Covers: photos or images and decorative elements

Our third foray into report covers and their patterns of information, layout and design takes up the use of photos and decorative elements. We return to the eleven reports discussed earlier  as well as the second visit where we pored over eleven surveys by U.S. law firms in 2017. 1 Our methodology assigned photos and decorative elements on covers to a primary location on a nine-cell grid.

All but one of the reports sport a photo or image on the cover (Baker McKenzie being the sole exception). Five of the photos or images tie closely to the topic of the survey (Foley Lardner shows a car’s dashboard, Haynes Boone an oil field pumpjack, Ropes Gray a stylized map of the world, Seyfarth Shaw a cityscape, and White Case a striking shot of a giant mining truck). Four others selected something not evidently related to the survey’s topic: Carlton Fields’ skyscraper, KL Gates’ metallic bars, Littler Mendelson’s colorful swirls, and Proskauer Rose’s radiating blue star.

The snippet hereafter clipped part of Morrison Foerster’s cover. Is it an image or a decorative element or both?

In the reports of White Case, Littler Mendelson, and KL Gates, the entire background consists of a photo. The other reports filled various portions of the cover.

The next snippet gives an example of decorative elements from Baker McKenzie. Along with the bit of circuit board there are four colored rectangles. This decorative array appears in the top-middle of the cover and to the left of the title and date.

Other decorative elements from this set of covers include a row of six small rectangles over five small rectangles in Carlton Fields, a diagonal slash of color in Haynes Boone, and a heavy black line under the title in Ropes Gray. Finally, Littler Mendelson and Seyfarth Shaw partition their covers into two rectangles.


  1. The reports are Baker McKenzie Cloud 2017, Carlton Fields CA 2017, Foley Lardner Cars 2017, Haynes Boone Borrowing 2017, KL Gates GCDisruption 2017, Morrison Foerster GCsup 2017, Littler Mendelson Employer 2017, Proskauer Rose Empl 2017, Ropes Gray Risk 2017, Seyfarth Shaw RE 2017, and White Case Mining 2017.

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