Attracting Attention With Surreal Window Display Design

Attracting Attention With Surreal Window Display Design 0

Imagery represents the entire joint of aspects that make an entity visible. The connection of this definition with the notion of visual merchandising is not purely random: it uses the principles that exist in the whole process of creating meaning in order to develop a more complex relation between the individual and a world filled with means to satisfy his needs and desires. In other words, visual merchandising is seen as a phenomenon that not only makes products more visible for customers, but it also has an impact on the way in which people evaluate their need for different types of goods.

There is a theory that states a curious fact and it also demonstrates the flexibility of the market: supply creates its own demand (Say’s Law). It is a fact that has a major impact on the way in which retailers should create their marketing strategies. Now, the main emphasis is based on the way in which we attract customers, rather than just based on satisfying their needs. A need is an abstract thing now, and is not necessary connected to something that is vital. A need is now defined as an “umbrella term”, covering every possible manifestation of the intention to purchase goods.

Retailers understand now that there’s a lot to be done in order to capture as many customers as possible. Creativity and originality are still very good ways to ensure visibility for your brand and your products. Because we live in a world that demonstrates a serious desire for reevaluating the possibilities of artistic expression that existed in the past, store designers should direct their attention towards a more artistic approach of the phenomenon of visual merchandising. After all, their endeavor can be seen as a form of art, as long as they maintain this desire of being original and creative.        

We’ve chosen here to talk about the possibilities of artistic expression offered by surrealism, a very popular cultural movement. The choice has much to do with the multiple elements that the surreal movement used throughout time in order to produce its art. From a vast sphere there’s lot to choose.

Before offering some surreal ideas for your store, let us understand first the principles on which surrealism is based on. First of all, what captures the attention when looking at a surreal picture for example is the visible intention to “resolve the contradictory conditions of dream and reality.” The scenes seem illogical, very realistic, technically speaking (with a touch of hyperrealism even), a combination between strange everyday objects and a totally different approaches of beings.

Surrealism is based on the idea of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and it was seen at that time as a revolutionary movement. The most visible surreal artist is Salvador Dali, now seen as a very interesting character, depicted in lots of ways. His works and life style have inspired a lot of people, from musicians to designers. Basically, almost everything that is surreal can be seen in his works.

This surreal movement has been exploited also by mannequin manufacturers and store designers. It is well-known the fact that Dali, and also Juan Miro, a surreal French artist, created a few mannequins. Also, Ralph Pucci, a mannequin manufacturer this time, used the surreal imagery to create fabulous mannequins.

The use of surreal mannequins is not the only choice that store designers have in order to create surreal displays. There are a lot of themes and motifs to be developed in a personal way, based on the surreal imagery, like dream, vision, or flow. Using these themes, you can generate a lot of ideas and you can make them come to life by using the so-called “surreal objects” as props, like clocks, birds, flowing / melting objects (or create the impression of flowing), objects that fuse with others. The result is definitely catchy and surprising, just as the surreal art was seen, and this is the reason why it is very used in different fields of activity, others than art.                                         

  • George Blitzer
Attracting Customers With Thematic Window Display Designs

Attracting Customers With Thematic Window Display Designs 0

As it is already known, one of the most fascinating and appealing ways to improve the visibility of your store, of your collection or of the brand, it is by investing in the so-called “visual merchandising”, a set of strategies that are meant to visually improve the layout of stores, products and of the way in which all these reach and attract customers. Visual merchandising helps in maximizing the sales impact of the retail store, and also provides a compelling shopping experience by focusing on space planning and layout, coming up with creative and original displays, carrying out some market research, and all these in order to boost sales and determine a positive general image of a certain brand.

The way products are displayed on a given store is a science in its own way, but what actually matters are creativity and originality, the idea of providing something new and appealing. This science of visual merchandising is generally based on artistic principles, because it is only after we have established the entire plan of improving the aesthetics of what we want to sell and where that we undergo the entire technical procedures. The basic principles should rely on imagination and creativeness.

There are lots of ideas that can be developed so that you can get the best displays for your store. Taking into account the fact that in apparel stores there is a constant need for a refresh of collections, displays, costs, merchandise, the best option you have, as a store owner or as an interior designer is to organize everything using themes. Products need to be displayed in a way that customers are enticed to buy them and that is when science of shop fittings and displays come into play. You need thematic displays for some really good reasons:

  1. You avoid monotony by developing your strategic displays according to customer’s behavior and tastes.
  2. You provide a constant flux of sales; whether it is spring or winter, new collections or simply a need for something new, every change in the scenery is meant to attract and to impress, and succeeds if the display is interesting enough.
  3. You indirectly suggest the fact that your brand is associated with prosperity, equilibrium, with a thriving business in a word.
  4. You demonstrate that you care about your image and the way in which customers perceive you and your products.
  5. You generate the feeling of originality and creativeness that the entire fashion business is based on.

Temporary displays, as the thematic displays may be to a certain extent, can cover some of the most complex themes with the same effectiveness. Their general style may value engineering, the technical stuff that can help you actually set up the entire display, may utilize luxurious props, render a classical or high-end look. If you decide on using thematic displays, you may consider one of the following types:

  1. Displays organized during or based on certain feasts, national celebrations or local festivals: this is one of the most common thematic displays that every store can organize. The advantages are beyond any doubt, as everyone can recognize a thematic display that is built with elements that suggest a direct hint to Christmas, Valentine’s Day and so on and then be enticed to go inside. Even though the displays and decorations that you create are not accompanied by a new collection or discounts, this kind of displays is effective anytime.
  2. Displays based on famous movies, books and music: can be seen as an efficient way to improve the visibility of your store because it is a vast field that can be exploited. We should recall all the clothes, jewelry, perfumes, and other items that are inspired from certain characters in movies or films, musician and so on. Even though your collection might not signed by one of those famous artists, the presence in your displays of elements that hint to this industry will certainly be as appealing as you expect it to be.
  3. Displays inspired by artistic movements or artists: as a form of art, the entire process of creating displays or of working on aesthetically improving the layout of your store always makes use of artistic principles, whether you are aware of this fact or not. When we use our imagination to creating something appealing, we indirectly “apply” an artistic hue on our endeavor.
Artistic movements, such as surrealism, expressionism, art-nouveau, baroque, renaissance, conceptual art and so on are capable of providing one of the most appealing displays that you will ever come to find. The process might seem a bit complex because it means knowing some things and undergoing some research, but the results are really original.
How To Create Pop-Art Inspired Window Displays

How To Create Pop-Art Inspired Window Displays 0

Taking into account the fact that, as it has been stated before, mannequin manufacturing and the entire process of creating displays can be seen as a relatively new form of art, various approaches can be developed in order to create outstanding and intriguing ways of catching the eye of the customers in dress shops. The main point is to come up with something utterly new and capable of releasing an adequate image of the entire collection we intent to bring forward. Being a form of art, there are many principles that can be adopted so as to respond positively to the market challenges.

The use of pop-art principles can be an easy way to solve the problem of “coming with something new”. Pop-art emerged as an escape from elitist era of fine arts, a way of bringing art among the normal people. The decadent / avant-garde art of the beginning of the 19th century had a conceptual aspect, thus inaccessible for those who didn’t know some principles of the history of art or about the history of ideas. Pop-art appeared in a period when mass consumption emerged as a result of the grand industrial and technical development. Art had to cope with new techniques, new habits and new thinking at a certain extent.

So pop-art was a choice of imitative arts to remain connected with the people for whom it was meant. This aspect represents one of the first reasons for choosing pop-art as a basis for what means creating displays, manufacturing mannequins and the fitting of clothes, in a word, every action connected with visual merchandising that we undergo in order to achieve a bigger impact and brand awareness.

Pop-art made use of many elements taken from the popular culture, such as advertising, comic books or cartoon-like representations, common objects or the use of so-called pop iconography – artists, musicians and so on. As long as this kind of art followed these principles, the public became aware of the fact that art was socially involved and could be used as a means for enhancing popularity, just as much as some well-known figures achieved.

Fashion has always been identified with the cult of the popular individual, the one represented by originality, creativity and novelty. This would seem a connection between pop-art and fashion, because, most of the times, pop-art used as a way of expression images with well-known people, who were also fashion icons.

Images courtesy of FIDM Digital Arts.

Let us then understand how the pop-art created its echo among people, teens especially, and how can this help a retailer improve its brand popularity by adopting the same principles in visual merchandising, with direct application to creating displays. First of all, the close-to-people attitude is what we need most.

Everything has to be set in such a way that brings a hue of familiarity in the display: gadgets, images with teen idols, objects that hint at people’s habits. Pop-art never made use of elements that were obscure and unknown to the average people; the art behind it was meant to bring the viewer a certain feeling that (s)he is actually privileged by simply being the observer.

The mere fact of being able to comprehend the entire display is a psychological effect that has as a result the feeling that we create meaning and purpose, thus we are important. This is a reality that needs to be exploited in order to keep up with the customer’s desires; a customer needs to feel appreciated and, why not, flattered!

Artistic endeavor, be it music, theater, film, is the main source for fashion retailers in order to gain popularity. It is not necessary that a TV star, for example, should be associated with a certain brand of clothes, but it’s the brand that needs to be advertised first. Pop-art has these benefits of creating a connection between an artistic endeavor (such is the visual merchandising), celebrity and popularity (coming from the use of the principle of the so-called pop-iconography) and the client-oriented aspect (the fact of being a close-to-people artistic expression).

When trying to actually “put on stage” a pop-art display, we need to evaluate first the target that fits the offer. According to our collection, we establish then the average age, and we choose a well-known teen-idol or many, and we set the display accordingly: mannequins resembling him/her, the outfit according to his/her preferences, an atmosphere that defines his/her habits. It is not a heavy effort and, at the same time, it has the benefits of a versatile activity: we can change the display each season or any time we feel the need for a refresh.

  • George Blitzer
7 Movie Inspired Window Displays You Can Replicate For Your Store

7 Movie Inspired Window Displays You Can Replicate For Your Store 0

If you decide to create an elaborated window display that will certainly catch the eye of the customers and lure them inside your store, well this is the exact resource that can help you achieve that. Not only that we gathered here some precious information about how can you creatively improve the aesthetics of your store, but we also provided some practical examples attended by images. This resource is centered on the way in which film imagery can help you in your creative approaches.

We’ve chosen some well-known films from different periods of time and for different tastes, and provided some information about them. Each description is meant to introduce you into the themes and motifs of the movie and to help you familiarize with its imagery. We also inserted some suggestions about the mannequins you can use or other props. You’ll be able to craft you own window display after you’ll get to decide what is this all about. Of course, you can extend the list presented here and chose the movies you enjoy more.

The reason why we believe that there can be crafted really fascinating window displays based on famous movies is that no matter the taste and age, people will always enjoy movies. The idea of movie inspired displays can be used effectively in all kinds of stores, and can help you exploit customer’s interests and hobbies. We guess that from now on you’ll certainly be watching movies with an additional intention: that of finding potential material for your window displays! Until then, take a look at these suggestions:

1. Where the Wild Things Are

It is a fantasy-drama film adapted from Maurice Sendak’s children’s book that has the same name. Its imagery is based on animatronics, performers in costumes, computer-generated imagery, and tells the story of a nine-year old boy, Max, who sails away to a strange island where he is eventually declared king by the creatures that live there. The story fits perfectly for children stores, by combining wild vegetation backgrounds with figurines that represent the “Wild Things” that inhabit the island where Max arrives. This is a relatively easy display to craft, but for more tips about the movie, you can check some images to find more inspiration. 

2. The Great Gatsby

It is probably one of the most prolific movies that can be used as an inspiration to create elaborated and sumptuous window displays. The reason is that it is a movie filled with elegance, richness, and pompous scenery, and it can provide the best source to create appealing displays, especially for high-end and luxurious stores.

The movie is based on Scott Fitzgerald 1925’s masterpiece novel with the same name, directed by famous Baz Luhrmann, known for his book inspired films. The cast is also tremendous. The movie is centered on the life of Jay Gatsby, a millionaire who has a sumptuous life. What matters here is the fact that the movie was appreciated, winning two Oscars for Best Design and Best Costumes. We’ve already inferred that The Great Gatsby imagery is based on high-end backgrounds, richness and really beautiful costumes and accessories that can be exploited in your won store in order to provide a glamorous aspect.

Of course, you may take into account the use of some realistic mannequins (with bob flapper wigs, to get the 1920’ looks) or gold mannequins that generate the feeling of luxury; gold mannequin will brighten the display with their mirror-like texture. As props, you can effectively use fans, feathers, jewelry, colored wigs, and other glamorous accessories for the background.

3. Crimson Peak

It is an American gothic romance film produced in 2015. As a traditional gothic film, the imagery is based on ghosts, haunted castles, evil creatures, uncanny, Victorian architecture and costumes. This is the perfect scenery that you can exploit for Halloween for example, of for specific tastes, such as for customers who enjoy these kinds of representations. The movie tells the classical story of the aftermath of a family tragedy where things are left unspoken, but the place doesn’t forget the cruelty of the past and brings it in front of the terrified people that live there.

A Crimson Peak inspired window display can contain dark backgrounds, with elements like old castles / mansions, crows, dark trees, heavy furniture, characters in contrast (evil and good). The gothic art defines at a certain extent an aspect of the Victorian Age, because it manifested right at the end of this historical period. This is the reason for which gothic representations must also make use of Victorian architecture and manners. For a more appealing display, you can use some abstract, black or headless mannequins, to improve the feeling of unknown and a gothic environment.

4. Spider Man

This is the well-known 2002 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character with the same name. It tells the story of a high school student who develops spider-like superpowers and becomes the face of justice. The movie can provide a real inspiration for creating window displays, especially in children stores. You can use some backgrounds colored in red and blue, and crowded with tall buildings, Spider Man costumes, and spider webs. It is a relatively easy thematic display and also really effective. You can make use of colored or abstract mannequins to visually improve the entire scenery. 

5. James Bond

Another popular film is James Bond series, famous for their action and superhero-like scenery. All of the 25 James Bond movies are centered on the life of James Bond, a secret agent hero who manages to deal with difficult situations each and every time. The scenery makes use of elements that are connected with the themes and motifs of the movie: guns, suits, luxury cars and places, beautiful women. Here is the perfect place for some realistic mannequins that can be customized to look like the famous actors that used to play James Bond and, of course, some that will look like the omnipresent Bond girls.

6. Alice In Wonderland

This is one of the movies that can provide a lot of ideas and inspiration in order to help you create an appealing display. Alice in Wonderland is a 2010 American fantasy film directed by the famous Tim Burton, known for his gothic and cranky fantasy productions. It is based on the well-known story written by Lewis Carroll and tells the story of Alice, a nineteen year old girl who travels into some fabulous places where everything is uncanny. The imagery contains fantastic elements, such as unusual characters, places and objects, colored and diverse costumes, wigs and make up, palaces and fairytale-like elements.

To create an Alice in Wonderland inspired display, you need to use some fairytale backgrounds with woods and marvelous castles. There is the place for some realistic mannequins that can wear some more make-up and clownish wigs, as some characters do. You can also make use of some uncanny objects, or simply eliminate the entire principle of appropriateness between characters and the objects that you use: big cups, little houses, big animals. Of course, the center of everything needs to be Alice, who can wear the outfit you intent on displaying, an outfit that has to match the entire scenery.

7. Breakfast At Tiffany's

This is a 1961 American romantic comedy film based on the famous short story written by Truman Capote. The most prominent character of the movie is played by Audrey Hepburn, considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, an example of grace, elegance and refinement. It is obvious that a famous personality like Audrey would make the entire display shine. The way in which you design the entire display is up you, if you choose to focus mainly on Audrey’s presence, or also on the other characters also. You can use the well-known elements form her outfit: black long dresse, black gloves, pearl necklace and pipe, and insert them into your display along with, of course, realistic mannequins that can resemble Audrey.

Famous Artists & Their Creative (Window) Displays

Famous Artists & Their Creative (Window) Displays 0

This material aims at bringing into discussion some of the most appealing ways to ensure a higher visibility of your store. It is necessary to understand the fact that a real investment on visually improving the image of your brand / collection / store doesn’t mean only financial input, but also some strategies focused on visual merchandising, on the actual aesthetical principles that are to be used in the process.

We know that the “online threat” is forcing retailers to exploit the advantage of being able to provide a genuine shopping experience through their stores and this is the area we should be working on. Maintaining a strong connection with our customers and gaining new ones is a challenge that troubles the mind of every store owner. This is the reason for which we must develop creative displays and interior arrangements in order to make customers feel the pleasure of the entire experience of shopping.

We already know studies suggest that 70 to 80 per cent of the shopping decisions are made on the spot, the decisions being influenced by the overall impression people fell about the place, the staff and the products. If we don’t deliver a quality background for our products, we jeopardize not only the financial benefits, but also the image that customers get about our products and the brand we represent. Being careless in this matter may determine negative results on a large scale.

For the reasons mentioned above, we have gathered some ideas that can help you improve the aesthetical aspect of your store. We will focus mostly on window displays, but the interior arrangements won’t be forgotten. It is of no doubt that thematic displays are probably the best choice when it comes to provide an appealing look for your store. The possibilities being enormous, it is clear that you won’t get caught into the situation of not being able to come up with something new. Movies, films, books, artistic movements can be exploited and re-contextualized in multiple ways.

There is this postmodern way of thinking that everything can be reinterpreted in order to achieve something original. It might seem paradoxically, but this is the trend that has been guiding the artistic representations for more than fifty years. Tradition or classicism are no longer set aside as it happened during the modernist period, but exploited with interesting and fascinating results.

To narrow down this approach, we have chosen to present you some artists (painters mainly) whose work had a certain point some connections with fashion or creative displays, in the intention of bringing art closer to the world of fashion and to demonstrate its potential. Mass cultures, including window display, had become subject matter for artists such as Léger, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol long ago.

But two of the previously mentioned artists are really famous and some things should be taken into account as some of them were the first to actually develop the so-called “the art of mannequins” that contemporary manufacturers, such as Ralph Pucci, are now talking about.

First of them is Salvador Dali whose artistic approaches oscillated among different areas, like painting, movies, writing. He succeeded in bringing the best of surrealism in every artistic representation. Without taking into account some far-fetched, bizarre and shocking depictions in his art, we all know the impact this artist had on everything that meant artistic representations at the beginning of the 20th century and long after that. In some mannequins that he created (as it can be seen in the first picture) there is an explicit influence of Picasso's work (on a mannequin displayed in 1926, called “Barcelona Mannequin”).

Andy Warhol is another very popular artist that had some connections with window displays. He is a prominent figure of pop-art, an artistic movement that was and still is very popular among youngsters. His artwork is popular also for the depictions of many celebrities of the time, such as Marilyn Monroe. In essence, Andy Warhol’s woks exploit the possible connections between art, celebrity and advertisement; the entire imagery that Warhol depicted in his artistic representations is taken from the cultural background of the 1960s America. As a proof of his popularity, Warhol has been dedicated the largest museum in the USA that was ever dedicated to a single artist.

  • George Blitzer
Creating Smart Window Displays That Drive Sales & Foot Traffic

Creating Smart Window Displays That Drive Sales & Foot Traffic 0

We all know from experience an obvious thing that a proper and interesting display is worth more than a thousand words. The first impression we build in customers’ mind is vital, because it is the base on which we are judged. The first thing we come to know about a person or a thing creates a halo effect that can influence our further attitude towards it. It is this situation that has to be exploited in such a way that it helps us create a positive image of our brand, the window displays allowing us to create the first impact.

Visual merchandising comes in this situation as a helpful “tool” in all the endeavors that are connected with the way in which we use imagery to improve our brand awareness and our sales. Retailers have understood that there is a lot to be done about promoting their products and that they can invest in some marketing strategies only by applying a set of general principles that don’t necessary require investment in terms of money, but “investment” in critical thinking and a good knowledge of the principles of visual merchandising.

We have compiled some useful information from certain sources, some taken from an entire book dedicated to visual merchandising (Visual Merchandising. A Guide for Small Retailers, printed at Iowa State University) about window displays for a better understanding of the benefits that a proper approach of the way in which we present our merchandise can produce in just a few steps. 

It has been stated that there is less than 11 seconds the average amount of time an individual spends looking at a window display and, as a result, he can be lured inside the store, or not, and as well as that almost 70% of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale. Many people say that the main reason for their purchase of an item is connected with the fact that they saw it displayed and they liked it. Many don’t actually buy stuff they need, but, more often, things they like.

To exploit this situation, you need to ensure the best strategy, and for doing that, you need to take a closer look and think of the following things:

- Be careful not to crowd too much merchandise into a window, because customers might find it hard to understand what you’re selling and what items are being promoted. Customers may also lose interest when the same window is displayed for too long.

Some of the benefits in trying to cope with the fact that at times your display might look boring and uninteresting are connected with the way in which we reconsider our approach. The best treatments that have proven successful include the use of realistic settings, people finding it the best way to actually get to know how a certain item of clothing or whatever is used.

Using sculpture, paintings or art objects for a touch of class is another idea that can help, people appreciating not simply art by itself, but the fact that it renders a certain fanciful aspect, it is a matter of taste. Being capable of recognizing a piece of art is a sign of a well-educated person.

Media tie-ins, with current area activities, films, stars or best-selling books might seem appropriate for apparel stores, having the benefit that they can communicate with people of different ages and tastes.

- When planning interior displays, the theme and image presented on the exterior must be carried throughout the interior of the store to provide consistency.

-  Use a display that reflects the target customers; use the best of the collection in stock.

Unusual textures or objects may attract and highlight the display. You can use certain objects that might seem odd or vintage; they can help your collection gain creativity and originality.

-  If you consider displaying one object but you can’t find anything to emphasize it, just surround it by a black background and illuminate it from different angles. The contrasts are seen as a good way to create a center of interest.

Shiny surfaces emphasize and enlarge objects. If you need more ways to improve the aspect of an item, make use of materials and other stuff that can reflect, not absorb the light.

- The use of repetition generally leads to the idea that it is communicated something important; repeated shapes, colors or motifs reinforce the aspects that are presented, creating a center of interest.

-  Proportions take on more meaning when items define one another.

-  Use a balanced ratio of props in order to avoid the appearance of a strange situation, people thinking that you’re actually selling your props rather than your merchandise.

  • George Blitzer