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Metro’s latest design challenge is all about the perks

For its second annual competition, the grocer is asking post-secondary design students in Ontario and Quebec to share packaging ideas and strategies for its private-label coffee


For the second year in a row, Metro is taking part in a unique competition that gives post-secondary design students in Ontario and Quebec a taste of real-life grocery packaging and marketing.

The design competition, led by design agency Pigeon Brands, will see students from George Brown College and Collège Salette tasked with imagining a new creative approach and packaging for a real grocery brand, completing the design assignment with expectations and demands very similar as those put on an actual design agency.

“With this competition, we want to give the potential design leaders of tomorrow the chance to gain experience by reflecting on one of the leading brands in Canadian commerce,” said Marie Horodecki Aymes, Metro’s director, design and packaging private brands.

As they did last year, students will be focused on Metro’s high-end Irresistibles private-label line. Last year it was Kombucha, this year it is coffee. “We want to give students the opportunity to work with their teachers on a case very similar to our agency's work on our Irresistibles brand,” said Aymes. “The work done last year showcased the talent of these young designers, and this year I can't wait to discover their take on Irresistibles in a category as complex as coffee.”

Over the course of the project, students work with senior leaders from both Pigeon and Metro, along with faculty from the schools to brief the students and hold workshops. They’ll also judge the assignments using criteria such as concept rationale and viability, design, creativity, market understanding as well as overall presentation. Naturally one big difference from last year is that briefing and creative meeting sessions have been held remotely.

"What really struck us during the first edition, beyond the enthusiasm for the approach or the quality of the work, was the students’ reactions,” said Olivier Chevillot, creative director at Pigeon. “Even though confronted with conditions close to what they would experience in a real-life working situation, they quickly learned to manage their stress, develop their method, engage in discussions, receive comments, and refine their presentations.”

The winning designers, to be announced by year-end, get a paid internship at the Toronto and Montréal Pigeon Brands.


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