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I was privileged to be a packaging designer for Pier 1 Imports, a fun and beloved retailer, for 6 years. Pier 1 Imports is a 60+ year-old international housewares and decor retailer.


All of their products are designed and packaged in-house. Here where the primary focuses.

  • Keep the products safe from breakage

  • Save on import cost (ship as little air as possible)

  • Easy for customers to understand the product features and benefits in store

  • Help prevent “shrinkage” (theft)

  • Create templates for production designers and vendors each season

  • Stay on trend and keep things fresh

  • Show the product value

  • Achieve sales and new customer metrics each quarter and adjust product or packaging


Since almost all designs are in-house the challenge of keeping up with retail trends and staying innovative. Almost all of the packaging has to accommodate both English and French Canadian languages. Keeping in mind the two languages spacing becomes an issue for product names. Production designers also needed to work with multiple SKUs as quickly as possible. Seasonal and collection style guides I created needed to be made easy to use, resize, and alter. Style guides also shared with vendors worldwide so the instructions on how to print and use the templates had to be clear and explained visually as well as in clear instructions.

Guides included:

  • Color palettes and specialty printing (foil, spot varnish, etc) and cheaper alternates if they do not have the printing capabilities

  • Sourcing material (ex: jute rope for tags or .5 inch red grosgrain ribbon for Christmas)

  • Design templates like tags in 2-3 standard sizes, boxes, header cards, labels, etc.

  • Placement instructions on common items with illustrations or photo examples

  • Tying instructions (as needed)

  • Price label placement instructions

  • Clean layers in the design file for easy editing


To keep the seasonal styles fresh I sat on the Christmas committee, a team of buyers, VP’s, visual merchandisers, and more to help set the overall trends for the following year. I would travel to surface art shows for inspiration and to buy art for the products and sometimes on the packaging. I helped create new custom illustrations to fulfill specific needs and to save money. I collaborated with the buyers in the creation of their product and packaging concurrently. When new dielines were needed I would work closely with vendors and printers to ensure the to test the packaging to the level of quality the customers expected of the brand. I worked with photographers, set designers, and food stylist as needed for product shots for packaging and the website. I partnered with visual merchandisers to ensure the packaging and the plan to display the product were in sync. Collaborated with writers to help paint an engaging story for the customer while interacting with the packaging. This was extremely important on fragranced items. Prior to full production all vendors sent print production samples for approval.

In packaging, every detail is purposeful and planned.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kishya over the past five years at Pier 1 Imports on many projects. She has always been professional with a positive attitude that I have come to appreciate about her. She listens to the clients’ needs and comes up with many great options to choose from. I would recommend Kishya for any design project and know she would be successful.
— Clift Salyer - Product Development/Sourcing/Buying/Fragrance

Click Photo to enlarge


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