I think it’s fair to say that this represents a bad day for the designer in question. You’d expect that “make the DVD cover look like a bootlegged ripoff” wasn’t in the design brief. (Not that there’s heaps of room to move in movie marketing design.)
But maybe there’s something other than just a misinterpreted design brief here?
When you’re buying design, we think it’s worth getting involved in the questions designers ask themselves when starting a project. It’s not often as simple as “make it look as good as it can”, or “follow the brand guidelines”.
Sometimes the design outcome can seem counter intuitive to those not privy to the brief. It might be that the most effective piece of design is wilfully disruptive. The designer may purposely design ‘some bad’ into it, to shock, or create an emotional reaction, or to grab attention (or more precisely, to manipulate the user’s attention around the piece). It might be that those things are more important than creating a lovely piece of design in and of itself.
We recently had a client who asked us to “make it look cheap”. That was the right solution for that product – and a lovely sophisticated design on beautiful materials would have been completely wrong. The client’s brief demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of their target market – and was a big factor in allowing us to deliver a very effective set of materials.
So maybe David Fincher’s design team are cleverer than we think – maybe there’s something tonal they’re aiming for – and they’ve got it just right? Maybe Bootleg Chic is the new Tiny people on a beach with giant heads in the clouds?
Nah – sometimes you just get it wrong.