Best Buy Raises the Bar With A New Chief Design Officer

Best Buy today named Aura Oslapas, senior vice president and chief design officer, effective Sept. 15, 2010. In her new role, Oslapas will lead Best Buy’s design and brand identity team worldwide. This is an impressive move for a company who feels both Walmart and Target nip at its technological heels. It should be the exciting to see the impact this hire will have on Private Brands at Best Buy. Perhaps a compelling brand that solves my technological nightmares or a Private Brand e-reader that blows away the Kindle.

“Aura is a highly creative design leader,” said Barry Judge, Best Buy executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “She is able to bring forth progressive, customer-centered programs that define product and service offerings while being grounded in research and solid creative. Best Buy believes that great design is a key component of delivering unique brand experiences that resonate with customers and drive market share. Her ability to combine design and innovation will help us reach customers in new ways.”

Oslapas has more than 25 years experience in design, most recently serving as principal of A+O Design Methods, a boutique design agency in San Francisco. During her career, Oslapas has held leadership positions at organizations such as Esprit de Corp, IDEO and Stone Yamashita Partners. She has served a variety of consumer and technology clients, including Hewlett-Packard, Target, Liz Claiborne, Apple, Logitech, McDonald’s and Amtrak. In addition, her work has been recognized with awards from IDEA/BusinessWeek, AIGA (the professional organization for graphic design) the American Institute of Architects, ID and Interiors Magazine.

Oslapas holds a BFA in industrial design from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from Cranbook Academy of Art. She also was the founding chair of the Industrial design program at California College of Arts in San Francisco.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.