Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Classical Retro Flavour

Notebook from an ALE-HOP store in Spain, 2014

Is imitation the highest form of praise? I guess it depends on how dodgy the result might be. Here's a notebook recently discovered in Spain, one of many similar kinds sold in the ALE-HOP chain of gift stores (where you can buy everything from kids puzzles to sunglasses and sex toys,side by side). Interestingly, also similar to a certain other book:

The Arrival, 2006

What gives away the plagiarism is not the idea, which at a glance looks generic enough - 'Classical Retro Flavor' as suggested (not unlike the funny 'Engrish' of Asian products my wife and I collect, although more Eurostyle here, 'Euringlsh'?). It's actually the details of spinal damage, which in my original cover were directly scanned from an old photo album sourced from a local museum in Perth and recomposed. The typography detail is a further giveaway. 

The Arrival is a fairly popular book in Spanish speaking countries, under the title Emigrantes, although the ALE-HOP notebook, produced by a company called Clavendia (who notably don't show images of their work online) is based on the slightly different English-language edition and probably draws files off the internet and run through a photoshop filter. Maybe the designer thought it was a relatively obscure foreign source and a safe target. Almost true: it only came to notice after being accidentally discovered by a family member on holiday.

Of course, there's a debateable grey area between 'heavy influence' and copying, but either way the absence of permission is a problem and presents an unwelcome issue for my publishers too. That said, I can't help but be amused by gratuitous type, almost a mini-review of The Arrival... not to mention the Euringlish spine type you can see on this scan of the back cover below: 'SMELL OF HAPPY'. Or perhaps just fishy.

Back cover of the ALE-HOP notebook

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