Rick Barrack
Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner,  CBX
New York, United States

What trends do you see emerging in this year’s entries?
In this year’s Vertex Awards, there seems to be an overall sense that private label brands continue to find new and engaging ways to grab share from both large and small brands. Across the board, private label brands are making real commitments to present products in more sophisticated and compelling ways. Through beautiful, highly visual ingredient stories and communication that highlights real benefits and features for the shopper, private brands are truly finding ways to gain share at shelf.

How does looking at the entries from around the world impact your perspective on design and brand? Do you see global trends making their way into your own work?
The work we do at CBX builds on the trends we see internationally. We often preach “The Value of Restraint.” Restraint manifests itself via simplicity in design and singular messaging. It helps private brands distinguish themselves from their competition, while simultaneously giving consumers a clear focus on the most important attributes of the product. This trend continues to be one of the ways we approach our private brand assignments, and has clearly become a foundational approach to private brand development globally.

Which entry (excluding any you may be personally involved in) is your favorite?
There are many…but I’m a sucker for Wine with Character.

What most concerns you about the future of private brand?
The traditional clichés of private label tend to hold true: sales flatten as the economy rebounds, improve during tough economic times and have a strong hold in commodity-driven categories. Even when private label grabs share from smaller brands, it still tends to remain secondary to big brands. These facts simply illustrate that there is significant room for private label brands to find
opportunities and drive growth in a more strategic way. Product quality has made the leap….yet gaining consumer share of mind and wallet continues to fluctuate. For private label to have a bright future, retailers need to embrace innovation and establish a strategic path forward.

What most excites you about the future of private brand?
As private label continues to grow, more and more retailers are beginning to see it as a true “brand,” with real investment in design. Long gone are the days of old generic and “me too” packaging.
I’m also excited about the fact that the more sophisticated private label branding is no longer found only in grocery. Channels such as drug chains, convenience stores and dollar stores are investing heavily in private brands. Finally, consolidation in the US will continue to add value, size, scale and opportunity for private label growth. And, of course, more great design.