The Chicago Sun Times had a few great quotes in an article discussing the importance of “looks” (or packaging) for DVD sales.
“95 percent of the time when a DVD has unique packaging, it turns out a bigger winner than we could anticipate. An awesome combination is having great content and a great package.” (Vince Szydlowski, Virgin Entertainment)
“The main factor that comes into play is whether a more unusual package will better communicate the features on a DVD.” -Justine Brody, New Line
Seems like the DVD industry has a good grip on the value of distinguishing products with visual communication. Most importantly, they recognize that a successful product has both great content and great presentation, and that the presentation needs to be appropriate and reflective of the content it is presenting.
I discussed the value of a distinct personality in a chapter of Site-Seeing on personality design (or look and feel): “Not only does being unique distinguish you from the competition, it, more importantly, helps to explain who you actually are. A recognizable Web site personality can define a business and reinforce familiarity. After all, if something is distinct, you tend to remember or at least recognize it…” Read the full chapter in PDF.