The Art of Colour Blocking

Colour blocking has been a daring and transformative trend since Piet Mondrian’s early 1900s debut of neoplasticism. In its evolution through the 1960s mod style and Andy Warhol’s classic Pop Art, colour blocking has become most widely known as an artistic tool that utilizes bold and bright colours in many of the store windows.

Today, colour blocking of products in the stores is one of the simplest ways to add visual impact and one of the basics in Visual Merchandising. From shirts, towels, fruit and tins of paint, products can be displayed in an eye-catching and practical way. Here’s a selection of photographs that certainly make an impact with the use of bright bold colours.

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Explore the World!

As we fast approach the holiday season, many retailers will be focusing on a travel concept for their windows.

Through the power of imagination, your travel concept can whisk your customer away to far flung and exotic destinations. That’s after they have shopped in your store!

With clever use of Signage, Graphics, World Globes and even Ice Cream, this can be fun concept to put together and install. A travel theme can work for so many different types of merchandise from Fashion, to Jewellery to Stationery through to the obvious Suitcases and Travel Bags.

Here is a selection of ideas of push your imagination.

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The Chelsea Flower Show

Last week in Chelsea, London saw the World-renowned, glamorous and quintessentially British, RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This truly unforgettable event that draws huge crowds to see the spectacular show gardens.

Many visitors to the show arrive by tube at Sloane Square. To create a visual feast over 90 shops/restaurants and stores in Sloane Square and the bustling Kings Road adorn their windows with stunning floral window displays for The Chelsea in Bloom Festival.

Here is a small selection of photographs from this superb British event.

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H&M Home Store

The High Street may be struggling, but it seems that there is one kind of shop for which there is a growing appetite: a heavily styled interiors store full of stunning merchandise. With its black walls and hints of gold and a superb parquet flooring, the new stores feel likes a high-end shopping destination.

The company at the forefront of this building brand trend is the Swedish group H&M, the world’s second largest fashion retailer and increasing force in interiors.

The new H&M Home Concept Store in Regent Street covers 700 square meters spread over 2 floors. Complete with in-house florist and café, the store’s so much more than a shop, it’s a complete shopping experience. The store is filled with the latest-on-trend furniture and accessories for living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and children’s rooms.

So next time you are in Regent Street, then this store is definitely worth a visit.

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Signage & Ticketing

Have you ever noticed how much signage, ticketing and graphics are now an integral part of Visual Merchandising?

Whether it’s a graphic panel in a window display or ticketing promoting a new product or a branding block, these elements enhance the store image and the appeal of the merchandise.

Graphics play a vital role in the design of the store and in the communicating a promotion or Brand message.

Gone are the days when stores used no signage, nowadays it all about creating theatre. Large graphic panels in windows or the signage on the doors will guide you into the store, while in-store signage/ticketing do more than inform you as the price of an item. A ticket will educate the customer about the product, reinforce a promotion and will ultimately make the decision as to whether the customer buys the merchandise.

In this digital age in some stores, you are now able to scan your smart phone on the QR Code and receive information about the product.

Apart from having an in-house VM team, many large stores will also employ a team of Graphic Designers who role is to devise new and exciting graphics and tickets for the shop floor. Coupled with this, many stores will have facilities to print all ticketing, signage and graphics in-house.

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The VM & Display Show 2019

The Visual Merchandising & Display Show held at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, is the longest running exhibition for the industry.

Whether you are a retailer, designer, in the leisure and entertainment industry or in fact use visual merchandising to promote your products or services, the VM Show is a must visit for everyone involved. The show  features a range of everything connected with visual merchandising & display from Mannequins, Print, Christmas Decorations, Display Services, Props, Design, Graphics, Bust Forms, Lighting, Fabrics and everything in between!

As Chairman of The British Display Society, the show was a great success for us. Not only promoting Visual Merchandising as a recognised career, but  gaining new members both Corporate, Freelancers and Individual members. Retail and The High Street is tough at the moment, so everyone within the industry has to work together, utilising each other’s skill sets in order to make the High Street vibrant and exciting again. Check out our website to learn more about Membership and our Visual Merchandising Training Courses.

Here is a selection of photographs from the show.

The VM & Display Show

World-changing thinkers and innovators all under one roof.The VM & Display Show is the longest running exhibition for the industry.

Whether you are a retailer, designer in the leisure, entertainment industry or use Visual Merchandising to promote your products or services, this show is a must visit for everyone involved.

The show covers everything within Visual Merchandising and display from Mannequins, Print, Christmas Decorations, Display Services, Props, Design, Graphics, Lighting, Fabrics and everything in-between!

As the Chairman of The British Display Society, we will be exhibiting to promote our VM Training Courses, and our membership, both individual and Corporate. So come along to Stand H49 and meet the BDS Team. Let’s keep Visual Merchandising alive and kicking in this modern retail world. See how we can push your VM career. Check out our website;

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The Rise of Pop-Up Stores

Have you noticed the number of Pop Up shops quite literally popping up? With the increase of on-line shopping, Brands are now fighting to attract customers back by creating the pop-up shop experience that will have a lasting impression with customers. Retail, whether it’s a Pop-Up Shop or permanent, needs to be fun and exciting for customers. It’s all about creating retail theatre,  creating a memorable shopping experience for the customer which is something you don’t get when you are shopping on-line.

Pop-Up shops were introduced in the early 1990’s in cities such as London, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo. These retail event spaces create theatre, create a fun place to shop and generate new customers, while building Brand awareness. This is a great opportunity for the Brand to educate customers, as well as connect with customers who normally shop on-line. It gives the Brand an opportunity for a Pop-Up shop without signing up to a long, expensive and complicated lease on a property.

While most Pop-Up shops are in Malls or on the street, some pop-up shops still remain physical bricks and mortar stores. In many department stores such as Selfridges in the UK, Pop-Up shops are installed and become part of the overall department store environment. It creates excitement and anticipation when a new Pop Up shop is being launched and is an opportunity to for Brands to promote a new product, or something that is on trend or even a Wedgewood Tea Shop in Peter Jones in London.

In February Creative Download was involved with creating the Concept/Pop-Up Store “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) in Gothenburg. They are currently running an event entitled British Island, showcasing 20 innovative and sustainable British Brands new to Swedish market. This has proved to be very successful.

With any retail outlet (Pop-Up or Bricks & Mortar) good Visual Merchandising and Store Presentation is paramount.

You Don’t Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression

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The Portmeirion Group

The Portmeirion Group is a British company based in Stoke-on-Trent, England.

A significant force in the homewares industry, Portmeirion Group encompasses five quintessentially British brands: Portmeirion, Spode, Royal Worcester, Pimpernel and Wax Lyrical. It is a market leader in high quality and innovatively designed tableware, cookware, giftware, table top accessories and home fragrances. With its reputation for quality, superior service and design innovation, visitors to Portmeirion Group’s stand will be delighted to see extensions to best-selling ranges as well as brand new designs that are perfectly on trend.

Portmeirion Group revealed new collections including Botanic Garden Harmony (Portmeirion), Atrium (Portmeirion) and Kingsley (Spode). “They have been heavily influenced by the current trend to bring the outside in – a huge trend for 2019 – while remaining steeped in each of the three brand’s individual heritage,” explained sales and marketing director Phil Atherton.

Here is a selection of photographs from the recent trade exhibitions at The Spring Fair at the NEC and Ambiente in Frankfurt. Once again, it was a pleasure to be part of the Portmeirion creative team with the dressing & product styling of the exhibition stand.

It does not matter whether you are a trade exhibitor or a retailer, create exciting theatre with your presentation. Grab the attention of those customers! Give them a memorable experience that you cannot find when shopping on-line!

Remember “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”

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Indulge your mum!

Here in the UK, Mother’s Day is on 31st March.  Other than Christmas and Valentines, Mother’s Day should be the third most valuable or rather commercial day of the year when it comes to sales and profit.  This particularly applies to independent gift/home shops.

If you don’t have the space to create an actual ‘window display’, then create a focal point within the shop to attract customers.  Young children may only have a small amount of money to spend on their mum, so cater to their needs.  Small toiletries and candles are always a winner.  If you are a larger retail, then pull together a range of feminine merchandise which could include throws, flowers, pictures or books.  Don’t over complicate the area. It should be simple to browse and shop from, and more importantly it needs to have ‘quick pick up lines’.

Many retailers now offer a free ‘gift wrap service’.  This could be anything from wrapping in nice tissue paper to that add-on sale with a sheet of gift wrap.  Make the customer feel special and give them a shopping experience which they cannot find when shop on-line.  As retailers it is paramount to step up a gear and get customers back onto the High Street.

Here is a selection of photographs from my files which should inspire you to make a splash of Mother’s Day to drive that all important revenue for your business.

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