Kirkland Signature Re Imagined

Although I rarely feature student work on My Private Brand this re imagining of Costco’s iconic Kirkland Signature from the Art Center College of Design’s Packaging 2 spring term class is intriguing.

The students were tasked to redesign the brand. Grouped in threes, graphic designers, product, and packaging designers collaborated to create a new brand identity that speaks to a younger audience.

The designs are exciting in their naiveté and exuberance. It is fascinating to see what a group of students can imaging for a brand like Kirkland Signature. They have thrown out all cost, production and operational restrictions and simply imagined

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Kirkland-Live With Us

Kirkland Signature is Costco’s members only brand. They have a huge selection of products in their warehouse-style stores. The problem with that diversity of products is that the packaging of their items gets inconsistent and has a large portion of unnecessary text; what’s even worse is that they sell all their products in such a huge quantity, but they never paid much attention to how customer store or reseal the package. Our mission today is to create a better solution for their package design and freshen the brand.

Because Costco uses white light as their light source in the warehouse, which makes some color more vibrant in the situation, we try to avoid using bright or neon color combination when designing the package. To have a better solution, we used a very settle charcoal base color and gold as our primary color for the brand and each category has different color palate. Their current package design, especially food category, loves to use plastic bag or wrap that shrink around the product, which gives the customer a hard time when the package is opened. We created rigid cardboard boxes, that way, it is easier to restore or reuse, and elegant to look at even if they’re placed on kitchen’s counter.

The new Kirkland brings joy and wonder back into the home for those who appreciate a more refined lifestyle which will elevate the atmosphere and stimulate the senses. Kirkland presents consumers with boundless opportunities to discover unexpected moment.

This is the new Kirkland Signature, Live with us.

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Kirkland Signature is a brand name familiar to anyone who shops at Costco regularly. They offer a huge range of products inside of the wholesale warehouse chain. The problem with that diversity of products is that the packaging of their items gets inconsistent. There is also a bit of mimicking from their design of other mainstream brands.

Our group decided to go with a simplified, minimalistic overhaul to their packaging graphics and their brand identity. To this end, we decided to go with a white palette that was highlighted with a splash of color that would be different for each sub-category of product. This was further enhanced with the use of iconography to make each product line visually distinctive.

For the pet line of products, I focused on five items that were targeted towards dog owners. Dogs make up the majority of pets people own so I thought it would be important to focus on that demographic first. My process started with the dog food bag. The shape that I eventually came up with was a tear drop shaped bag with a custom dieline that bellowed out at the bottom and kept the top thin enough to apply a handle to the package. When it came time to apply graphics the bag left me with two large, flat panels on which I could lay out all the information I needed to. The sides of the bag could be complimentary to the overall graphic layout and secondary in importance.

The shape and graphic layout of the dog food helped me in designing the rest of my products. I applied a similar form to the dog shampoo, keeping that teardrop shape with gentle curves. The graphic layouts of the pet throw, absorbent pads, and dental chews mirror the dog food layout with large panels of white space supported by areas of blue color. The main goal was to keep all of the packages visually identifiable as pet items at a quick glance and to still retain the values of the new Kirkland brand as we saw it.

Designed by Derrick Chang, Evan Yabu, & Thomas Wibowo

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature focuses on providing to everyone’s needs. They carry all sizes, forms and shapes for all purposes. Our concept, Geosynergy (Geometric + Synergy), is proprietary to Kirkland Signature because it is the only retail store that directly sells on pallets. We wanted to create package designs that stack and link together with no wasted space and work as a unified structure. For instance, every bottle packaging has a hollow bottom where the cap lives within. With this, we are reducing extra materials for securing and shipping the items in pallets.

In addition, each sub-category has a color story to add as a way finding within the store. For the home products, we used the color orange to embody the warmth and vibrancy of a home. For the food products, the color green promotes healthy, natural, and fresh eating. For the health care products, the color blue represents relief and security.

We are innovating ways to organize, reduce and reuse packaging, and consciously utilizing space in how they are displayed and work as units in both stores and homes.

Designed by Debbie Bautista, Busarin Chumnong, & Molly Drill

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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.