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Minimalistic Cover Art

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The cover for Autechre's 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 Spın̈al Tap.

Some people think that abstraction is enough to sell, because 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.

At least one of the things below applies 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • Any form of literarist art will do as well.

In music, the first really popular record (or at least the earliest notable example) with such a sleeve was The Beatles' eponymous 1968 album (colloquially known today as The White Album for its almost completely blank white cover). However, the mainstreaming of the minimalist design style from the 1980s onward is mostly credited to 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 lots 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.

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


Compare to Face on the Cover, which is usually minimalistic in its approach, but only with faces. Contrast Detail-Hogging Cover and Design Student's Orgasm, which go for the opposite strategy.


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    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.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The twentieth anniversary Blu-Ray and DVD releases of the original series are this, as well as the JP Blu-ray releases for Rebuild of Evangelion, which 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.
  • Assassination Classroom: 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.
  • The 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.
    • 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!"
  • Fantastic Four #371 from 1992 featured an embossed cardstock cover with the Human Torch, with his flames melting the logo and corner box. The cover was completely white, with the printed barcode only appearing on the newsstand edition. The second printing's cover was done in solid red, making the details stand out a little better.
  • 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 2000 AD complete collections, including Strontium Dog and Nemesis the Warlock.
  • MAD parodied this more than a few times.
  • The cover art for Seconds is simply a close up of Katie's face. Inverted in the Barnes and Noble exclusive cover, which is the basement floorplan of Seconds, and is actually quite detailed.
  • The alternate covers for all the Convergence titles show a close-up of a DC character's face fading into a solid colour (the same colour for each week's titles) which takes up one half of the cover.

    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 that enticed adults with silhouettes of the heroes and prestigious-sounding taglines. As one example, compare the page image of The Little Mermaid (1989) to this.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • 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; we don't know what apples have to do with the plot, but Rule of Symbolism?) being held in a pair of disembodied hands. But it still probably counts.
  • 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.
  • The Penguin UK edition of The Man in the High Castle from 1999 is just white with the title, ISBN number, and a short quote running down the front cover. Amazon UK page. It's not clear from the picture but it also has a very low resolution image of the continents in white dots.
  • Computer Crimes and Capers: The hardcover edition in 1983 came with a transparent dust jacket, the cover itself being solid black with writing only on the spine.
  • Isaac Asimov Presents the Best Science Fiction of the 19th Century: The original cover background is a bright red, with "the Best Science Fiction of the 19th Century" in white, and the rest of the text in yellow. The only text is the title and credit to the editors.
  • The Arbor House Treasury:
    • The original front cover for each book is a plain background with the title and editors. There's a difference in colour between The Arbor House Treasury and whatever the theme/genre is for that book.
    • Worlds Imagined: The original front cover featured a plain blue background, white text for The Arbor House Treasury and the editor names, and lime green for of Great Science Fiction Short Novels.
    • Masters of Horror and the Supernatural: The Great Tales: The original front cover features a deep red background, grey text for The Arbor House Treasury, bright yellow text for of Horror and the Supernatural, and white text when listing the editor names.
    • The Arbor House Treasury of Nobel Prize Winners: The front cover features a black background, white text for The Arbor House Treasury and "Compiled by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh", and a dull golden text for of Nobel Prize Winners.
    • Great Tales of Science Fiction: The original front cover features a slate grey background, black text for The Arbor House Treasury and "Introduction by Robert Silverberg", and bright red text for of Science Fiction Masterpieces'' and the editor names.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • Asimov's Book of Facts: The 1981 hardback edition is simply a black cover, with the title written along the spine in two lines.
    • Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare: At least one cover forgoes even a dust jacket, merely having a tan-brown blank cover, with the title printed on the spine. Due to the size of the Omnibus, said title takes up three lines.
    • The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories: The 1977 Gollancz cover has only the publisher's mark, the title, and the author's name on a yellow background.
    • Casebook of the Black Widowers: The Doubleday cover has a black background, with the focus on a knife and fork framing a fancy dinner invitation that holds the title and author's name.
    • Nine Tomorrows: The 1966 Pan Books cover restricts the art to the inside of a single cartoony sun.
    • Science Fiction Favorites:
      • The Audible cover has a plain blue background, with a "book" inside where the title and author's name are in the same blue as the larger background. The background of the "book" is a red and yellow gradient.
      • The Penguin Random House cover is designed with black and white divisions, where the top half is white with the title in large blocky black outlines and the bottom half is black with Isaac Asimov in small flowing white script.
  • The original UK cover of the finalnote  Alex Rider book, Scorpia Rising, had the book's title and author's name translucent to the point of invisibility, leaving just the insignia of the titular Nebulous Evil Organisation on a black background.
  • Some of the covers of the books written by Children's author Barbara Lehman are minimalistic like the Red book for example

    Live-Action TV 

  • The Trope Codifier is The Beatles' 1968 double album The Beatles, with its blank white cover embossed with the name of the band. It is far better known today as "The White Album".
  • The original version of Disturbing The Peace by Alcatrazz is almost completely black aside from the band's logo, the title, and some faint images of cell bars.
  • 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 & 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.
    • Links to main/Peter Saville redirect here for a reason.
  • 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. They have now found success in 2014 with their very minimal design for Aphex Twin's Syro
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • The Red Album by Calvin Wilkerson
  • Metric has two examples:
    • The cover of Fantasies shows only a lightbulb against a dark background.
    • Art of Doubt is even more minimalistic, featuring nothing but an abstract circle shape on a black field.
  • Franz Ferdinand's debut Franz Ferdinand is just a black cover with a slightly stylized typeset of the band's name. They initially planned to take this Up to Eleven and do it for all their albums. They continued it with their second album You Could Have It So Much Better, but they were then required to start naming their albums after that, much to their chagrin.
    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."
  • Sloan: The album cover for Between The Bridges is essentially a wide shot picture of the band with a grayish tint with the band name and album name near the top.
  • 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 by 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.
  • 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.
    • The Seer, To Be Kind, and The Glowing Man each have a single image against a blank background. The Seer has a grinning, beady eyed fox creature, To Be Kind has a crying baby's face, and The Glowing Man has weird red symbol resembling an arm.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tears for Fears:
    • The Hurting: A child weeps in the corner against a solid white backdrop, punctuated only by the band and album logotype.
    • Live at Massey Hall: It's basically the Canadian flag (minus the red bands on the sides) with a stylized white tree serving as the maple leaf's "veins." Simple, yet elegant.
  • 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 by 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."
    • 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: Several of his album covers are quite simple.
    • "Redbird" (1995) is just a reddish color, with the album title and his name on it.
    • The cover of I.A.O. (2002) tops even that by being completely white.
    • "Alhambra Love Songs" (2009) is also white, but has the title and text on it.
    • "Interzone" (2010) is a grey, white album with some weird symbols on it. "Enigmata" is a 2011 white album with an enigma symbol on it.
    • "Nosferatu" (2012) is completely black, with red lettering.
    • "The Hermetic Organ" (2012) has a blue cover with a symbol on the cover.
    • "Rimbaud" (2012) is a blue cover with just the written name Rimbaud on it.
    • "Music and Its Double" (2012) is a completely white cover, with some abstract imagery on it and the artists' name and title.
    • "The Concealed" (2012) is a white cover with just a circle, triangle and square on it.
  • 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 2019 Rammstein album is just a picture of a match on a white background. And the album itself doesn't even have a title (it is usually just listed as Rammstein).
  • 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, for example Ambient 1: Music for Airports and Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. His Music for Films is 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).
  • Velvet Underground's 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:
    • Kimono My House is a picture of two geisha girls against a green backgroundnote . The cover also didn't have text in its first pressing.
    • Introducing Sparks is just a bust shot of Russell or Ron, depending on which side you're looking at, against a blue background with the album title. Said bust shots are combined in this page's image above.
    • No. 1 in Heaven has a women in a white lab coat holding a microscope against a flat, white background.
    • Balls is just a colored circle on a gradient background.
    • Lil' Beethoven is mostly text except for a miniature Beethoven cartoon in the corner.
  • 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 and Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention, 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.
  • Brothers by The Black Keys just shows a text.
  • 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 do this every two albums. Waking the Fallen had a grey deathbat on a black background, Avenged Sevenfold a black deathbat on a white background and the second cover of Hail to the King half of a white deathbat on a black background. Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, City of Evil, Nightmare, Hail to the King (original cover) and The Stage have much more elaborate designs.
  • While most of Pink Floyd's album covers tend to delve more into elaborateness, they have utilized minimalism on a few occasions, those being the iconic prism illustration for The Dark Side of the Moon (whose cover came about thanks to keyboardist Richard Wright's requests for something "smarter, neater – more classy"; he also said on record that he wanted something "simple and bold"), the blank white brick wall for... well... The Wall (though re-issues do reduce the minimalism a little via the addition of large red text), and the remembrance poppy and military stripes in the corners of The Final Cut's cover. The album art for Meddle and Atom Heart Mother are also comparatively minimalist by Pink Floyd's standards, though are a bit more milder examples of this trope.
  • 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".
  • 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.
    • The cover for Jesus Is King shows a blue LP record on a plain white background. The vinyl release of the album reflects this with a blue disc in a clear sleeve, and a card with a white backing that has the tracklist.
  • Aleph by Gesaffelstein does a similar thing to Yeezus, with a clear cover with no artwork, covered by thin white lines that look like a circuit board, the Hebrew letter for "aleph" at the center, and the CD itself is plain gold with no text on it. His sophomore album, Hyperion, ups the ante even further: the cover is entirely black.
  • 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 solid 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 and The Follower introduced a variation on the theme by using black backgrounds: The former had black text on a black background note  and the latter had white text.
  • 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.
  • Lorde's Pure Heroine. The cover is completely black with nothing but the name of the artist and album.
  • The album covers of Grateful Dead's Anthem of the Sun and American Beauty are both abstract images, delving in with their Psychedelic Rock image.
  • 17 Seconds by The Cure: try to describe what we're even looking at on the cover?
  • Fugazi's compilation 13 Songs, perhaps meant to go with its Exactly What It Says on the Tin title: The band name and album title in black over a solid red background. It's nearly the same design as the self-titled EP (which is included in the compilation), but that one doesn't qualify because it also includes a black and white picture of Ian MacKaye singing while hanging upside down.
  • The charity album Songs for Japan.
  • The cover to Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late is just the title on a white background, which one Twitter user described as "a suicide note from the Chick-Fil-A cows".
  • The cover of the original recording of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem consists only of white text on a plain black background. This was because producer John Culshaw considered none of the designs Decca Records' art department came up with to be serious enough.
  • The Elvis Presley Greatest Hits Album ELV1S: 30 #1 Hits simply depicts the album title against a gold background.
  • Complete Clapton by Eric Clapton just features the album title and his signature in red-and-white text against a black background.
  • Lightning To The Nations by Diamond Head was originally self-released in a limited run of autographed plain white sleeves, with no text beyond the band members' signatures. Their manager owned a cardboard factory and could cheaply produce such sleeves, plus the album was only being sold at concerts or via mail order, with the hope that a label would sign them and re-release the album on a wider scale. Since then there have been several reissues on different labels, all with different artwork where the trope no longer applies.
  • The cover to Del the Funky Homosapien's Future Development seems to be based off paper sleeves for floppy disc computer games: It's mostly white, with the title and artist name in black and the only other images being a pair of vertical blue lines and a small, 8-bit silhouette of Del himself firing a Mega Man-esque armcannon.
  • The album Untitled Unmastered by Kendrick Lamar features cover art that is simply a shade of dark green with the album's name in the top left corner in a white font and one of the explicit Content Warnings that are associated with foul language in music in the bottom right. Similarly all the tracks on the album are very uniform and are all named untitled followed by the order in which it plays on the album and a date.
  • Obituary's self-titled 2017 album features the band's logo, in gold with a bit of touch-up, against an entirely black background. Particularly notable in a genre (Death Metal) that normally goes for hyper-elaborate, frequently Gorn-laden album art, something Obituary themselves have done before.note 
  • Polvo's sleeve for Today's Active Lifestyles looked fairly minimal to begin with when it featured a small, un-centered image of tigers on a solid yellow background... Then there was a copyright dispute with the artist who painted the tigers and they were removed from subsequent reissues, leaving mainly an expanse of mustard yellow.
  • Sunny Day Real Estate's self-titled second album, sometimes referred to as "The Pink Album."
  • Many of the releases by techno duo Pan Sonic had plain album covers. Some would consist of the name of the duo, a few would have the names of the releases, or in some cases both. These were all placed in front of a bright coloured background.
  • The album cover for The Future Sound Of London album ISDN only consists of the acronym of the group and the name of the album placed in front of a white background.
  • Dwight Yoakam's features just a sticker bearing the album's name.
  • Queens of the Stone Age's "Rated R", styled after the MPAA's rating bumpers from the 70's.
  • The Caretaker has quite a few albums that fit this trope. Several parts of Everything At The End of Time have very little going on in their cover art, consisting of a single object sitting in a featureless room with zero text. Several more of the artist's albums also abide by this trope, such as An Empty Bliss Beyond This World and Persistent Repetition of Phrases.
  • Matmos' The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form's artwork is just the band and album name in black text on a white background.
  • Oval's Systemisch features the band name in black text, the album name in white text, and a blank grey background.

    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 plenty of PAL covers from the Sega Master System library were this. This however, was a move by Tonka, being the one that distributed the console in the US, who thought that if a game came from the arcades people would immediately buy the game no matter how bad the box art is. The laughable minimal design was however only on earlier covers because Sega decided to have less and less involvement with Tonka and made their own US division, which thanks to having people with actual expertise in the field (such as the CEO Michael Katz, who had a leading position in Atari before he worked for Sega) demanded much better artists to work for them, which in turn helps people tell around what time the game on that console was distributed. Just look at the US cover of Teddy Boy, one the earliest games that was published on the console when it debuted in the US and compare it to the cover of Sonic the Hedgehog, which was the last Sega Master System games to get a release there.
  • The boxart and marketing materials for Sonic & Knuckles primarily featured the game's rather simplistic insignia: silhouettes of the title characters inside an ellipse. While the Western boxarts set the insignia against a pure black background, the Japanese boxart was slightly more detailed, featuring a white-and-blue background and an inspirational quote. In both cases, they were a stark difference to the detailed / illustrated boxarts of other Sonic titles of the era.
  • 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 1 (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.
    • While not quite as minimalistic, the American and European covers for MGS2, along with the European cover for MGS3, all feature a simple illustration of Snake.
    • All the covers for MGS4 and ''MGSV'' have a simple close-up of the character (with the exception of the Japanese Ground Zeroes box, which also features Kaz next to him).
  • 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).
  • There's the Limited Edition cover of Halo 3. Helps that the "Halo" text isn't even anywhere to be seen, just the "3" enclosed on an "O".
  • 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 prior to 2015.
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • 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 cover of ZX Spectrum game Go to Hell, just a small title dripping blood on a white background, is pretty surprising since the actual game is as garish and crude as it gets.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Japanese and PAL releases of games from VII to X, as well as XII, 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.
  • The covers of most Ace Attorney games are very minimalistic, with the original games' GBA releases only featuring the game's logo on a single-color background. Come the games' DS re-releases, a more visual but still minimalistic approach was adopted as standard from then-on; portraits of four of the most important characters of that game, on a simple background. Only the first game's North American release got a more elaborate cover art featuring Phoenix, Maya, The Judge and Edgeworth (The European release instead went with another kind of minimalistic art: Phoenix on a white background with nothing else but the logo).
  • Main series Pokémon games simply feature a single Pokemon on their cover, known in the fandom as the "Game Mascot":
    • Pokémon Red and Blue had the fully evolved starters: Venusaur for Green and Leaf Green, Charizard for Red and Fire Red, Blastoise for Blue and Pikachu for Yellow.
    • Later games feature Legendaries on their covers and they're also the focus of that particular version of the game.
    • The only spin-off title to also have a "game mascot" is Pokémon XD, who had Shadow Lugia on its cover.
  • Dead or Alive:
    • The third game has a much more simple cover than its predecessors, just featuring Ayane brandishing a kunai on a black background.
    • Compared to the previous versions of Dead or Alive 5, Last Round is a lot simpler; Kasumi and Phase-4's faces on a mostly dark background, with a few wisps of energy on Phase-4's side.
  • The box of the console versions of Undertale (the original PC version is downloadable-only) show the game's logo against a black background with the city of New Home below.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 has only Mario running with a veggie in hand against a blue background. Super Mario Bros. 3 has Raccoon Mario flying with a yellow background behind him. Super Mario World shows Mario flying with Yoshi against a blue background. Later games would start incorporating more detailed backgrounds in their box art.

    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.
  • Dream High School's cover is just a colorful circle around the text "Dream High School" with the author and his company listed below.

    Western Animation 

  • Peter Saville again: The gravestone of Tony Wilson from Factory Records.
  • The infamous Is God Dead? TIME [2].
    • 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 they were 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.
  • A trend in DVD and Blu-ray cover art as of The New '10s seems to be of studios reissuing their family films with the cover art consisting only of the film's title and a close-up of the main character's head over a solid color background.
    • 20th Century Fox started this trend with its reissues of some acquired DreamWorks Animation titles and Blue Sky Studios films, among others.
    • Disney got the hint to re-release some of its animated films and Pixar titles in this way.
    • Universal followed suit with the Laika films, the Don Bluth films that they released, and a few live-action films in their catalog (including some not aimed towards children).
      • In addition, Universal reissued the entire DreamWorks Animation library with new artwork following the same basic pattern as Fox's covers, but with two-three characters featured, in June 2018.
      • For Halloween 2018, Universal reissued some productions in their archive with a Halloween theme (such as Casper and Harry and the Hendersons) with glow-in-the-dark cover art that somewhat follows this form.
    • Sony and Warner Bros. also got the hint to do so with their catalogs, though the latter only used it for digital releases until going all in with their "Back To School Collection" DVD series. (In Canada and some other countries, WB has done a similar gimmick for the "[character's name] And Friends" budget DVD series.)
    • Paramount got in on it in late 2017, mostly reissuing family catalog titles with the characters over a white background with a certain background asset a solid color.
  • The Muppet Show box sets: Season 1 has a closeup of Kermit's body, so all you see is green felt and the tips of his collar. (Some markets, including the UK had a more conventional group shot against the curtain; the UK reissue had a closeup of Kermit's face to match the later releases.) Season 2 has an extreme closeup of Miss Piggy's face; Season 3 has Fozzie's; and Season Four ... well, a mockup at the 2009 D23 Expo had Gonzo, but we're still waiting.
  • Private Eye mocked the coverage of the birth of Prince George of Cambridge by filling their cover with a huge headline reading "WOMAN HAS BABY".
  • Similar to Prince's soundtrack for Batman (1989), the song albums for Black Panther (2018) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse use this approach, with Black Panther simply showing T'Challa's claw necklace and Spider-Verse showing the eyes of Miles' mask. There's not even any relevant text or logos aside from the Parental Advisory sticker on BP's cover.
  • Universal, in time for Halloween 2020, reissued some of the horror films in their catalog, such as Get Out (2017) and Happy Death Day with covers consisting of the film's title and the focal character's face against a dark background.

Alternative Title(s): Peter Saville


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