Monday, January 12, 2009

Pictorial Pricetags

When I was first starting out at Trader Joe's in late 2003, the company was just beginning to experiment with hand-done graphics for its smaller signs. I was invited to design decorative price tags for every category of item in the store. These price tags are called "templates" because they are reproduced (by wax-transfer laser color copies) from the prototype and left blank so that the name and price of the product can be written in. I made dozens of mini-pictorials (they are 2 1/4" x 5 1/2") each telling a bit of a visual story about its category of products. These red ones were for the delicatessen section. We had an extensive color code in the refrigerated section which assigned a different color for each type of goodie, from cheese to meats to Mediterranean specialties, Mexican stuff, and even smoked salmon. The red labels were for fancy meats. These signs started with a computer-printed border in the appropriate color and then I drew the pictorial stuff over the printed area with markers, leaving the center blank for lettering. 

We still have decorative price tags at Trader Joe's, but not in such profusion, and the designs now are much more conservative.

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