Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Designing a Multi-Million Dollar Franchise

Since I've already admitted that I typically choose my wine based on the label design—it shouldn't be too shocking then to learn that I also choose books by their covers.

That is why, long before I had ever heard of the Twilight Saga, I had noticed the Twilight Saga. How could I not—with a quartet of cover designs whose presence on bookshelves demanded to be noticed?

From what I can gather via Google, the covers were designed by Stephanie Meyer's publisher. I can make up my own symbolic meaning for each cover, but what really drew me in before having read them, was their
elegant and strikingly beautiful imagery, and sophisticated simplicity. (Post-reading, I now think that the covers are a little bit more sophisticated and mature than the story and its audience.)

Harvard Lampoon gets kudos for their parody adaptation Nightlite (for the cover– the story was bunk), but I'm inclined to think that redesigning classics, such as Wuthering Heights (and stamping "Bella and Edward's Favorite Book" on the cover), in order to tap into the Twilight franchise is going a bit far—though I suppose if it gets tweens reading BrontĂ«, I may be inclined to look the other way.
I didn't intend to spiral into a Twilight rant. What I meant to point out was how good design can strengthen shelf presence. Take the works of Jen Lancaster. I originally picked up her first book, Bitter is the New Black because I liked the title. Later I checked out Pretty in Plaid because there was argyle socks on the cover. Neither of these decisions had anything to do with knowing the story or the author. But because they had fun covers, I choose them over dozens of other books on my List. Luckily, they were both great reads, and the rest of Jen Lancaster's novels have been added to my "To-Read List". One clever cover and she gained a reader for life.

This extends beyond books to all packaging in general. From soda cans to electronics. I mean, who doesn't prefer an Apple store to Best Buy? But that's an entirely different rant...

Oh, and in case you live under a rock, Eclipse hit theaters today.

1 comment :

  1. Shouldn't "Pretty in Plaid" actually be titled "Pretty in Argyle"? I feel misled. Fortunately I can read and know the book is not about argyle socks, but what about people who can't read?