The Core tries to instil personality into Argos brand

Catalogue retailer, Argos, is undertaking a host of strategic design-led projects which will evolve the overall look of its multi-channel offering, as the retailer seeks to inject more ‘personality’ into the brand.

Argos has commissioned Hull consultancy, The Core, to look at ways of interpreting the Argos brand across its entire portfolio of printed collateral, including point-of-sale items, in-store elements, catalogues and promotional literature. The intention is to develop more of a personality for the brand and create a cohesive tone of voice, to give a greater synergy to Argos print materials. Sunita Yeomans, creative controller in the publications and new media department for Argos, is overseeing the project.

‘We want to look at how we can inject and create more of a personality for Argos. We have a pyramid brand in place, but the problem is how to apply this across our printed materials. The issue is how you interpret the brand into a creative execution,’ she says.

Yeomans may appoint another design consultancy to work in a strategic capacity on similar pipeline projects, adding, ‘It is important to keep a fresh approach for the work.’

Some of the main creative concepts for the project will be worked up from Argos’s relaunched Big One catalogue, which features new design elements by Taxi Studio, Jupiter, The Core and consulting by Unreal.

According to Alistair Whitely, creative director at The Core,’The creative lead will come from the mother ship, the Argos catalogue. Previously the Argos designs were done in a more sporadic way; a lot of the parts need fusing together.’

The project is in the early stages but the first raft of creative work is expected to emerge next month.

The Core is also redesigning Argos’s next catalogue, due to launch at the end of July. Another facelift is on the cards, with the overall aim of making ‘the publication sing’, adds Whitely. The jewellery and home and furniture sections will be developed with bespoke designs to reflect the different way consumers shop for the wide range of products in the Argos catalogue.

Argos is seeking to raise the profile of design across its business in general. The move comes as the retailer continues to face tough trading conditions.

In its latest financial statement, Argos Retail Group predicted that like-for-like sales will remain in decline for non-food and non-clothing throughout 2006. Total sales for the 14 weeks leading to 7 January increased by 9 per cent.

‘Design is really up there now and discussed in senior management meetings, it is recognised and talked about with a different perspective. I aim to continue to champion design from inside Argos,’ explains Yeomans.

Argos:

• Argos Retail Group, owned by GUS

• Argos sales in 2005: £3652m

• Chief executive, Terry Duddy

• 600 Argos stores nationwide

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