Thursday, June 26, 2008

A DVD Casewrap

(that's the DVD "cover" for you civilians) is a weird thing. It is frustrating and weird every time you undertake to design new key art for one mainly because of the clients. I've been going round and round with a client today over a design because they were saying everything "needs" to be here or there. They were citing "rules" to me (and I know them already so I really want to smash them to bits - the rules not the client, no wait...) that we "had" to follow.

Title treatment at the top.

Tagline at the bottom preferably on the left.


Those rules are there for a reason:

1. They are a starting point. Example: Title treatments are generally at the top so they can be seen when on the shelf at the video store. A lot of clients don't understand the rules are the starting point - they think they're the end point. Go no further - "Here there be daemons" and all that.


2. Rules are idea generators. Yes, you must put the title at the top, but how can we design around that to make the art have more depth and be more exciting? Example: layering a character in front of the title treatment to give it some depth, making the title itself part of the art. The restrictions actually force you to think outside the casewrap.

Despite what you may think - I like rules. They are made to be broken, and when done right they smash pretty. It's my philosophy that if the conditions which created those rules changes, don't the rules change as well, or at least become obsolete?

More people see artwork for DVDs and movies online than ever before. Same goes for books and comics and other media. So shouldn't people change the "rules" of design to reflect this?

You would think...

Now this also applies to stories and scripts - if you know the rules you've been operating by, then you can take them out back and "Old Yeller" them sumbitches one at a time.

Used to be you had to have a spec for an existing show in your tool kit, and could never send out an original. (Hi Shawna)
Used to be agents never looked at comic book people as writers. (Hi Bendis, Vaughn, et al)
Used to be you couldn't make a tv show without a network. (Hello, YouTube!)
Used to be you couldn't watch movies on your computer. (Hi Revver, Vimeo, Spout)
Used to be comics were only in print (Hi Wowio, ComicMix)

Rules are changing. Stories and how they are told will change with them.
Know your rules and then go out and break them.

And after time goes by, bring the old rules back for a whole new audience unfamiliar with them. (Hello web serials!)


Unknown said...

EW recently posted their "25 perfect Movie Posters." I'm sure they're overlooking some brilliant gems from lower-budget movies, so what's your take?

Maybe you can do "Perfect Casewraps" instead of posters, since for DVD releases, more people see the packaging than see a poster.

Cunningham said...

The prefect casewrap is the one that sells the movie...

But a top ten does have a certain appeal.