Fifty2 – The MPB Project: OfficeMax – Tul

“Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project,” will present a carefully curated look at the best Private Brands in the U.S. across all retail channels. The weekly series presents a look at one great Private Brand with insight, analysis and original photography. I am looking for retailer-owned private labels that are BRANDS. Brands that bring their positioning and business purpose to life through: great design, purpose, expertise, confidence, emotion, lifestyle and innovation.

To submit a brand for consideration please email

OfficeMax - Tul - FrontTul

In 2006 Naperville, Illinois-based office supply retailer OfficeMax launched the company’s first design-based Private Brand, TUL. The groundbreaking brand included a selection of premium Modernist Design-inspired pens and dry-erase markers. With TUL OfficeMax made the leap from selling “me-too” private label products to creating and managing Brands.

The name, contemporary logo, design and visual voice are punctuated by the brushed metal brand color and sleek modern package design, which perfectly frames the product design. The retailer demonstrates remarkable restraint and focus resisting the urge to clutter the package with the multiple features, attributes and callouts that plague traditional private label. With TUL’s clear, minimalist packaging, the product shines and consequently the Brand is a star.

Six years after its introduction TUL continues to grow and evolve in May OfficeMax announced plans to take two of its Private Brands, TUL and DiVOGA, and evolve them into national stand-alone brands selling them at other retailers. In October the retailer introduced the second-generation of its TUL branded pens. The new line of pens includes four new products that uphold the brand’s reputation for delivering performance-driven and sophisticated designs.

“Over the past eight years, TUL has become the preferred premium brand of writing instruments and desk accessories for many of our customers because of the great design, performance and value it provides,” said Ronald Lalla, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at OfficeMax. “Our new collection of TUL pens provides both consumers and business customers with multiple designs that deliver exceptional writing experiences time and time again.”

Brand: Tul
Brand Focus:


Naperville, Illinois 

2011 USA Retail Sales ($000):
2011 Stores:

To submit a brand for consideration please email

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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.