This cover is our most vivid example of the difference between how covers look on the computer screen and in print.
It is a very fascinating thing!
So, you look at the above cover, and what you see is Exley (who is a main character), who's all dressed in black, the lettering, which is a similar color of black but haloed with some lighter color, and then the background and the rest of the text, which are all shades of brown-gray.
The general theme you take away is black, which is pretty accurate. But the rest of everything is pretty deceptive.
When we were playing around with this cover, what we wanted to do was something like Art Spiegelman did for In the Shadow of No Towers:
You see those towers? They look darker than the rest of the cover, right? But actually, what they are is a spot gloss effect — they only look darker than the rest of the cover in that they are shiny.
That's something that's difficult to represent on the screen.
The same thing's true for Ball Peen Hammer. Exley's dress and the title lettering really are the same color. But they're also the same color as the background of the cover. That halo effect and the cover looking brown? That's because we (and the online retailers who carried this book) worried about being able to usefully sell it online if people had difficulty making out the title on the screen.
Next up on the horizon for difficulty-of-conveying-by-screen: foil! It's shiny! The computer screen? Not so much.