Branding at the Book Expo 2014

Walking around the Javits Center at the 2014 Book Expo, taking in the book covers, booth signage and branding of companies, some hanging down from the ceiling, one can be overwhelmed visually.

But after all these years, I have selective vision. I can scan quickly and be stimulated by the less is more factor. Booths that had a barrage of books didn’t catch my eye, but there were a few booths that designed some terrific, large scale posters and your eye could take that all in. They were also positioned at an angle which helped to draw even more attention to themselves.

This is effective advertising. Giving a select few serious real estate in a very crowded field.

Last year, I was a panelist at UpublishU, so I didn’t get a real chance to see all the major publishers, like I did yesterday. By the time that event is over many of the bigger publishers have started packing up.

Most of my book assignments are with indie authors, so walking around the Book Expo was quite an experience. I found that I was interested in seeing the book cover designs and meeting authors in person, but as a branding designer, I was most interested in the overall displays, 3D objects, and large scale banners, advertising a #1 New York Times best selling author.

Who’s got more klout? A best selling author that has many books and millions of followers or an actor who’s collaborated on a book for the first time? It was very interesting seeing the lines of people with a precious numbered card, waiting to meet the author and receive their signed book. I’d say the buzz was about even between actor, Jason Segal (Knocked Up and How I Met Your Mother) and Jodi Picoult (Leaving Time; see that gigantic banner hanging in the main hall in the photo below).

Before I went I downloaded the BEA Mobile app to my iphone and I must say it was terrific. Gave me alerts about different things happening and had a neat badge scanner I could use on the people I met who were instant added to my contacts. Great for when you have lost those business cards, right?

Many years ago, I was an art director for a few of the major book publishers in New York, so I had a very different perspective of the displays. My own cover designs would be up and I’d helped with the booth signage too. So, there was a sense of pride and competition to bring visitors in. But yesterday, I was a voyeur, someone who could review without bias and see what branding worked and what didn’t.

Here are some images from the Book Expo including a few fun ones: