I met the Costco design team at the In-house InTherapy dinner at last year’s InHOWse conference. Their passion, commitment and focus on solving the problems they encountered at work – not complaining about them – was truly impressive. It’s important to put their graphic achievements below into the context that they face tight deadlines, deal with multiple stakeholders and, like most in-house teams, have access to limited resources. These facts make their work all the more striking.
Costco.com is a growing and successful arm of the Costco business, and with it, has grown a lean and efficient in-house design department. That department develops a wide variety of marketing materials and content that are of high-quality, but presented with the same simplicity and directness that Costco members have come to expect from the warehouse shopping experience.
Costco is known for it’s top-quality items and bulk quantities at significant discounts, and Costco.com has expanded that business to include a virtual treasure hunt of items that are primarily not available in the warehouse. In order to share that with our members, our 10-person design team turns over multiple custom landing pages, emails and banner ads each week, updates to the Flash feature on the homepage daily, 3 or more custom emails each week with dozens of featured items or services represented.
We also create a variety of print pieces, including a monthly ten to thirty page section in The Costco Connection Magazine , a lifestyle magazine for Costco Members, 6 mini catalogs year, a monthly section in Costco’s coupon book and more. Recently, we have also moved into designing in-warehouse marketing pieces, semi-annual catalogs of business products, custom greeting cards for the Costco Photo Center, high-quality HD videos of product and services, promos for Facebook, mobile devices and even a spot on the NASDAQ tower! In addition, we also produce a variety of promotional designs, emails and page updates for Costco.ca, the Canadian website for the Costco business, and all of that is done in both English and French! Our production designers also roll out all of the product imagery that shows up on both the Costco.com and Costco.ca sites, and the products are in a constant state of turnover.
By the numbers, in 2010 our output included, combining our work for US and Canada, 13 Costco Connection magazine spreads, 43 mailers and print pieces, 130 videos, 199 html emails, 532 web projects, and 90,269 production images for the site. All this work requires extreme efficiency and a constant fire hose of creativity and dedication. At Costco we like to keep things simple, therefore we have numerous opportunities to try and push the envelope, inside of our limitations and still remain consistent and true to the Costco brand.