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One Hour At The Mall For Display Ideas

In a previous post, I was pretty blunt about craft displays that do not measure up to retail displays.  Yet, it seems disingenuous to criticize without offering solutions. The biggest problem is that we makers aren't display professionals, yet we are competing against the best for consumer dollars.

Effective display of your art or craft is an essential ingredient for success. This is reiterated by Greg Lawler of the Art Fair Sourcebook who says successful artists "pay attention to the presentation of their work in their booths..."

So with this insight in mind, I set myself an assignment. Could I go to the mall and in one hour find display ideas that could be implemented at low cost and incorporated into a craft booth display? What display tools do stores use to catch the eye of the consumer?

Please keep in mind that the objective is to find nuggets of ideas that a maker could implement for eye-catching results. Go searching on your own at the high-end mall or downtown retail area for inspiring ideas that fit your style.

Here are some rough ideas.

My photos were taken discretely and quickly. Generally, store managers don't like people taking photos. This is about thinking smart with a "can do" attitude. 

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Small carpet segments on the floor help create islands of instant eye-catching color. It visually gathered two tables and a sign into one cohesive display.

I began to notice that carpets are used everywhere in different colors. Even carpet on carpet to focus a display of merchandise. In the next photo, a black carpet creates a trio of three different mannequins. The glittery sequin theme of the dresses was repeated on the fabric-covered mannequin torso and the printed backdrop. 

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The housewares department is a great place to find ideas. The stores are accustomed to finding innovative ways to make objects look attractive.

Signs high above the merchandise were used over and over in different ways throughout many different stores.

Notice in the image below the high signage above the plates and dishes to grab your eye.

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An interesting sign with your name high above your work is an effective way to gain name recognition and attract attention for work in your booth.  It must be high enough to be above the heads of the crowds with clear and easy-to-read lettering.

Color for your sign is an option, but not required. It depends more on the styles and colors of your work or signature style.

Below the lettering white on white works just fine.

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In this image above, notice how the brand name is high above the merchandise. The addition of the vessel is irrelevant to selling clothes but a fabulous idea for any person making vessel forms. Large and dramatic it was eye-catching, solo by itself up high.

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Here two vessels form a group below the sign. Again this shelf is high to keep the name and image above the crowd.

ALL kinds of signs can work but they need to be elevated high in the retail space. Notice the writing (rear left) at the ceiling height. The CHOOSE ME and HEAR ME signs are "calls to action" but they could be your name.

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Notice how these signs (above) hang from the ceiling. They were very high so that they were always visible no matter how many people were in the store. Your signs could hang from the pipe and drape, tent, or an extra pole across the top. Use the signs for your name, or a "call for action" like these.

Did you notice the bright yellow walls? While this may not be appropriate for everyone, if it works for your style, yellow is an energizing color.

High merchandiseI noticed several stores featured one item or a group of items up high (above eye level) to catch the eye of the consumer. For example, the shoe is high, but more shoes for selling are much lower.

Highmerchandise2Notice how they used simple boxes to frame merchandise on the shelf and as a stand.

To the right is a similar idea. A high shelf for "display purposes". Merchandise for selling is below.






The next idea would be a great backdrop for the back of your booth or function as support for your tables or both.

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This structure of painted steel rings could easily be redone with cardboard tubes. Cut and paint the cardboard tubes in advance. Use shipping tubes for small circles. The tubes here are all one size but I could easily see this idea with circles of all different sizes. Larger cardboard tubes for pouring concrete pillars (Sono tubes) would be easy to find at a construction supply store. Pop rivet or glue'em together.

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While this was supposed to be an open divider, I can see merchandise displayed inside the circles if they were large enough.


  • Pick a theme, shape, or color scheme for within the area of your both.
  • Keep your signage high above the heads.
  • Signs need to match your booth aesthetic.
  • Display example merchandise up high above eye level.

Consider the impact of your color choices.
    White on white for sophistication and modern aesthetic.
    Research your color selection. Color sends a message.
    Use color to unify display elements.
    Use color for eye-catching results.

THE NEXT POST is my 2nd assignment:
Could great display ideas be found on the internet? Wait till you see what I found!!!!!!!!!!

This post was updated on June 22, 2022, to provide current links.