The 2 Biggest Questions About the Target Redesign

Penina Finger By Penina Finger  |  Dec. 31, 2013

The dust hasn’t settled on the new redesign: the Web (OK, well, the web design community and a few actual Target customers) are looking for answers:

  1. Why, Target? Why?
  2. Who is responsible?

The first question may be a little easier to address, since Target has now responded to the criticism. They insist the redesign is based on pre-launch testing and positive post-launch traffic and sales, and promise to keep making adjustments as they learn more. Connections are also being drawn to the end of Target’s reliance on the Amazon website platform.

The answer to the second question is more of a closely-guarded secret. AdFreak checked in with some notable digital agencies known to be working with Target (Olson, SapientNitro, Huge, Razorfish), and all denied involvement. According to AdFreak, some said they believed the redesign was handled in-house.


An interesting comment on the Jezebel website by a friend of a past Target employee is a little chilling. Admittedly, we don’t know the full story behind why someone in management would address improvement suggestions by telling the designer, “not to bother.” Still, anyone with corporate experience is probably reading these words with a mixture of bitterness and resignation. In fairness to Target’s in-house team, the mess probably has more to do with pressure from above.

While it’s pragmatic to stop at, “this was tested: this is what worked.” It’s just as practical to recognize that testing still needs to be coupled with basic, purposeful design principles. Target in particular has been setting itself apart from the other big box stores for years with its emphasis on better design. In that light, this can also be considered a failure beyond visual identity, to brand.

In case you were curious, in an AdFreak follow-up piece, Target Defends Homepage Redesign but Still Won’t Say Who Did It.

Writers aren’t too happy about the whole Big Red Periods thing, either.


Are you responsible for the redesign? Would you admit it if you were? Let us know in the comments.