July 6, 2020. If you grew up in Minnesota, you know this logo. I did a double take on a recent visit to Target when this iconic Dayton’s logo jumped out at me from a nearby display.

A little history

Created in 1902 in Minneapolis, The Dayton Dry Goods Company became The Dayton Company in 1911. In 1962, they opened the first Target as a new kind of mass-market discount store to attract value-oriented shoppers looking for a higher-quality experience. Many thought it was a risky move.

Dayton’s bought Marshall Field’s in 1990, then rebranded Dayton’s to Marshall Field’s in 2001. That was the end of the classic Dayton’s logo, until now.

Target’s success

Fast forward to January 2020, Target’s new activewear brand All in Motion launches with a 52 year old Dayton’s logo.

Target’s creative group evaluated dozens of ideas and zeroed in on the concept of forward motion, Courtney Foster, a Target spokeswoman, said. “While exploring visuals that express this feeling, we recognized that the 1968 mark accomplished our All in Motion brand goals,” Foster said.

Almost sixty years later, Target has nearly $24 billion in 2019 revenue, 1,871 stores in 50 states, 350,000+ employees and and 43 owned brands. I’d say the risk paid off.

Logo interpretations

People view the logo differently. Some think it is three capital letters D. Others think it is three sideways chevrons.

In a StarTribune article, former Dayton’s creative director Art Shipman aid it was meant to be a flower, an amaranth. After seeing it for years on bags and boxes and trucks, I only see it as Dayton’s.

For me, it takes me back to riding the 9C bus with my mom to the flagship Dayton’s store on 7th and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis. I even got my first kitten at a Dayton’s 8th floor adoption event. (Her name was Hilda, and she was psychotic. But I don’t blame Dayton’s for that.)

A little more history

Take a walk down memory lane in this StarTribune gallery of Dayton’s downtown store.

Or check out Dayton’s at The Department Store Museum (because, of course that is a thing)

And follow Target Through the years at target.com

1912 postcard of Dayton Dry Goods Co., and Raddison Hotel, Minneapolis, MN. Photo: MinnesotaGoodAge.com