Need a Last-Minute Gift? Pick up a Private Brand Work of Art at Target

Target_0007_8From elegant edibles and beauty sets to crowd-pleasing gift cards, Minneapolis-based Target’s last-minute gift selection is a procrastinator’s dream.

Sure you can blitz through the aisles grabbing this and that at random, but Target’s Product Design and Development team would prefer you linger a little longer and discover their private brand treasures. Why? There are so many details to discover — the simplest objects are actually the product of a complex creative journey. That little ornament you’re eyeing? It began as a drawing on pen and paper.

Target’s official blog “A Bullseye View” sat down with two of Target’s most festive designers, Kristin Nohe and Liz Apple, to get the inside scoop on how pieces from the home holiday assortment came to life. From ornaments to holiday serving platters and more, Kristin and Liz are the dynamic duo behind much of the artwork and lettering you see across the assortment.

Target_0009_10“Our workspace is filled with mood boards, swatches and product prototypes; we even have a ‘wall of awesome’ full of things that inspire us most; works of art, magazine tearouts — in other words, the space is really conducive to the creative process.” said Kristin Nohe, associate designer, Product Design and Development, Target. “So much of what you see on Target’s shelves starts out as an idea or a sketch that was formed right here in our studio in Minneapolis.”

The team starts tracking trends and gathering kernels of inspiration as much as 15 months in advance. (That means they’re already scheming for Holiday 2015!). This year, they tuned-in to a nostalgia trend with a modern twist. “Everything starts with a sketch,” said Liz Apple, designer, Product Design and Development, Target. “Kristin and I sketch everything from icons to lettering – which we then scan in to the computer, add color and texture and apply to the product that you see on Target shelves.”

Target_0005_6The pieces pictured below reflect an array of inspiration sources, like flea markets, antique shops, museums and more. They also point to trends spotted at the Christmas world holiday trade show, an annual event held in Frankfurt, Germany that helps shape the creative direction of upcoming holiday seasons on a global scale.

But at their core, these private brand products stem from an artist’s vision. Liz, a graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, and Kristin, an illustration major from the Maryland Institute College of Art, used a wax crayon to create the drawings of the Santa Claus and reindeer, and a pen to hand-letter the “cookies” and “cocoa” text shown throughout the slideshow below. “Since so many products are created solely via computer these days, the hand-drawn aspect humanizes our work and gives the finished product an extra touch of warmth,” said Kristin.

Browse the gallery below to see the fruits of the their labor



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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.