Target Gets it Right - CINQ Creative

Target Gets it Right

November 22, 2011

As a father of a very enthusiastic five year old boy, this holiday season looks to be an exciting one. So, it was pandemonium when the holiday toy books starting arriving in our mailbox. And, from a designer’s standpoint, the Target Holiday Toy Book stood out from the rest. Here’s why.

Target Holiday Toy BookJust Plain Good Design

Target has always been at the forefront of great product and advertising design. And, the 2011 Holiday Book is no exception. It is a great mix of bold headlines, generous white space and pleasing images. They don’t try to shove as many products as they can “in your face” to try and make an extra buck…or save on printing costs.

But, it’s the little details that make this book stand out.

Why Has No One Ever Thought of This?

Target Ad 1The checkbox. Such a simple item, but never implemented until now.

For years, kids have circled their favorite items in the toy books. These circles tend to be difficult to see by parents, often leading to certain toys being left unnoticed. Target has made use of the basic checkbox to ensure that every “must have” toy has it’s spotlight in the eyes of parents. So simple….but so effective.

My son immediately took a marker and started coloring in the checkboxes of his favorite toys. He can easily mark which toy he would like, and we can make sure that we choose the right toy(s), not some “Polly Pees A-Lot Doll” just because a circled item was mistaken for another. Holiday mixup avoided.

The Coupon

Target Ad 1Another small detail that makes the Target book so effective, especially to parents, is the link between toys and available coupons.

Beside of many toys is a notice that the toy has an available coupon. So, no more paying $25 for a toy that little Timmy’s mom paid $18 for last week. And, in today’s economy, who can’t use that extra money after the holidays?

Another small, but smart detail.

The Dotted Lines

Target Ad 2The last detail that makes the Target stand out from the rest, is the dotted line.

Target has not only given each toy ample white space, but also handy guide lines for cutting them out. And, while many kids and parents may resort to the old “fold and tear” method, this gives the obsessive-compulsive parent like me the option to neatly cut out individual toy selections from the book.

This use of white space and guide lines can also help solve confusion, similar to the problem of items being circled in error mentioned above.


While many people may see these additions to the 2011 Target Holiday Toy Book as minor, designers understand that the little details are what separate successful from average campaigns. I applaud Target, and the firm behind their campaign, for taking the time to develop a truly successful publication. Your efforts are appreciated by this OCD designer and parent.