Must-Use Tools for Visual Merchandisers and Window Dressers
The right tools can make a world of difference in your ability to create effective product displays and window designs. They will streamline the process, allowing you to focus on more attentive aspects of visual merchandisers. So, what are some of the essential, must-have tools for visual merchandisers and window dressers?
As a visual merchandiser, one tool that you don't want to leave home without is a digital camera. You'll be taking dozens if not hundred of photos from all different angles, using them as reference material later. And don't assume that your smartphone's camera will suffice. While some of the newer model handsets are equipped with decent cameras, they tend to lack the features and sheer quality of a dedicated DSLR. Using a DSLR, you can take phenomenal photos of your window displays and products, reviewing later to decide what changes need to be made.
Also known as POGs or schematics, a planogram is a visual representation of a store's products and the way in which they are presented. Many retailers use them to establish an attractive, consistent layout for their product. Rather than blindly tossing products onto the shelves with no real sense of strategy, visual merchandisers can use a planogram as a source of reference. While planograms vary depending on the retailer, most include information like the type of product being displayed, quantity of product, shelf height, and spacing.
Don't underestimate the versatility of fishing line in the visual merchandising trade. Using a spool of fishing line, you can secure props, create the appearance of “floating” design elements, hold garments together and more – and unlike standard rope, fishing line is virtually invisible to the naked eye, especially when it's used behind a glass window. Just remember to bring some fingernail clippers or a pair of scissors with it, because it's difficult to break fishing line by hand.
No matter how hard you try to prevent it, dust will inevitably build up on your products and window displays. Using a feather duster, however, you can quickly clean them without disturbing the props or other surrounding elements. Sure, a paper towel and cleaning solution may also do the trick, but you may accidentally knock over a prop in the process. This is why it's recommended that you use a feather duster when cleaning mannequins, signs and props.
You'll have new ideas pop into your head at the strangest times. Perhaps you're grabbing lunch at a nearby burger joint when you think of a new layout for your window display. To prevent this idea from fading away, you should carry a notepad with you. This will allow you to jot down ideas and other notes, regardless of where you are located or what you are doing. Alternatively, you can use a tablet computer for this purpose.
Of course, you'll also want to bring a variety pack of clothes pins with you. If you're having trouble keeping a shirt or some other garment from falling off a mannequin, you can always pin it in place. A handful of clothes pins will go a long ways in the world of visual merchandising. Assuming the mannequin has a cloth body, you can pin the garments directly to the mannequin. For other mannequins, you'll have to pin the garment together so it's tighter.
The Holey Grail of general purpose tools, Super Glue, will certainly come in handy for visual merchandisers. If a prop happens to break, you can quickly remedy the situation by gluing it together. Just a single drop of Super Glue will create a strong hold, keeping the broken pieces together.
Why do you need tulle? Well, this eye-catching fabric can enhance your window displays by adding a fun new element to them. If the display contains a tulle dress, for instance, adding tulle will create a cohesive look in which everything flows together.
Grimy windows are a sure-fire way to send shoppers heading in the opposite direction, so make sure the glass is clean and streak-free. You can easily clean glass window displays using a standard bottle of ammonia-based glass cleaner (sold at most general goods stores). When you are finished cleaning it, take a step back to see if the streaks are visible. Ideally, the glass should be smudge-free and streak-free, with a crystal-like appearance.
You can never have too many signs. Even if you don't intend to use them all, having them on hand will allow you to fill voided spaces in your window displays, making them look fuller and more complete. Visual merchandisers should carry extra signs with them for this very purpose.
This is just a short of some of the essential tools for visual merchandisers and window dressers.
- George Blitzer