Splitting Brand Consistency: A Graphic Design Consideration

“Brand consistency is overrated. The brand doesn’t have to look the same, but it has to feel the same. An element of newness and surprise is important for any brand.” — Andy Spade

There are certain brands you love; certain brands that just seem to do things right. It can be the big boys at Apple or a small restaurant in your neighborhood. If you like their product and they use an attractive visual language to inform and represent that product, they can turn customers into fans.

One of my favorite brands has always been Target. That bulls-eye is one iconic graphic element. But more than that they have been consistent with packaging, television commercials, and seasonal promotions. I look forward to their Halloween graphics every year. I love that Bull Terrier with the red target over its eye. I love getting snacks with their Archer Farms packaging. It is all attractive, different and it all feels like Target.

Andy Spade is correct that an element of newness is important, but I have questioned the recent change from Target brand paper and sundry products to their Up & Up brand. From what I buy, they seem to be the exact same products. I’m pretty disappointed with the design. It features a small rounded arrow icon with a whole lot of white space. The design is so generic that it seems that marketing decisions may have overridden design consistency. To me it doesn’t feel like Target.

Target has recently been under scrutiny for repackaging national brand name products in target packaging that is almost deceptively close to the original’s brand, package shape and color. Is this new brand a bald-faced attempt to tell us that they are now going to be more on the “Up & Up”?


Comment by Saya — 28 May, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Agree and Agree.

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