Costco and the food equivalent of the Hummer and the Prius

I’m just getting started on this blog thing, so go with me here. Some of my posts will simply be fun and somewhat impromptu impressions.

kashi-u-3004utz-cheese-balls4Was reminded again on Sunday of what a great place Costco is. Amazing variety. How many stores let you to leave with a bag of Scott’s Turf Builder, a bunch of socks, some salad dressing, snow tires, and a hot roast chicken all in the same cart. Its also an unrivaled place to watch people and the way they interact with products and packaging, as well as a place to do mandatory homework. For those of us in the package design industry, Costco and the other warehouse stores like it, have become most of our client’s second largest customer. Number one goes without saying.  

I was wandering down one aisle near the back when two very different products caught my eye. The only thing they shared beyond proximity was the letter U in their names. Also the typographer in me couldn’t help but notice they shared a similarity in the look of the hand lettered font for the two logos on the front panels. Perhaps Mr. Landor and Mr. Rand might think that the term logo is a bit of an exaggeration in this case. 

They were right across the aisle from one another and yet couldn’t be more different. A 32 ounce plastic barrel of Utz Cheese Balls, a decadently great combination of corn meal, vegetable oil and whey, and Kashi U, a whole grain breakfast cereal in a kraft board box printed by a company that “offsets its electricity use with non-polluting windpower.”

This was truly the food equivalent of the Hummer and the Prius side by side on the shelf. You decide, what a country!


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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