The previous post titled "Guidelines for Remarkable Booth Display" was a brief summary. This post expands on some of these guidelines with more explanation and resources.
I found a great book to recommend: Visual Merchandising: Windows and In-Store Displays for Retail, by Tony Morgan. Many quotes from this book appear in today's post. The price for Visual Merchandising is modest . . . or look for it in your local library. The author has written many books.
Another book at a somewhat higher price is Windows at Bergdorf Goodman Anniversary Edition. The publication date is November 15, 2012...so this sounds like both a timely publication and could be a really great holiday gift. It must be amazing!
"Bergdorf Goodman turns 111 this year and is feting the occasion in appropriately high style. Premier designers have been enlisted to create exclusive one-offs, such as Akris's 10- piece window-print capsule collection inspired by "a vintage photograph found in the book Windows at Bergdorf Goodman." Image and quote found in Bazaar magazine.
The windows of Bergdorf Goodman are famous for style and innovation. Some windows are very involved productions, while others only involved a background of burnt toast graded from light to dark or helium balloons (proving that not all great ideas have to be expensive or complicated).
Most of the books on visual merchandising are college textbooks and kind of pricey (as textbooks are inclined to be). Buy the used early editions or borrow the books from your local library. If they don't have it, use the inter-library loan program with your local colleges. Here is one more book recommendation with good information despite very lackluster images in black and white. Visual Merchandising and Display (6th edition)
As we review some of the principles in window design applicable to booth display, keep in mind the importance of focusing on a few key ideas. The booth display needs to excite the customer about why they can't live without your work.
I was watching a video about the fashion world and a comment from Mindy Grossman, CEO & Director of HSN caught my ear. She said, "It's the idea of inspiring vs. selling. People want to be inspired to buy things, they don't want to be sold to."
BELOW ARE DISPLAY CATEGORIES TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR BOOTH DISPLAY
YOUR NAME (or company name) UP HIGH on display
"Signage is probably the most important component of any display. You can't assume that every person who sees a display is going to understand it. There are many ingredients that go into signage. It needs to educate, explain, and make the product something you just have to have."
"Often signage and graphics may be used as a statement to support the ...theme, or sometimes as the prop that ties" a theme together. "It is always best to keep any text simple and explanatory; punchy one-liners always work best." "...too many tags, signs, or graphics can lead to visual overkill." Visual Merchandising
LIGHTING to highlight your work. "Lighting is one of the most fundamental aspects of design." Visual Merchandising has a lighting chart for a variety of lighting options. Low voltage LED lights are really phenomenal options for limited electricity. They even run off a battery.
CLEAR THEME that relates to your work. This could be:
- visual motif
- demographics of your customer. Will your theme relate to your customer base?
"...What are you aiming to achieve with your display? Are you aiming to shock, attract, or cause a buzz?" Your objective may be to "stop passing customers in their tracks." Visual Merchandising
The Louis Vuitton windows featured an eye-popping installation by dot-obsessed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
- ONE DOMINANT COLOR
- COLOR CREATES a MOOD
- UNUSUAL COLOR COMBINATION can look great.
- COLOR THEME works with the merchandise.
"One of the most effective... schemes that has been used by visual merchandisers worldwide is the use of only one color. Various shades of the same color used in the same display can create impact." A display "based on the color blue, for example, can add an emotional value: it could be perceived as cold, sad, or - depending on the hue - warm." "Color can also promote a trend: pink for valentine's Day, for example; red for Christmas; or black for a more luxurious fashion look." Visual Merchandising page 80
"Color really is the most magnificent tool for capturing the attention of passersby and creating atmosphere. If in doubt, always go for the brighter or darker option. Taking the soft option will not be as effective and will be perceived as predictable by the customer who may overlook the color scheme...as weak" or stale. Visual Merchandising page 83
"The hardest category of products to design display... for what is called 'smalls'. This includes... jewelry." "It is much harder to focus on little things and get a big impact." "What you need to do is make a broad statement that grabs people's attention from a distance, and then focus their field of vision onto the product by drawing them into the center, corner, back wall, ... to notice the little gem. Pin spotlighting and clever signage is a sure-fire way to get this done." Visual Merchandising page 74
I do not think that artists and makers selling their handmade or artist-made items should use commercial displays. It sends the wrong message. Commercial or purchased displays look...well....just so commercial. It does not say "handmade", "artist made" or one-of-a-kind. It says standardized, commercialized, manufactured.
The display (left photo) is from Visual Merchandising page 155 featuring lacquered bamboo.
Then we start a series by Guest Author Alison Antelman about how she previews craft shows, selects the craft shows she participates in, and more. Hear from Antelman's years of experience.
PS. I love comments, but the comments on ASK Harriete now require my approval before they go live. This is because increasing visibility has attracted spam. Please be patient, I publish all comments whether I agree or disagree but remove spam.
This post was updated on June 30, 2022, to provide current links.