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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 takes 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.

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, which is this trope taken to the point to quasi-marketing fraud.


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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 as 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.

    Harry Potter-inspired examples 

    The Other Boleyn Girl-inspired 

    The Da Vinci Code-inspired examples 

    Millennium-inspired examples 
Black cover with a red outline and an oval portrait in the middle. Many modern Scandinavian crime novels have gotten this treatment following the success of the Millennium Series (in France at least).

    Comic Book-inspired examples 

    Other Examples 
  • Ever since The Tipping Point was published, academic-style nonfiction books with a white cover showing off a simple household object are common.
  • 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 CS5 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."
  • Since the success of The Great British Bake Off, check out the baking section in any British bookshop and you will see GBBO-aping bunting-inspired artwork and the Mostra Nuova Bold typeface everywhere.
  • Back in The '80s and The '90s, every UK publication of a humorous fantasy novel needed to have a cover by Josh Kirby, or failing that a cover by someone who looked like Josh Kirby (Fangorn's Myth Adventures covers are a good example, especially since that's not his normal style), in order to say "Hey! If you love Terry Pratchett, you'll probably ... find these worth flicking through while you wait for the next one". This was particularly unfair on authors who were arguably just as good as Sir Terry, but had a completely different sense of humour.
  • Since the publication of The Dry (later filmed), many Australian crime novels have developed very similar covers, with photographs of rural areas fading to black and long, narrow, sans-serif titles in white.