Need a Last-Minute Gift? Pick up a Work of Art at Target

From elegant edibles and beauty sets to crowd-pleasing gift cards, Target’s last-minute gift selection is a procrastinator’s dream.

Sure you can blitz through the aisles grabbing this and that at random, but Target’s Product Design and Development team would prefer you linger a little longer. Why? There are so many details to discover — the simplest objects are actually the product of a complex creative journey. That little ornament you’re eyeing? It began as a drawing on pen and paper.

We sat down with two of Target’s most festive designers, Kristin Nohe and Liz Apple, to get the the inside scoop on how pieces from the home holiday assortment came to life. From ornaments to holiday serving platters and more, Kristin and Liz are the dynamic duo behind much of the artwork and lettering you see across the assortment.

“Our workspace is filled with mood boards, swatches and product prototypes; we even have a ‘wall of awesome’ full of things that inspire us most; works of art, magazine tearouts — in other words, the space is really conducive to the creative process.” said Kristin Nohe, associate designer, Product Design and Development, Target. “So much of what you see on Target’s shelves starts out as an idea or a sketch that was formed right here in our studio in Minneapolis.”

The team starts tracking trends and gathering kernels of inspiration as much as 15 months in advance. (That means they’re already scheming for Holiday 2015!). This year, they tuned-in to a nostalgia trend with a modern twist. “Everything starts with a sketch,” said Liz Apple, designer, Product Design and Development, Target. “Kristin and I sketch everything from icons to lettering – which we then scan in to the computer, add color and texture and apply to the product that you see on Target shelves.”

The pieces pictured below reflect an array of inspiration sources, like flea markets, antique shops, museums and more. They also point to trends spotted at the Christmasworld holiday trade show, an annual event held in Frankfurt, Germany that helps shape the creative direction of upcoming holiday seasons on a global scale.

But at their core, these products stem from an artist’s vision. Liz, a graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, and Kristin, an illustration major from the Maryland Institute College of Art, used a wax crayon to create the drawings of the Santa Claus and reindeer, and a pen to hand-letter the “cookies” and “cocoa” text shown throughout the slideshow below. “Since so many products are created solely via computer these days, the hand-drawn aspect humanizes our work and gives the finished product an extra touch of warmth,” said Kristin.

Browse the gallery below to see the fruits of the their labor

For more insight into Target’s PD&D team’s creative process, read up on their inspiration trip to Istanbul or explore one of their biggest triumphs of the 2014 holiday season: 3-D printed holiday ornaments and charm jewelry.

Don’t miss out on the latest Target news and behind-the-scenes happenings! Subscribe to our bi weekly newsletter and get the top stories from A Bullseye View delivered straight to your inbox!