I was recently part of a project that got a publication accepted in PNAS and therefor I decided to try and make a cover design just for fun, but with the hopes that the editor would put it on the cover
Anyway the final design ended up like his:
The color palette was chosen based on the color scheme PNAS used this “season” (green) exemplified by this mockup of a final cover I did to test how the final product could look like (NB this is not the final version of the actual design):
Without going into boring details about the project, the major finding of the paper could be summarized with the word clustering. So I tried to incorporate that into the design (all the light spheres clustering together, plus the molecules clustering together on bacteria surfaces etc.).
Also I didnt want to just use a classic PyMol/Chimera/Qutemol rendered ray-trace image of the molecule in question, as that had been done soooo many times before (and it rarely works). Instead I wanted a conceptual piece with a minimalistic and silhouette-like aesthetic containing no highly detailed three dimensional models, a bit like the visual design from the game limbo.