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One book or movie becomes a phenomenon. Next thing you know, practically every book or movie of an even remotely similar genre gets a cover or a poster that ganks the design motif of the phenomenon's. This isn't just new books or movies either. Sometimes old books or movies get a re-release (in the case of movies this means a new DVD) with a new cover that does this.

Sometimes, this is a good thing, bringing new attention to a work that deserves it. More often, it's just pointless. Occasionally, it's downright embarrassing.

Distinct from just pure homage, where the cover is deliberately designed to make the viewer think of that specific work-- this is a marketing thing. Also different from tie-in covers, which exist to let movie-goers know that the thing they saw was based on a book. (Even Twilight got those, for some reason.)

See also: Copycat Cover

Examples of Trend Covers include:


Minimalist cover consisting of one symbolic object against a dark background.

Harry Potter-inspired examples

Cover of a slightly stylized pastel portrait of the hero with the title in a fantasy-ish font superimposed.

  • Debra Doyle's Circle of Magic series not only got a "Sorcerer's Stone"-inspired facelift, but the titles changed too.
  • The Charlie Bone books-- both the US covers and the UK covers reflect the design of their Potter counterparts.
  • Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series.
  • The covers for the Spiderwick Chronicles.
  • Jack Kerouac wrote a book called Doctor Sax that came out in 1959. Look at this cover for the 2003 audio release [1] Also note the Potterian "and the Subtitle" that got tacked on.
    • To be fair, the subtitle was Kerouac's. That is an audio adaptation of a screenplay he wrote with that title.
  • The covers to the Percy Jackson series.
  • Kaleb Nation's Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse
  • The covers for the Erec Rex series by Kaza Kingsley follow this pattern.
  • The Tapestry series by Henry H. Neff.
    • Now, the first book bears remarkable similarities, but in later books the story shifts away from the Harry Potter franchise.
  • Sarah Prineas's The Magic Thief.
  • Recent editions of Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci books, for example this.

"The Other Boleyn Girl"-inspired

Historical fiction of heroine in period dress, partially obscured.

The Da Vinci Code-inspired examples

A cover that looks as if it has a strip ripped away to reveal a secret document/scene, calligraphic fonted title optional.

Comic Book-inspired examples

 Dewey: Arrggh! I got marketed to!!

  • Charles Burns's cover to Zadie Smith's The Book of Other People.
  • Sean Beaudoin's Fade to Blue. Justified in that comics play a role in the story.
  • Laini Taylor's novels have cover art and illustrations by her comics artist husband Jim Di Bartolo.
  • Chris Ware drew the poster for the 2007 film The Savages.
  • The posters to Away We Go, Year of the Dog, and Surfwise all have a cartoonish quality to them. Small wonder, they were all designed by the same company, who also handled the posters for several comic book movies, including ~300~, Watchmen, Whiteout, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ironically enough, those posters do not use comics imagery to sell the film.
    • Away We Go always struck me as inspired by Juno's credits sequence, with the markered-up photocopy look.

Other Examples

  • Cracked covered the movie/DVD side of this trope in this article, 5 Ways Hollywood Tricks You Into Seeing Bad Movies.
  • Check out the poster of the new film Inception as compared to the poster for The Dark Knight. Partially justified in that both films were directed by Christopher Nolan.
  • In the Noughties, desaturated advertising images (with heavy shadows and exaggerated blacks) came into vogue, to the point where the effect is being overused everywhere, as of 2011. It became so popular that when Photoshop CS 5 came out, it included a new tool specifically for creating this effect (Image>Adjustments>Vibrance).
  • Variation: David Bowie notes in the retrospective book Moonage Daydream that after The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars hit big, his older albums Space Oddity and The Man Who Sold the World were rereleased with photos of him as Ziggy on the covers. The albums were folk rock and Heavy Metal respectively (as opposed to the Glam Rock of Ziggy), but "All this fuss actually put Oddity in the US Top Twenty, years after its original release."
  • The Dreamworks Face was born from this phenomenon.
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