Cleanup on Aisle 5
Note: Since this article was first written in 2006, WalMart has completely redesigned their Great Value brand twice. Maybe they read this post?
I just have to get this off my chest. It’s been grinding at my soul for several years now, and I can’t escape confessing this.
Since I live in a very small town, there’s only one place for starving designers to shop. You guessed it…Wal-Mart. I think I can overcome my ideological and moral issues associated with supporting the world’s largest corporation, but I just can’t handle one more day of their in-store brand design. “Great Value” products are driving me insane.
At first I was simply stunned that a company with all that money couldn’t come up with better design for their own store brand. The “Great Value” font is nasty when it’s readable and the photography/printing is depressing. It just exudes cheap, not “value” and certainly not “great”. I’m sure the work was done in-house at Wal-Mart, and the designers were well intentioned with a “need it yesterday” boss breathing down their necks. But a first year design student could do better. What does this communicate about Wal-Mart? Why don’t they understand how design can impact their business like Target?
Now that’s more like it! Great design used in a practical way. Design doesn’t have to be so “pie in the sky” altruistic to touch people’s heart. If we had a Target where I live and prices were competitive, I’d never look at another Great Value box of pasta again. In fact, I’ve even toyed with the idea of spending a couple of hours designing a new Great Value brand and more than a couple of hours driving to Wal-Mart headquarters to show them what design can do. But a blog post will have to suffice. I feel better now.
Gotta run, looks like I’m low on milk.