A weird morning session this was. The last thing I would expect in a Contextual and theoretical Studies session is analysing the visual structure of an Argos catalogue. I know, its sounds bad on paper, but there’s more to it that meets the eye.
WEBSITE LINK FOR IMAGES ABOVE: http://retromash.com/argos/
Argos has a history of doing things differently in terms of marketing. If we look at the structure of Argos today, the shop has a unique layout and a certain flowchart-formatted way of purchasing items. Compared to many other shops where you can hand pick what you want, the “Argos” way of shopping seems alienated. The reasoning for this is that we prefer a self-serving store format due to the interactivity with the items we want to buy. We can look at object, feel them, smell them, taste samples (depending on where you go) and generally interact to form a better understanding of what we want.
If that’s the case Tamoy, then why is Argos still around?
Also, how long has self-services been around for?
Well. I’m glad you asked fellow reader!
We all know the Argos catalogue right? The Big book with thin pages filled up with stuff you want to buy but don’t have the spare coin for. This grimoire of shopaholic knowledge is why Argos is still standing. Upon first glance, it’s just a simple book with items on display, but with this CTS session, I was able to understand how influential “visual design” and well placed information within that design can be.
There is so many examples that I can talk about but to keep it short, I’ll only mention a few.
COLOUR– the way how colour is implemented in the catalogue is used as an optical guide to finding items quickly as well as highlighting sales and deals to convince items to be purchased. Is something 20% off? It will be if its surrounded powerful colours like red or purple.
FONT-most, if not all products in the catalogue have a small description referencing the uses for the item and what it is in general (clearly better then searching up the characterises of the object you want to buy on the web). In addition, the prices for more expensive items have a smaller font then the items that are on sale or the items that have a limited stock. Just to make you think that Argos is not a bad place to shop after all.
CODE– Each item displayed in the catalogue has a code highlighted in bold, usually at the end of the item description. This code is an essential part of the “flowchart way of shopping” that I mentioned earlier. In all Argos shops, you select the item you want via the code. This “code” is an indication to staff on what the item is and where it is in the store. With this technique, the item you purchase is exclusively yours and no one has inspected or analysed it beforehand, making the purchase just a bit more personal. Also, the codes are ideal for online shopping.
Like I said before, there are many examples in which I could go on about. However, I don’t plan on turning this blog post into a book about the “nature of Argos marketing”.
Originating in the southern side of U.S.A., Piggly Wiggly’s 1st opening was in Tennessee. Since the opening, many stores started to change their format of marketing from a Argos-like structure, to the more efficient, self-servicing way of marketing we have now.
Moving more into marketing, I learned about something called the “5 hat racks”. A theory developed by Richard Saul. He theorised that information can be placed into 5 different categories of organisation. 5 Types, 5 Formats, 5 directions.
Any type of information can be separated though this analysis. If the hats are Information, the hat racks organise the hats. More information about the 5 hat racks can be found on the website below:
In the afternoon session, I read through a VAROOM article titled “REAR VIEW MIRROR” by Stephanie Black. The basis of her text was examining how new designers were trying to use an old means of media to create more fresh and engaging works (like this blog post you’re reading now). I don’t want to spoil too much of it yet since I am going to do a summary of this.
In any case, of you want to have a look beforehand, there is a text section about the article on the website below:
If there’s anything that you haven’t taken away from this blog so far, take this:
“Don’t buy it, Argos it”