05/22/2012 09:04 am ET Updated Jul 22, 2012

Creative Spaces: Designing the Brand

When you walk into a Target store, the first thing you might notice are the hot dog and pretzel stands or clerks in red shirts. It's a convenient place to to stock up on candles, light bulbs, towels, sheets, sporting supplies, kids birthday gifts and other household essentials. This giant cost-cutting retailer is just like a Wal-Mart or K-mart, right?

Not at all. At first glance these stores might all seem similar, but on thorough examination they couldn't be more different. Target is one of the first big box retailers to set itself apart from the competition through its advertising and branding campaigns and even more-so, through its partnership agreements. Target's innovations in design have dramatically raised its profile, setting it above its rivals.

Target first launched its now-legendary design initiative more than 13 years ago, in 1999, with the architect and prolific designer Michael Graves, who created everything from unique toilet brushes to brooms and dustpans for the store. More than 2,000 uniquely designed products later, this relationship has recently come to an end. Such lessons were not lost on H&M, which is now doing very much the same thing for fashion that Target did for housewares, offering inexpensive collections to its customers by high-profile designers such as Stella McCartney, Marni and Versace.

Target just announced "The Shops at Target" concept, in which a number of boutiques will open up exclusive shops inside stores for a limited time. This newest installment of Creative Spaces celebrates the imagination and originality that goes into such branding and parnership efforts.

Slideshow production by Steven Pedigo.

Creative Spaces: Designing the Brand