Range architecture learning from Steg Larrson’s “The Girl with the” books

I saw the poster below at the train station today. I thought it was a good example of a clear "range architecture".

A lot of the work I see on range architecture still seems to be "powerpoint strategy": complex and theoretical models and strategies that work on paper, but not necessarily on the supermarket shelf. A better idea is to mock your ideas up, put them on a shelf and see if they work.

Here's what we can learn from the "The Girl with the.." books:

1. Create brand consistency

There's a clear brand here in the shape of "The Girl with the.." by Steg Larrson. The brand is executed consistently across the 3 books in terms of: i) position and typeface of the title and author, ii) use of visual + title on coloured background, iii) position of the reviews at the top of the page.

I like the way the ad from the publisher reinforces the brand and encourages buying the series by asking "Which girl do you want for Xmas?".

2. The power of brand properties

Beyond the naming of the books, brand consistency is also achieved by the "tattoo" visuals. And the mysterious, intriguing style of photography.

3. Clear visual navigation

The books also help the shopper easily navigate the range, with a different visual of the girl and a different colour used for each. We spend ages dreaming up fancy product names. Yet when we shop most of us buy "the red one" or "the blue one" in a range. Navigation should be "intuitive" by using visual cues, not loads of text.

The only thing I would have added perhaps is "Part 1", "Part 2" and "Part 3" of the trilogy, to aid buying them in the right order.

In conclusion, range architecture is about striking the right balance between brand consistency and ease of navigation. And the best way to work on this subject is to mock up your new range and try it out, not rely on powerpoint.