Private Brand Cosmetics From American Eagle

Portland Oregon based design firm and branding agency Ziba created new packaging design for Aerie Private Brand cosmetics by American Eagle. According to a case study on Ziba’s website:

Aerie’s primary focus was affordable undergarments delivered through their inspiring, fun and flirty brand. While Aerie, a sister brand of American Eagle Outfitters, was looking to expand their reach. Aerie’s primary focus was affordable undergarments delivered through their inspiring, fun and flirty brand. While Aerie had ventured into personal care products, they saw an opportunity to extend their brand even further through color cosmetics.

Aerie had selected a color cosmetics line packed with botanical extracts such as the yumberry. With a strong ingredient story in place, Aerie approached Ziba to create a visual identity for their color cosmetics packaging.

From the start, we knew we had to achieve a delicate balance of “natural.” The Aerie brand was neither crunchy granola nor sultry sexy. On this spectrum, we located a midpoint—feminine romantic—that was appropriate to the Aerie brand and would speak to Aerie’s consumers, women aged 20 – 22.

A New Botanical Icon
Working within an expedited timeframe, the design team held multiple full day art sessions at an off-site art studio to create artwork that could be applied to the packaging. The designers experimented in different mediums such as watercolors, pastels, pencils and ink. The output of these sessions was scanned and used in digital brainstorms to generate the visual identity for Aerie cosmetics.

We selected one of the illustrated flowers generated in the art sessions to serve as the icon to unify the different package types—from eye shadow palettes to lip gloss tubes to eyeliner pencils—and differentiate the color cosmetics line within the Aerie stores. The strong brand palette (a vibrant blue, deep purple, nuanced green, rich brown) mirrored the eye shadow palettes and lent visual pop to the packaging, delivering on the promise of feminine romantic.

Success: Exceeding the Plan
The Aerie color cosmetics line outperformed planned sales by 150% with eye shadow palettes selling through at a whopping 500% over the plan. The flower became an icon that translated across new mediums—showing up on point-of-sale displays throughout the Aerie retail stores.



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Christopher Durham

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.