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
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Minimalist cover consisting of one symbolic object against a dark background◊
- The aforelinked Wuthering Heights cover. They've also done some others.
- The UK covers to the new Vampire Diaries bind-ups
- A new bind-up of V.C. Andrews's incest classics Flowers in the Attic and Petals in the Wind.
- Aprilynne Pike's Wings. The color scheme is different, but let's see here: One lone (preferably floral) image in the middle of the cover? Check. Curly font title? Check. Blurb from Stephenie Meyer? Check.
- Cyn Balog's Fairy Tale.
- Janni Lee Simner's Bones of Faerie.
- Cynthia Leitich Smith's Eternal.
- Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy.
- Elizabeth Chandler's Dark Secrets series and Kissed By An Angel trilogy got bind-up re-releases with solitary ~symbolic~ items on a black background.
- Check out the new cover for Marianne Curley's Old Magic.
- Arguably The Warrior Heir cover. Arguable, because it came out only a year after Twilight, before it really hit big.
- In a strange inversion, the 2004 paperback◊ of Holly Black's Tithe looks more Twilight-y than the recent re-design. Perhaps that was intentional...
- Compare the current cover of Blue Is For Nightmares with the original 2003 edition. Though not vastly different, the composition is very clearly Twilight-ish.
- The From Hell anthologies. Of course, Stephenie Meyer contributed a story to Prom Nights From Hell.
- Alex Flinn's Beastly
- Maggie Stiefvater's Books of Faerie''.
- The teaser poster to The Vampire's Assistant (based on the first three Darren Shan books). Because, hey, vampires!
- Even modern classic theological texts aren't safe! C. S. Lewis' Words to Live By◊.
- Carrie Adams's The Stepmother◊.
- Dan Shapiro, Delivering Doctor Amelia
- A tomato flavored spin with Hans Rueffert's Eat Like There's No Tomorrow
- Susan Fraser King's Lady Macbeth.
- Melissa's Marr's book Wicked Lovely and it's sequel Fragile Eternity
- Abra Ebner's Parallel: The Life of Patient 32185.
- Bree Despain's The Dark Devine.
- The various covers from The Immortals series by Alyson Noel.
- Subverted/parodied beautifully with Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth, which uses a Twilight-inspired cover to draw in the audience who needs to hear the book's message the most.
- Annoyingly, the new Corgi covers◊ of the Discworld novels look like this, even though they started this in 2004, the year before Twilight was published.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-in books have been released in new omnibus editions, with covers that look suspiciously like the Twilight collector's editions (white cover, solitary object, red and black detail). Even more suspiciously, they were released at a similar time to the Twilight editions, and have been shoved in the 'Twilight rip-off' sections of UK bookstores, along with the new editions of the Vampire Diaries and Wuthering Heights.
- Fifty Shades Of Grey is a particularly interesting example of this, considering that it started out as a Twilight fanfic.
Literature/Harry Potter-inspired examples
"The Other Boleyn Girl"-inspired
The Da Vinci Code-inspired examples
Comic Book-inspired examples
- Penguin has been hiring respected comic book artists to do covers on their Classics line.
- 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.
- 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.
- Private Eye has recently started a column about this phenomenon called "Bookalikes", although they occasionally branch into other media such as album covers.
- Fifty Shadesof Grey has tons of these, even with similar titles.
- The various Penguin books. Interesting in that all of their books have the same style of cover which are collectively updated once every few years. So by just looking at the cover, you can guess when a book was printed even if you can't see any other distinguishing feature.