Designing for context – Criterion Collection DVD covers

These Criterion DVD covers are a great example of designing for context, or redesigning, as it were. First-run movie posters have a different job. The potential audience likely knows little about the film, so the poster needs to communicate the salient information quickly and cleanly:

  • What’s it about?
  • Who’s in it?
  • When can I see it?
  • What’s the movie’s “feeling”

For a broad release DVD, many of the same questions need to be answered with the case cover. But for Criterion, the movies they release are likely well known by the audience and the cover needs to be more focused on communicating a connection to the aura and experience cinephiles associate with the film. And something that is designed as an object of devotion since the Criterion DVD is something to collect rather than simply consume and discard. So, we get something that’s more akin to a book cover.