Lowe's issues bilingual packaging mandate

Lowe’s Companies, Mooresville, NC, isn’t the first retailer to prod vendors into putting bilingual copy on packages.

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But its mandate on what to include and how to include it is one of the more comprehensive game plans for adding Spanish to packaging graphics.

Lowe’s is mandating bilingual copy on all consumer packaging shipped to it as of September 1, 2005. The company devotes 11 pages of guidelines on how to do that in its “Visual Standards Guide—Signage and Packaging Guidelines.” (Go to www.loweslink.com for a copy.)

Consumer packages run from large corrugated cases to plastic bags for individual parts.

Lowe’s would not comment on its guidelines for “competitive reasons.” However, the guidelines indicate that virtually all text-product description, size, feature, benefits, and warnings must be in Spanish on packages. The guidelines suggest:

• Use English first and make Spanish the same type size, where possible.

• Consider icons or other visuals rather than words.

• Use Lowe’s-approved translation and proofing vendors. Even packagers who use their own translators must use a Lowe’s-approved vendor to certify the translation.

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