Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The HangTag Blog Awards: 2 in 10

Hello and welcome to the HangTagBlog Awards! This will be our second major awards presentation! In case you are unfamiliar, the award scheme is here. This will be a second 2 in 10 award, covering hangtags 21 through 40.

Although the posting schedule remains slow and somewhat varied, these entries are all at least from 2016, so a major improvement from the previous go around. Let's see who the nominees are this time:

#31 - Stoosh
#32 - Carter's Little Collections "Christmas Tree"
#33 - Carter's Little Collections "Wolf"
#34 - Harper
#35 - Michael Kors "Jet Set"
#36 - Joe B by Joe Benbasset
#37 - Summer Oasis
#38 - Cat and Jack
#39 - Star Wars "Union Suit"
#40 - Old Navy "Active"

Wow - when I first started looking over this post, I was worried that I would struggle to find any to award. When I compiled this list, though, I realized that the opposite is true. What a collection!

I ooh'd and aah'd over the super cute designs of the Carter's pair, especially in light of the fact that typically Carter's has terribly designed hang tags. I also praised the Harper tag for clean and simple design that spoke volumes about the product and set the tone perfectly. Summer Oasis scored points for being surprisingly coherent and complicated, and was likewise a clean and focused design. On top of that, the Cat and Jack set really caught my eye, and looked much more expensive than they should have.

Ultimately, both Cat and Jack and Summer Oasis are going to be the winners here. If you put the baby items next to each other, Carter's is relying heavily on one cute design element on an otherwise bland tag, while Cat and Jack is a really great, all encompassing design. Summer Oasis also bumps up next to Harper in a really direct way, and for my money the Harper hang tag is solid but can't quite hang with this crowd. Summer Oasis meanwhile, has a bright, intricate design that matches with the clothing, and also contained the stylish front back wrap around.

The Honorable Mention this 2 in 10 is definitely the Stoosh tag. One of my truest inspirations is Paul Lukas over at Uni-Watch, and his side project of Groom-it, and this hang tag contained a very nice implementation of the ubiquitous metal ring.

Monday, November 14, 2016

HangTag Review #40 - Old Navy "Active" HangTag

This hang tag is from discount brand Old Navy, and specifically their "Active" line. The tag is nearly black, with a yellow double line logo, and then OLD NAVY ACTIVE displayed beneath. There is also a half banner that says "Go Dry" and a short line about moisture wicking in two languages. The reverse is pretty spartan, with another product description of "BREATHABILITY" followed by a few words explaining, again in two languages. The rest is just the price sticker.

Well, Old Navy is a discount brand, so the hang tag expectation is a little lower, but this one is pretty rough. The paper is cheap, and while I think the tag is supposed to be black, its actually just a washed out sort of black-ish color. I'm also really not a fan of the completely forgettable and generic logo - I'm sure a design consultant can point to the fact that it looks like a runner with their arms raised in victory (as the Olympics does from time to time). I also wish that someone would have made an executive decision to not put "ACTIVE" in italics. We get it, italics convey motion, great.

I'm also going to hit this one with the Faux-French designation. First of all, I'm not entirely sure that those translations are anything more than machine translations (or bottom dollar service). I don't know French especially well but it looks suspect. Further, I'm not sure that Old Navy's (itself a Gap sub-brand) Active sub-brand really needs to have an air of French design or taste. We know you took a look at the latest Nike designs and reproduced them as cheaply as possible, we don't need french text.

This hangtag is about as generic as they come, and a miss in my book.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

HangTag Review #39 - Star Wars Union Suit

Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars franchise has turned up the licensing machine full force, and in addition to a steady stream of new movies we are being treated to a near constant barrage of merchandise. This hang tag comes from one such item - a Chewbacca Union Suit.

First and foremost, it should be explained that a Union Suit is merely a descriptive term for a single undergarment that combines a shirt and a pair of pants. Think long johns or those pajamas that are in old cartoons with a snap up button panel. Do not think to search them on Google images without safe search on.

This one is designed to look like the character Chewbacca from Star Wars. Presumably one part Halloween costume, one party novelty item, this is a lowest common denominator item.

The front of the hang tag is straightforward - the top portion is a picture of Chewbacca pointing his signature crossbow at the camera. The bottom has the Star Wars wordmark in negative with the words UNION SUIT below and a red circle with an S and the label SMALL. This is really terrible in terms of hangtags. It does not seem terribly well through out and it fails to convey any real sense of design or effort.

The reverse is a tiny bit better. Instead of the photograph of the actual Chewbacca, there is an incredibly goofy illustration of a very doofy guy wearing the suit. Otherwise it is the same as the front.

I have a lot of problems with this tag. It is really low effort, all they did was put a picture on it with a brand wordmark and a descriptor. I like simplicity and clean designs, and this is simple but is not particularly clean. Simply throwing all your logos onto a card isn't design, its hitting a checklist.

I also think you need to either lean heavy into the illustration, or heavy into the actual movie license, but you can't put both on the same tag.

It is almost as though they know that these will not be purchased by true fans (who will go upmarket) but instead by someone's distant relative who is a bit out of touch but will say "Oh, didn't he used to love those space movies?" If anything, I imagine most of these end up as gag gifts, purchased for drinking-holiday parties or as a good natured goof for a spouse.

I had some excitement about a Disney branded tag, but so far this and the children's one I reviewed here have both fallen incredibly flat.