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D&D 5E Let's talk about WoTC Book Covers

Casimir Liber

Explorer
I recall teh first edition monster manual...and now looking at RuneQuest reboot...and it makes me think of the colour pallet used by WoTC. Why does there have to be a preponderance of slate/smog/mud/brown/grey/dark colours interspersed with laval red/orange. If I scan across all the covers really quickly or on a really low res screen or in a darkened room, none stand out as distinctive...they're all so muddy and dark.....does this bother anyone else? I mean part of doing these book surely is that the covers should render them instantly distinguishable from another sourcebook....? I mean I like the art...I just wish the pallets were a bit more distinctive....
 

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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I'm honestly not sure what you mean... isn't this the 1st Edition Monster Manual? I mean, considering what they were working with at that time I'm not going to criticize it. I'd also like to see the cover of the Runequest Reboot to see what you're talking about.

1627082150283.png
 


Casimir Liber

Explorer
I'm honestly not sure what you mean... isn't this the 1st Edition Monster Manual? I mean, considering what they were working with at that time I'm not going to criticize it. I'd also like to see the cover of the Runequest Reboot to see what you're talking about.

View attachment 141100
Okay - the art was.....interesting...but the colours were vivid - and all three original covers for the first three books were distinctive, but the reboots quickly became more homogeneous and murky I recall.


here is the link for latest RuneQuest cover art
 


Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
1627083359573.png

Okay - the art was.....interesting...but the colours were vivid - and all three original covers for the first three books were distinctive, but the reboots quickly became more homogeneous and murky I recall.


here is the link for latest RuneQuest cover art

I quite like this Runeuest piece actually, however I don't find it very different (in color palette) to this cover in 5E;

1627083469716.png
 


Casimir Liber

Explorer
Runequest has always had a washed-out look to much of its art. I think it's intentionally going for a sword and sandals vibe.
true - funny how the new art is stringly reminiscent of one of the 80s covers too. Agree it is homogeneous in its own way, but I just wish that maybe a couple of the WoTC sourcebook covers had used a palette like this...
 

Hussar

Legend
I'm not sure you can really claim that the 1e covers were "bright". Yes, that Monster Manual cover is, but, look at your 1e DMG and PHB. They are both very dark with no real bright colors. It was 2e that went for a much brighter color palette regularly with the PHB and the DMG both being pretty bright with vivid colors. And, of course, the Monstrous Manual was white, so that stood out pretty well.

The colors of 5e are pretty heavily banking on the nostalgia of 1e where almost all the colors were variations of black and brown.

For reference:

phb-dmg-1st-prts.jpg
 

Dausuul

Legend
I can easily distinguish the 5E core books from across the room. The PHB is the orange one, the DMG is the purple one, and the Monster Manual is the blue one.

That said, I agree with the general sentiment that 5E cover art is a bit... smeary and dim. That's true even of the covers that I like, such as Tasha's. I miss the crisper, more photographic look of the Elmore days (though not the cheesecake that came with it). Sadly, I think the odds of that style returning are low; but I take consolation in the fact that the Reynolds era is also over.
 

I think the main issue with the 5E core book covers, for me, is that they feel like they're from a recent but outdated aesthetic era, and even when they were new, they didn't feel fresh.

I think this was the result of underinvestment in 5E, particularly the art, by WotC generally, who I suspect didn't have huge faith in it, and where they certainly didn't anticipate the level of success it was going to have. Back at the time I was whinging a lot about how MtG had fantastic art even on tiny one-off cards, but 5E's actual covers didn't even seem to be at that standard. It seems like more recently the gap has closed somewhat though. Which makes sense given D&D is now this huge profit driver. Also I don't think anyone, even new players, can be particularly attached to the smeary cover and "huh"-ish covers of the PHB and DMG (the MM maybe).
 


Casimir Liber

Explorer
I agree the first edition books were not particularly bright (though the Fiend Folio was a nice bright blue). I guess if I were WoTC, I might have got a different artist to do each cover.

I mean ultimately it's not a Big Deal in the scheme of things...just something that has bugged me about this and colour schemes in general
 







MGibster

Legend
I would definitely consider a consistent house art style a feature not a bug, but to each their own.
I can't point to anything specifically bad about the 5E art but I don't find it particularly evocative. It's serviceable but I don't think I've seen anything I'd want hanging on my wall.
 

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