First, we agreed that custom printing still held a place of power in the marketing mix in this particular store. We had seen brochures, a tabloid newspaper showcasing people and products from Shinola, and Nordstrom look books (print books used to showcase style but without price notations). Their overall mood and design complemented the signage in the department store as well as the labels and tags attached to the merchandise. Custom printing was alive.
We also agreed that the goal was a specific “look” that defined and promoted the brand values. Although this sounds like marketing voodoo, the approach made sense when broken down into its component parts. Showcasing attractive young models engaged in everyday activities while clad in clothes and accessories from the major brand, the tabloid, brochures, and catalogs played to the viewer’s need for affiliation.
Perhaps the reader would think subconsciously about the models in the look books, and want to be like them, share the finer things in life, pursue the same sports, promote the same causes. Perhaps they would start by dressing like the people in the look books and decorating their homes in the same way. My fiancee and I saw items in the store such as vases, wall hangings, and cooking supplies that would complement the shirts, pants, dresses, and accessories in the store as well as the large format print and digital signage that echoed the same look.
We noticed that in the home furnishing section there were many items that spoke to the prevalence of words in our culture. There were individual letters cut out of print books with either lasers or mechanical cutting devices. An entire hard-cover book, for instance, had been cut into the letter “G.” Then there were relief metal letters affixed to a wood backing. These could be arranged to make words: the design equivalent of scrabble.