Brand Brief: Small Changes For Big Impact

There have been a lot of brands coming out in the last couple weeks with changes they're making with the intention treating our environment a little better. And now straws are on their way out.


Both Starbucks and McDonald's have announced they'll be phasing out  "single-use plastic straws". For both brands the unique straw designs (green and gold and red striped respectively) have been icons of their brands for years. If you saw someone drinking anything out of a clear cup with a green straw, you know they made a Starbucks run. But with companies opting out of plastic straws and some communities banning them, these brands do need to think about what you'll be sipping from next.


Starbucks is moving to a plastic lid for cold beverages, a bigger clear version of the white lid on their hot cups. And if you're asking yourself, like I was why a large plastic lid may be the answer: according to this article on, plastic straws can be recycled however they "can literally slip through the cracks when going through the recycling process." Whereas McDonalds is opting to test a compostable version of their iconic straw, one that would break down on it's own when it winds up in a landfill. It'll be interesting to which options customers favor. 

This churro straw might win me over


Fun Packaging Friday: Bullseye!

So, in case you missed it Target launched a new brand this week. And this time, it’s not a partnership with a famous designer. It’s the basics. It’s function and form. It’s simple and straight-forward. And it’s a Target-branded private brand.

Target has been known for making great design accessible. So why is this different? Because it’s designed to be functional first. Target Made by Design is a line of household basics created to work at a price point that works too. These are the products you need but Target gave them each a thoughtful benefit for the customer and a simple, timeless design that will compliment any style. Then counter to the philosophy of a “private brand”  Target incorporated their brand name and logo into their private brand. 


The packaging design itself is clean and Swiss Style influenced, but that is not new for Target. The messaging hierarchy is strong and clear making it easy to digest the product information quickly. The foundations of the messaging are short and sweet product names and one carefully chosen product feature, getting to the key reason to buy right away instead of overloading the customer with information. And somehow they have managed to choose the perfect shade of gray. Not too warm. Not too cool. And perfect contrast and legibility for both black and white text. Even the packaging is leading with function by focusing on the communication.

When it comes to developing private brands, it's long been the trend to develop a unique, differentiated positioning and product assortment that is proprietary to the retailer but is not immediately recognizable as being store-owned. This helps create credibility for each private brand and allows the flexibility for brands to speak to different customers within the same space. Again Target is breaking the mold here by connecting their Target Bullseye to the Made By Design brand. And it makes sense. The low price and high-functionality of this product line is separate from the design-focused product Target typically produces, to the Target mark helps to certify for the customer that this product is still design-savvy even at the low price.

This is truly a brand that was built on a strong foundation of positioning and strategy that has influenced every decision. From the simple, functional product to the clean and considered packaging design it’s clear that every detail was considered. There is a great article on the whys behind these decisions and the process on Fast Co. Design.

Brand Brief: Well(ness) That's Beautiful!

So last month Whole Foods got into the home decor game and I mentioned I thought it looked a bit like Anthropologie. Well this week Anthro set up The Wellness Shop. This shop within a shop opened earlier this week in 12 stores and online. The shop focuses on simple solutions for wellness mind, body and home. And true to the Anthro brand it includes a curated collection of beautiful products and niche brands.

These photos of in-store from Brit + Co. have me hoping that Milwaukee is on the short list to get one of the next Wellness Shops. The soft but earthy colors clean, light type feels like a palette you'd see at your trusted neighborhood yoga studio.

 The Wellness Shop at Anthropologie

The Wellness Shop at Anthropologie


And I feel like I've just hit a jackpot of beautiful packaging inspiration. The products themselves are interesting (um, there are water bottles with infusing crystals and space cleansing kits with sage!) and the packaging ranges from natural and handcrafted-feeling to clean, bold and witty. I've highlighted just a few of my favs, but I had a hard time choosing.