January 25, 2017 3 min read

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.                                         

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