Quadrille Publishing Ltd, 2013
The doyenne of all things vintage, the ‘Cath Kidston’ brand is now recognised by more than 50% of women between the ages of 16 and 65. (Sanderson, 2013). The primary purveyor of ‘kitchenalgia’, her floral prints and cute polka dots have come to represent an idealised notion of a 1950s housewife and a life of afternoon tea that modern, working women idealise and seek comfort in. (Wood, 2009). ‘Coming Up Roses’ celebrates twenty years of the ‘Cath Kidston’ brand and is due for release in April 2013. It also ties in with a range of the company’s other wares that all sell under the ‘Coming Up Roses’ label as part of the same celebratory theme.
While undoubtedly successful, I think this cover design fails somewhat. The white section, with the title printed in a bold, red, sans-serif typeface, flies in the face of all things ‘Kidston’. The brand has made its name through its use of delicate patterns and motifs, so this design seems uncharacteristically bold and modern.
What is unclear from the image is that the title is actually printed on a white wrap-around band that folds inside the cover. Once the band is removed, we are left with the typical, floral pattern, which is printed onto an imitation cloth cover and the title stamped on the spine in red; it has regained the feminine delicacy that is typical of the brand. While not a complete failure, I think that the designer could have retained more subtlety and perhaps thought through the impact of the cover when viewed as an online thumbnail; the wrap-around band looks as though it is just a thick, white section and is jarring.
This is a celebratory book and the huge, ardent, female audience has allowed the production of a book which stands apart. The title stamping, the application of a customised imitation cloth cover and a printed, de-bossed wrap-around band will have incurred a higher production cost. The signed edition even comes packaged a presentation box, wrapped in the company’s signature ‘Antique Rose’ wallpaper. Given the brand’s popularity, cult following and strong sales history of £53.1m in 2011(Goldfingle, 2012), a high sales volume is almost guaranteed; this would easily justify the extra costs and allowing for elevated production values.