Sir: As your readers are doubtless well aware, this is National Store-Brand Packaging Week. The Continental Association of Supermarket and Drugstore House Brand Designers, of which I have the honor to be secretary, would like to take this opportunity to remind your readers of the effort that goes into creating a suitable brand identity for store-brand products. Most shoppers, we find, have no real idea of the delicate calculations, not to mention the sheer artistry, involved in creating packaging that is almost but not quite as attractive as that of the national brands. Great care is necessary: a moment of immoderate inspiration, unchecked by rigid discipline, and we might create a product more appealing than the identical but more profitable name-brand product. That, of course, would be a catastrophe. To create exactly the right impression of pretty-good-for-the-price requires heroic dedication to the principles of mediocrity in design.
As a class, designers of store-brand packaging are a selfless lot. We do not ask for much. Only once a year, and only for a week, do we set out our tip jars in the aisles of your local supermarket and drug store. All we ask is that, as you pass by and debate with a loved one, or with yourself if you have no one who loves you enough to debate this question with you, whether the national brand is worth the extra 40¢, you remember the artists who made the debate possible. Give generously to the people who make sense of your world by ordering all the products in it in a subjective and arbitrary hierarchy of perceived quality.
—Sincerely, Ranulf Hotch, Secretary, Continental Association of Supermarket and Drugstore House Brand Designers.