Bright yellow is a color that gets noticed. That's what market researchers told the team at Barron's Educational, when the publisher was trying to find the best new look for its line of foreign language reference titles. The information was taken to heart; the publisher recently unveiled a uniform look for the category, giving its titles yellow covers, in some cases made out of a durable plastic material.

According to Barron's Educational marketing director Lonny Stein, the decision to overhaul the line was made last year. While Barron's has published in the category for years, Stein said the house had never bothered to give its titles a unified look. Unlike in the test prep space, where he said Barron's "had a big success in branding," the house's foreign-language reference books have been published with varied jacket designs.

Now, after releasing new editions of some of its bilingual language titles last year featuring the new look, the company decided to make it the standard for all the house's titles in the category. Since fall 2006 Barron's has released 18 titles under the new visual rubric. Four of them feature "plasticized" covers that are water and dirt resistant. The bilingual dictionaries also come with a free electronic version, which can be downloaded from the publisher's site to a consumer's PDA or computer.

Although the durable covers, ideal for traveling students, cost more to manufacture than traditional paperbacks, Stein said the publisher needed to make these books stand out. "The bilingual dictionary market is very competitive," Stein said. "We wanted something that would stand out not just in look but also in feel." Despite the higher manufacturing costs, prices for the line have not changed. Noting that sales for the new editions have been strong, Stein said that 10 more will be published in fall 2007. From now on, reissued titles will also feature the bright yellow covers with blue band, a look Barron's hopes will be a well-recognized one on the shelf.