Thursday, May 29

Osh Popham's Emporium

The Main Street Emporium (founded by Summer Magic's Osh Popham, as the story goes) is an institution in the Magic Kingdom. Whether picking up a quick souvenir before park closing, seeking shelter from the summer heat, or trying to ignore the infamous dance party, the Emporium has rightly become a must-do when at the park.
Photo: the mega-talented Steve Burns
For me, the most endearing element of the Emporium is its story. As cliché as that sounds, there is a legitimate, concrete narrative throughout. Even the most casual of guests pick up on the Emporium's sense of history, place, and growth on Main Street USA. They understand this is not your typical Disney gift shop deploying theme-y decor simply to fit in with its surroundings. It's an authentic turn-of-the-century establishment complete with characters and plots.

The process of taking an Emporium item home should be rich with story as well. When guests visit a merchandise location as unique as the Emporium, they like to know that the merchandise is somehow unique, too.

Through specially-printed packaging, clothing tags, even receipts, you could take an ordinary piece of merchandise found throughout the parks and make it special to a specific location. Putting a little more effort into location-specific packaging would earn some major storytelling points. I designed a new logo inspired by the Sanborn fire insurance maps that could help infuse the Emporium brand into the merchandise.
I designed this logo with the intent of it being paired with clothing, plushes, pins and other collectibles. I imagine it looking best on a foil-stamped clothing tag, on extra heavy stock, in the men's and women's sections. When scaled small and properly stamped, the mark would look its most delicate and sophisticated. It would turn that Grumpy shirt your dad chuckled at once into an official Emporium collectible worthy of a second look.
Mockup of the logo stamped with foil. Ideal for packaging and clothing tags.
There's always a slight tension between the Emporium's turn-of-the-century interior and the products that are sold inside. At times, the colorful merchandise of the present drowns out the intricate story the store has to tell. The products might look a little more at home once an Emporium mark is applied. It would be a great way to "dress up" the products, making them a little more consistent with the atmosphere. 

I extend a big thanks to all those who have dropped me a line saying that you're enjoying the blog. I've been getting some great feedback!  This first month has been a blast, and I'm so excited to share more. See you next week!