As I mentioned previously, in devising the summer poster campaign we decided to shift how we approach seasonal creatives a bit. Before, we either:
Designed two entirely separate creatives, one for adults and one for children. Each was then split into two versions - one for 'generic' usage and one to promote the Buy One Get One Half Price promotion. For example, in Autumn 2015 we had an adults strand and its BOGOHP, and a children's strand and its BOGOHP strand.
(Unrelatedly I can't believe how much I've come round on the children's stuff from Autumn 2015 - I thought it was the worst I'd ever done at the time and these days I rather rate it!)
Or the alternative approach is that we would design three entirely separate creatives, one for adults, one for children and one for all the BOGOHP promotion that complements both suites but does not match either.
The benefit of creating so many suites was to have variety and interest in shops and a range of options for booksellers to choose from to make their shops feel personally curated - as they are. However, we had begun to feel that the approach also left the door open for presentation that looked overcrowded and careless, and also that the value message was getting lost no matter how strikingly the posters were designed since there was too much else that was similarly striking.
It's a basic principle that I know in terms of the design an individual poster, or even an individual suite that just needed to be applied on a wider scale: where everything is eye-catching, nothing is. Contrast is required, and simplicity is often best.
Reducing the number of different strands also plays better to my strengths as a designer and illustrator. I create busy, rich images often full of detail. One poster in one style of that kind is enough to dominate a window: several quickly becomes overkill.
So I'm excited to be rethinking that approach. I've charted the development of the 'generic' suite/s on this blog already - how we took one image as a keystone and worked out all generic posters - adult's and children's - to fit the same styling, theme and colour palette. Everything from that range was to complement rather than contrast, to create a harmonious whole.
Meanwhile, the posit of contrast was to be with the BOGOHP suites and (secondarily, as it's an offer pushed in far fewer branches) the Up To Half Price offer.
I revisited a graphic I created a few years ago and has become a bit of unofficial branding for us. I drew up the shelves, with their jumbled collection of books, toys and stationary, in monotone for a tote bag that has done very well in itself. but I have since re-coloured it for adaptation to a Gift Card design and when thinking about creating the new kind of BOGOHP described above, it came to mind quickly.
It's a simple but effective statement of what Waterstones is all about, perfect for adding interest to a value poster without distracting from the message/ The subject matter is obvious - these are the kinds of things we sell and love - and the styling has the kind of slightly textured, retro look that suits our tone.
And I used the same graphic, again recoloured, for the UTHP posters. Our intention is that rather than continuing to be reissued seasonally, these UTHP posters will remain in place, and so the shelf graphic will be a permanent branding element again. I may end up doing something similar with the BOGOHP posters - recolouring seasonally to match the pallette of the generics, and changing some of the details on the shelves for the season, but otherwise staying with a strong, simple consistent approach and making a virtue out of consistency rather than variety.