival Ryuji Goda and Kenzan! having his face surrounded by supporting characters, while 4, Of the End and 5 have him posing with the other playable characters from those games. From Ishin and onward, they switched to using full color images. This includes the remastered ports of 3, 4 and 5 on the PS4, which remade the cover images from their respective PS3 versions in color.
  • Touhou Project:
    • The first four mainline Windows games feature silhouettes of the games' last boss(es): Embodiment of Scarlet Devil has Flandre Scarlet, the Extra stage boss, Perfect Cherry Blossom has Yukari Yakuno, the Phantasm stage boss, Imperishable Night has Kaguya Houraisan and Fujiwara no Mokou, the FinalB and Extra stage bosses, and Phantasmagoria of Flower View has Eiki Shiki.
    • From Mountain of Faith to Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom, the covers feature a silhouette of the Final stage boss. From Hidden Star in Four Seasons on, the covers feature silhouettes of three of the bosses.
    • Spinoff fighting games have silhouettes of the final boss(es) on the cover. Spinoff danmaku games have a silhouette of a player character on the cover.
  • Sega consoles:
    • Early western Sega Master System boxarts all had a gridded white background and consisted of crude drawings in the lower left illustrating an object or action related to the game's premise, seemingly in an attempt to invoke a "high school doodle" motif. By the time the Sega Genesis launched, box artwork switched to more conventional illustrations and photos, although the "graph paper" branding would remain until the end.
    • The North American covers for a good number of first-party Sega Saturn game had a slight minimalist streak, with the covers of games such as Bug!!, the Virtua Cop series, etc. consisting of renders of the game's characters over a white background, in a manner reminscient of the above Master System boxes but executed a bit more tastefully. This was not done as consistently, however.
  • The boxarts of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team form a scene together; Blue's boxart shows a rescue team looking into a chasm, while Red's shows a group of Pokémon trapped underground.
  • Puyo Puyo: Starting with 15th Anniversary, the box art for almost each game displays a bunch of Puyos (as well as Tetriminoes for the Tetris crossovers) in front of a simple background that's usually white in color.
  • Each non-expansion pack entry of First Encounter Assault Recon feature Alma in their cover. Yahtzee particularly noticed the pattern within the covers that Alma gets closer and closer to the viewer with each new installment's boxart.