Monday, March 29, 2010

Goosebumps is Hideous (and it's not intentional)

If you were a kid in the mid '90s, you grew up on Goosebumps. R.L. Stine churned them out at a clip of about one per month from 1992-97, and everyone I knew had a shelfful.

And while some book fads from the '90s have faded away (au revoir, Animorphs!), Goosebumps can still be found at Borders, albeit with a different cover design. And therein lies the problem.

Book cover design is an art form, and generally speaking, it's getting better and better. And while it may be that publishers often pay less attention to individual covers for a kids' series (knowing that once kids get hooked, they can pretty much phone the rest of the series in), Goosebumps covers of the 90s were always cool. A simple two-color design with nubby, embossed lettering and a creepy illustration (done by Tim Jacobus). They were simple, but they had a consistent quality to them.

The covers of today are not only cheaper (no embossed lettering), the design is also far worse. Incredibly, it's the same artwork, but the rest of the layout is a hodgepodge of horrible design choices. They've tried to make the slime look more realistic with a Photoshop emboss/drop shadow combination, but it ends up looking extremely amateur and fake. And the type treatment has gotten worse across the board--the thicker type of the author's name is too bold, skewing and drop shadowing "Goosebumps" looks awful, and the tagline now gets lost and looks ugly.

How is it possible that this could happen to such a hugely successful series? I am truly aghast. Somebody, do something. Please.

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