Scientific journals are using more high quality designs on their front covers than ever before. For example, for some months now, the front cover of the New Phytologist boasts a series of colourful images. The latest is by CE Stanley and shows the two-way flow of dissolved nutrients along vascular cells of roots.
The covers become art forms in their own image, pleasant to the eye even without knowledge of their scientific significance.
Other recent examples show photo-micrographs of sections of red and yellow table beets, a picture of sunflowers in a field:
a drawing of evolutionary artefacts (a tree of life with a DNA molecule), and an out-of-scale mushroom, enlarged to look like a table in the forest.
Nature magazine has for-long developed its standard of design,
while in the US, Science usually has even more artistic license: