Thrift Store Face Lift

This is not your grandmother’s thrift store! Goodwill gets a makeover that blends thrift store selection and deals in addition to big-box organization and cleanliness.


  • 95% of customers “strongly prefer” or “prefer” new store design
  • 65% of customer say they will “shop more”
  • Double-digit sales growth at stores in the months following redesign
  • 25% cost reduction in new store signage kit

Key Characteristics

  • Brighter lighting
  • Bold, cheerful, energizing palette
  • Cleaner, less cluttered sightlines
  • Modern, accessible fonts and icons
  • Repeated use of Goodwill Blue
  • 20% more product


  • Mission message as focal point
  • Easy-to-spot fitting rooms and customer service areas
  • Department signs
  • Promotional rack toppers
  • Promotional window banners
  • Basic information decals (i.e., employees only)
  • Collateral support
  • Employee uniforms

First two story Goodwill store located in Minneapolis. This new footprint required my team and I to rethink the new store signage and make modifications to fit this new layout. An additional two-story flagship store is located on University Ave. in St. Paul.

As a mission-driven organization, one of Goodwill-Easter Seals’ initiatives in the store rebrand was to incorporate a mission message. Having retail stores creates a disconnect between profit from donations and the mission. The solution – to create a large display that tells a simplified version of what happens when you donate and shop at Goodwill stores. Another factor of consideration – many Goodwill shoppers don’t speak or understand the English language so using icons to illustrate the main ideas was found to be most effective.

A new and improved rack identifier incorporating a lower profile, higher contrast typography, strong, durable material and eye-catching shape and geometric pattern to add visual interest to this and 56 other identifiers of donated goods.

Improvements in merchandising were made at the store levels, cleaning and organizing the items on the shelves, arranging by color helps shoppers identify what they may be looking for. The operations team also added 20% more product to the floor by modifying the store layout.

Boots are hung by pairs, making them easier to see and shop.

A 14 foot customer service ring descends from the 31 foot ceiling, making it easy to locate the checkouts from any point in the store. The geometric brand pattern overlays the Goodwill blue background with white type for great contrast and legibility. The zippered fabric construction enveloping an aluminum frame allows for easy replacement. Simply unzip the old, print and zip on the new.

As shoppers leave the store, they are thanked for stopping in, shopping and supporting the mission of preparing people for work. Individual letters are cut from pressed foam and painted to match the blues of Goodwill’s brand palette.

Goodwill retail employees are on their feet nonstop during their shifts. When the store is busy, they work at high speed, trying to keep up with stocking goods, production, taking donations and customer service. Their store attire should move with them, be durable, comfortable and reflect the Goodwill brand. The retail operations team chose t-shirts with the Goodwill logo on front, tagline on the back and in our signature Goodwill blue color. These new t-shirts were a cost-effective, customer friendly solution. Employees are much easier to spot on the floor when shoppers need assistance!

Updated 1-story store footprint. The new stores feature bigger windows, brighter paint colors, concrete floors, a front vestibule and a wider entrance with automatic doors.