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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Great Gamble, The Hidden War, The Same Photo

Sure as heck isn't the first time the same photo has been used on two book covers, but this just can't be good. The Great Gamble is from 2009; The Hidden War from 2001.



19 comments:

Evie said...

This is taking the use of the same image to a whole new level.

Anonymous said...

Surely this is a conflict that has many powerful images.
Using the same image but the whole book's credibility in question.

Anonymous said...

THE GREAT GAMBLE is much more appealing and dynamic than the drab use of the art on the first cover.

Nevertheless, this seems like an obvious mistake on the designer's part and there would be no reason for him/her to intentionally reuse an image....this happens all the time and I'm sure this was a pure oversight rather than a means to replicate something already done (fyi, The Hidden War was published in May of '01).

I wish there were fewer critics in this world (and on these self-important websites) and more acceptance that people do make mistakes, and this clearly was one.

Joseph said...

Anon 10:40: I certainly never suggested the re-use of this image is intentional or "meant to replicate something already done."

I think Anon 10:31 has it right: "Surely this is a conflict that has many powerful images."

So the question is: whose responsibility is it to make sure "mistakes" like this don't happen? Designer? Art Director? Marketing Department?

Ian Shimkoviak said...

If you want to see crazy instances of duplicated images check out this blog:

http://causticcovercritic.blogspot.com

Sometimes there is a reason why a certain image is used again on a cover in a slightly different way—other times it's a mistake—stupid or otherwise uninformed.

Jonathan said...

The stock agency is responsible to inform if the image is in use or has exclusivity. But that only lasts for a period of time, which varies.

In this case, the editor should be aware of book's competition, as well as the designer and art director. I think editor's get lazy and only look at what comes up in Amazon's similarity search.

They may have decided that the time span of 2001 to 2009 was safe.

nate s. said...

Boy, just love it when anonymous people come in and tell other's they're self important. I think the tone of the post was merely "musing" as opposed to "accusing."

Anonymous said...

With the shrinking of budgets for original art and the high availability of stock online, it is increasingly common for this to happen. Also, lots of stock agencies "forget" to tell you about other usages...

Additionally, even when authors and editors are made aware that an image has been used before, they decide that A) enough time has passed since the last book or B) no one will notice.

The Great Gamble has a powerful design— the type is incredibly well considered, and paired with the image, it really pulls you in. At first glance, I would never recognize these two books as using the same image.

Anonymous said...

It's extremely difficult to make sure you have seen every book that has ever been done that has similar content and possibly the same imagery.

It does happen a lot… I have no clue what the simple solution to this is.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the end is near. Maybe the end of your blog is near. It should be. I hate how you criticize us cover designers when you seen to have no knowledge of the process.

T-Bone said...

^ umm… oooooo-kaaaayyy…

back to the subject at hand – i think whoever chose the image should do a check, but how? stuff like this is bound to happen.

Joseph said...

I suspect it's entirely possible Anon 2:20 is right: "even when authors and editors are made aware that an image has been used before, they decide that A) enough time has passed since the last book or B) no one will notice." Combine that with shrinking budgets and the reality that not every image on every cover can be a rights-managed image, and we've probably got our answer.

I will say this about the "this happens all the time" comments: it does happen, but usually not like this. My experience of seeing the same image on different books is that the repeated image tends to be of the feet dangling off the porch / someone floating in the water / etc variety, or of a subject of which few extant photos exist (covers for books about Nietzsche always seem to have one of three or four photographs.)

Wendy said...

I don't like this kind of things. They should get another one.

Courtney Baker said...

It is quite unfortunate for sure, but what I find strange is how similar the two designs are. I'm not suggesting the designer copied the first design, it just seems odd to me for two designers to choose the exact same image and then to use such a similar type treatment (stacking/centered) and color treatment (all black vs. some snowy blues or grays).

Anonymous said...

In response to Courtney: How many books use centered/stacked type treatments? How many books about war use bold black type? You can't really design a book about the war in Afghanistan with scripts and pink... Designers have a visual language that people more or less stick to. We've all heard that joke about Trajan being the movie font...

At the end of the day, we all have the same tools, it's just about who uses them with the most skill. The Great Gamble uses undeniably similar elements, but it is a much much better cover than The Hidden War.

Joseph said...

FWIW, I do think the type treatment on The Great Gamble is pretty fantastic. Big, heavy type for a big, heavy subject.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, the end is near. Maybe the end of your blog is near. It should be. I hate how you criticize us cover designers when you seen to have no knowledge of the process."

Cry harder.

I design covers and where would I be without criticism? Out of a job, I suppose.

Óscar Palmer said...

I like the cover for The Great Gamble a lot. Also, I think that their choice of photo is somewhat appropiate: the tanks are retreating, aren't they? They're crossing the mountains and going back. That, to me, is a way of portraying the result of "The Great Gamble": it was lost. In that case, it would make this one a well.thought cover, much better than the other one (what's so hidden about those vehicles in the snow?)

Anyway, here's another interesting example of one stock image used up to 5 different covers:

http://therapsheet.blogspot.com/2009/03/run-buddy-run.html

Cheers.

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