Presentation , judging a book by it's cover.

So this post isnt about pointing out the merits and flaws of a system. It's about aesthetics. Lets begin with 4th edition and go from there. First off, I love 4th edition, infact I love pretty much all RPGs. The singular thing I do not like about 4th edition is the quality of the books. Let me explain a bit. Fourth edition books are bound terribly. I'm quite the collector of books so when a book I buy new isnt in perfect condition is irritates me to no end. 4th edition books have this way of opening and the first page or so lays out and you see the glue this usually happens at the end of the book as well. This is simply unacceptable. I can not understand how the high quality binding of 3rd edition books led to the 4th edition books of today. The only reason I can think of is switching binding companies. The 5th edition books need to be higher quality than 4th edition.

That being said I have no problem with the essentials books. I didnt think I would but I LOVE the digest versions of the books. Many rpgs are doing this now such as Song of Ice and Fire books, as well as castles and crusades. The digest books are simple to carry around and I like that a lot. Also the cost is lower which is good.

Now, cover art. 4th edition's cover art is definitly not bad, but it seems like a game manual. I understand it IS a game , however coming from third edition the core books felt AMAZING and were simply nice to look at. The books felt like ancient tomes. This needs to happen in 5th edition, the books need to draw in the crowd and honestly I would much rather look at 3rd edition books rather than 4th's 2nd's or firsts. But then again it may just be me...

The interior art of the book is probably a factor of people hating 4th edition. I'm aware this isnt entirely logical , however the point remains you spend more time with a book that is pleasent to look at. 4th edition's interior is extremely bland. Sure it's nice and concise but seeing white space everywhere is not preferable. 3rd editions interior design again looked like they were very old. This draws people into the fantasy. 4th edition captured none of that and probably suffered for it.

Also I have heart reports of ink smudging , however I have had none of those experiences, but I am extremely carefull with my books so it may exist, it just hasnt happened to me.

So anyway, that's my opinion on the physical books. They need to be bound much better, and look like the game it's intending to portray.
I would agree.  4E's book design reeks of an attempt to be 21st-century, the same way a bunch of websites around the same time shifted to garish pure white color palettes.  It's too clean and too pastel for a fantasy book.  In contrast, 3.5 books feel like volumes of magic or tales depicting legends, from the parchment tones of the pages to the intricate cover art.  The primarily brown palette creates both a sense of hominess, something you can pluck off a shelf and flip through, and a sense of wonder and mystery, something you want to crack open and see what's inside.  A return to that art style would go a long way towards making 5E's books regain that sense of wonder.
Art- and presentation-wise, I definitely preferred 3.5 era books.  The tome design just seemed right; D&D lost something of its character in the 4e book cover design, IMO.  (Disclosure: I am not a "3.5 grognard" who refused to play 4e.  Played it, enjoyed it.  Just didn't like its art).  Similarly, I preferred the table layouts for classes and PrCs in 3.5.
I loved the 3/3.5 ed books. The art is one of the reasons I bought them and got back into the game after not playing for many years. The paper texture and the mix of color and b&w images is spot on. And I love the covers. I tried to convince my group that the covers were photographs, but I'm not sure they believed me. Awesome idea and execution.

Not a fan of the 4ed books. My main complaint is that most of the images are posed figures. There are few fantasy scenario scenes compared to previous versions. 

Also the typesetting and graphical treatment of the 4ed books is terrible. Header graphics that look like they've been cut off and such. 
3.5 doesn't have tan coloured pages, it has white pages with black print. It has borders and tan coloured guide lines beneath the print.

I hope wotc sticks with white pages with black print.
i honestly cant stand the 3rd edition fonts and covers
3.5 doesn't have tan coloured pages, it has white pages with black print. It has borders and tan coloured guide lines beneath the print.

I hope wotc sticks with white pages with black print.

me too, because the old design while nice, actually decreases reading comprehension and retention. Based on decades of research and testing.
I suppose I'd like a hybrid of 3rd and 4th edition book styles. I like the clarity within the tomes, but I rather enjoyed the "looks like an ancient awesome book" look that the 3.5 PHB, DMG, MM and various other supplements possessed. I think it'd be neat if Wizards set forth with the goal to make good, interesting, distinct books in such a pattern for the whole edition.

But I demand that the books be uniform. Like in 4e. There's one thing you can say 4e did right; all the books follow the same basic schematic on the outside design (other than Essentials).
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
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