They're Painting and shooting pics of the models anyway. Why pay extra for art? Even GW have stopped doing box art on everything but their battalions/battleforces in favor of pictures of the actual models...
I prefer box art to minis (photos of minis should be on the back). But if it's going to put the price up noticably then I prefer a plain brown "recycled" box with no art whatsoever and a crappy-looking label if it can be done for 10% cheaper . If it's just a matter of a few pence then I say go for the nice artwork.
Ok, so along with cutting costs, the standard box with model pictures also give SST products a homogenous look.
Also, I feel that several of the box art pieces detract from the product, by wither being too muddy or inaccurately portraying the model. For example, the basic plastic MI box, and the warrior bug box don't exactly showcase the product as you will be receiving it, and ascetically the covers don’t appeal much to me personally. The same goes for the hopper box, and while the tanker art is a lovely piece, it really isn’t the tanker that you’re getting in the box.
And I really can't say that the Reliant art, or the WASP art is an enticement to buy.
Oh, and can you imagine the buyer’s remorse if someone bought Stalwart Field Generators on the basis of cool box art?
I think painted pictures are an honest and good choice.
Right, but then you open the nifty box, and see four sticks... Buyer’s remorse.
Also, there's less need for lead-time and preparation. The minis are being painted anyway, as erion mentioned, so that's one less thing to commission, once again reducing cost, and getting us our models quicker.
And again, there's the cost savings in having mostly the same box, with sticker-pictures and descriptions, so Mongoose can order more in a run, and get a bigger discount from the supplier.
What about just making the front of the box transparent (at least a window under the product name) so we can see inside in the same way we can with a blister pack? No more getting it home and saying "aw heck, theres just these two sprues inside"
Box art can be cool, but I would say its probably better on big box sets where the artwork really snows out, a good example would be the mock ups of the 7th edition WHFB starter set, which has box art and also shows the miniatures and looks pretty nice.
Really in the end though, its going to hurt no one if mongoose decides to just snap a pic of their minis (which are painted so fine these days you can't complain) instead of paying an artist to make the front of the box and everything.
In the end I am going to be buying whats in the box anyway and the artwork on the front will probably just be thrown away...