We Don’t Have Enough Road

My informal study of book covers has prompted a question: is there some rule of graphic design that claims a causal relationship between sales and images of roads stretching from the foreground to a vanishing point in the background?

Yellow Brick Road

 American Road Goldberg Road

OK. This one’s pretty much obligatory.

 The Road

 But this just seems like double-dipping.

 McCarthy Road

The artist behind author Black Crouch’s books especially favors this motif.



 Serial Killers

 Desert Places

 Except sometimes it’s a boat’s wake.

 Locked Doors

 To take a wild shot at it, the rationale behind cover designs like those above looks like an attempt to visually draw the reader into the book. An open road leading into the unknown is also a powerful symbol of storytelling itself.


Off-topic: Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan doesn’t have a road on the cover.

 Cover Synthesis

 But I love it anyway because it’s a perfect synthesis of The Unforgettable Fire

 The Unforgettable Fire

And The Joshua Tree.

 The Joshua Tree


This entry was posted in books and tagged , by Brian Niemeier. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian Niemeier

Brian Niemeier is a John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer finalist. His second book, Souldancer, won the first ever Dragon Award for Best Horror Novel. He chose to pursue a writing career despite formal training in history and theology. His journey toward publication began at the behest of his long-suffering gaming group, who tactfully pointed out that he seemed to enjoy telling stories more than planning and adjudicating games.