Target In-House Design Dept?

Hi all:

Was just wondering if anyone has interned, worked at or knows of a designer who works at Target Corporation in their in-house design department?

I am moving to the Twin Cities soon to pursue new career opportunities and branch out from there (that is if I can’t find work in Minneapolis/St. Paul area).

I am extremely fond of their house brands or “owned brands” as they call it internally. I feel like I would be a good fit there; and there seem to be lots of product categories to work in (and move around over time).

I’d appreciate any insight into their culture, management styles, pros/cons, etc or a referral to someone who can assist.

Thanks!

-Eameser

I only have anecdotal experience, but having lived here for 17 years I can say there are some formed opinions of Target here.
They do good work, they employ a ton of people, and locally they sponsor almost everything one of the other F500 companies don’t.

I do know that they tend to churn through people quickly, especially younger workers straight out of college. They do have in-house designers for most of their in-house brands, but again, lots of turnover. I’ve worked on several projects mostly on the architecture side of their business. During the 6 months span of one project, there were 3 different PMs, 2 different architects, and 2 different Creative Directors. Just to give you an idea.

They do really know how to run meetings, though! And I believe they teach that from within.

It’s good work, but I guess I wouldn’t expect to retire there. Having worked there does tend to open doors elsewhere, though. Most agencies, architecture firms, EGD firms, display designers, etc., have at least 1 person who’s worked for Target.

Again, all anecdotal, and if anyone does actually work in house at Target and wants to chime in, I’d love to be proven wrong.

Thanks, NURB (Chris).

I do appreciate your own perspective and experience with the organization. I can definitely imagine a lot of turnover there; mostly because (this too is anecdotal based on what I’ve seen/heard over the years as a design professional) most young designers may be more inclined to use them as a stepping stone to move onto bigger and better. Not to mention, I have heard it’s harder to get young designers to move to the Midwest in general (even though I love the Twin Cities; it doesn’t have the same appeal as flashy Los Angeles or NYC or trendy San Fran/Portland/Seattle). For the record, I am not a “young designer” but neither am I old. : ) But I am more inclined to seek out longevity and stability; and am attracted to corporate environments especially if they have in-house brands; which is where I have the most experience.

Hopefully someone else can chime in. You definitely don’t read a lot about working at Target on here in the forums (I did a thorough search!). : )

-Eameser

I have had several interactions with designers from Target in my time here in the Twin Cities. One of them who recently left after many years with the company characterized design at Target as a “support function for the companies overall merchandising approach to new product development.”

Target is not an innovator of anything new, but places its design resources at the heart of supporting marketing campaigns that promote more and more skus. The design engineers that I worked with there were quite complacent and lacked the kind of creativity that I am used to in my work as a designer.

The ideas you will be asked to pursue and support by Marketing will leave you wanting to leave Target I am afraid.

If you are seeking out longevity and stability, Target may appear be just the place for you. In this post Coronavirus era with massive unemployment that we are now entering however, these tropes and norms are all being redefined for large head count design groups like Target…

Hi Designbreathing,

Thanks for your input. I do get what you are saying; if I understood you correctly and I can honestly say that at this stage in my career, I would be open to designing product that isn’t necessarily innovative (yes, I know… hush yo’ mouth!!!), but more aesthetically and functionally driven; and beautifies the home environment. I’ve been considering the housewares market for years and am leaving a very well-known company (I will keep that private for now) that pushes innovation left and right. I was kind of growing tired of it honestly; and realized I had wanted to go more into a home-furnishings type of design environment from the onset after graduation but landed at this large company. I am glad I did; because I gained a lot of experience but I am ready for something I am more passionate about.

I am really loving the direction that Target is taking with their home-brands/furniture/lifestyle and collaborations with Joanna Gaines + Leanne Ford; and most of it really isn’t innovative stuff, but I feel I would be ok with that. Target has always been about democraticizing design; which I have always appreciated from the onset (similar to what IKEA has been doing for decades; and they aren’t doing anything particularly innovative either – well except maybe their flat-pack business model).

Now, it’s not to say housewares can’t be innovative (Oxo long ago broke that mold), but I am very much attracted to home-oriented product categories and really appreciate that it’s a large organization where I can hopefully move around and jump between categories (like I did at my previous organization).

Anyway, that was more than you asked for but please let me know your thoughts or if I misunderstood your reply.

Oh, lastly, yes, I agree… I fear that Target may be reducing their numbers soon if things don’t get better.

-Eameser

I had to revisit my last thread because after re-reading my reply, I may have given the impression that innovation in industrial design doesn’t matter to me. Where I last worked, we saw innovation mostly in terms of “bells and whistles”; mostly technological, digital and smart-home tech. And it occurred to me today that I was seeing innovation from a narrow lens based on where I was employed, and the types of projects I was assigned and followed through on. But innovation can come in many forms; from a materials perspective, to color, finish, to a new way of going about things that no one has ever thought of before. It’s all about challenging notions of what was typically done before and reimagining it for the benefit of the end user; from subtle to completely disruptive.

And as I mentioned in my previous commentary; Oxo is a great example in the housewares industry of innovative design (especially their initial collaborations with Smart Design back in the 90s).

Whether Target is innovative or not; may be subjective, but I am quite fond of their brands, and if I had the opportunity to design for them, I would certainly push for innovation in all areas. If not, I wouldn’t be doing my job as an industrial designer. Tableware, home decor, furniture, hardlines/softgoods; all can benefit from innovative thinking.

Yo, if you are reading this; I’d love your thoughts on the subject. Thanks!

-Eameser