Ho Ho Ho!

Christmas comes around so quickly,  I hear you say.  As with many Visual Merchandisers by the time it comes to decorating your own house for Christmas you are tired of seeing Christmas. And so many times have people said to me “You must dress your house so beautifully at Christmas?”

You make the trip into the attic to dig out those decorations that you may have had for several years but feel you need to give your house a new look for 2018.

Here are some Festive ideas to give your house that talking point with friends and neighbours. Ditch the Christmas tree this year and make a Festive Tailors Dummy as a focal point to any room. Finish off with Christmas floral arrangements, not forgetting the stairs which are a feature in any hallway.

You can still remain in the Festive spirit after Christmas lunch, while washing up those dishes!


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The Liberty Christmas Story

The Liberty Christmas Story sees the Liberty animals that are intricately carved in to the panels and pillars of the iconic building come to life via print, verse and display. Liberty Fabric print designer, Ffion Griffith and emerging poet, Gabrielle Djanogly worked closely together to create the enchanted world of our yule-tide creatures. Hand drawn by Ffion in Liberty’s London based design studio, the animals have been reimagined to create a series of Christmas prints, whilst Gabrielle’s ‘A Liberty Christmas’joyously describes the antics of our magical friends at night and how they help and hinder Christmas preparations.

Taken straight from the Christmas print itself, the Liberty animals spring in to action within the store’s ten Great Marlborough Street windows. The black and white 2-D animals are displayed against richly decorated home-scenes surrounded by an assortment of gifts. Cheeky monkeys are seen swinging from the ceiling, guffawing elephants sit at the head of dinner tables and lions relax by the fireside.




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Taking a break!

Thank you for following the Creative Download Visual Merchandising Blog. This is one of the busiest times of the year so the Creative Download blog is taking a break until the end of November. This gives me a chance to install Christmas into various shops, houses and hotels and finalise Valentines, Mothers Day and Spring 2019 concepts! Thank you for your patience.

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Please bear with me!

The Impact 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 a 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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Store Windows over the years.

Walk around any town and city nowadays and you see an abundance of store windows attracting customers into their stores.

The staff that look after the window concepts were originally called Window Trimmers, however that was in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Visual Merchandising may be a modern term, but its application has existed long before there was ever a set of words to describe it.

Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, there is not much to report concerning the world of window displays, for their beginnings seem to trace back to the arrival of department stores in the 1850s. It is so interesting looking at photographs of “old” window displays. In the early days, it was very much a case of “stack it high” when it came to non-fashion merchandise. Terms such as Focal Point and Lines of Sight just weren’t used. As for fashion being displayed in the windows, as you can see from the photographs in this blog, times have certainly changed, not only with the fashion itself but the style and pose of mannequins. Some stores would not have the budget for mannequins so they had to adapt by wiring garments.

Marshall Fields & Company, which opened in 1852, is considered to be the birthplace of the display window layout. The layout was unveiled during the 1870s. It is accredited in part to Harry Gordon Selfridge. He introduced a variety of innovative and, at the time, radical methods for displays and marketing. Selfridge, in addition to creating window displays, also is known for the creation of the display department of department stores. The term Display Department was soon changed to The Visual Merchandising Department.

I recently visited an exhibition at The Serpentine Gallery in London and was intrigued to see a mock-up of a store from the 1900’s. In 2009 Selfridges celebrated its centenary.  Each window depicted a particular year, and the style of dressing was in keeping with that time. The Creative Team put a twist on the windows by adding one colour – Pantone 109C – The famous yellow of Selfridges.

The race to create the biggest and best window concepts is still apparent today to attract those all-important customers. It is very much as case of giving the customer something they won’t find while shopping on-line. With Christmas just around the corner, many stores will be installing their Christmas concepts ready for the excitement and curiosity of the public.

Given the current economic climate that retailers in the UK are facing, let’s hope business is brisk with the run up to Christmas. Retailers need to continue their fight in attracting those on-line customers back into their store. You don’t get retail theatre and a pleasurable shopping experience from ordering on-line.

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Lets make Visual Merchandising great again!

Following the recent Annual General Meeting of The British Display Society, I am pleased to announce that I was elected as the new Chairman of the Society. This is a great honour for me and I am proud to represent The British Display Society and ensure Visual Merchandising remains a recognised profession and that VM does not become a dying art, despite the current economic climate.

I have worked in the VM industry for over 20 years working at stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Tangs in Singapore. I have had the opportunity to work on projects in New York, Shanghai, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Switzerland. I now run Creative Download Visual Merchandising Consultancy. (www.creative-download.co.uk)

Established in 1947 the British Display Society was created to encourage and promote the highest standards of Visual Merchandising, Design & Display. Over the years the Society has constantly maintained its professional standing and adapted to changing times within both education and the retail world it seeks to service and enhance.

Former BDS students work throughout the U.K. and indeed throughout the world are now VM Managers, College Lecturers and Consultants. Although we are based in the UK, our members are worldwide!

Members are backed by the Society’s ‘Pathway to Professional Recognition’ through which affixes are awarded to members whose work and achievements. I am proud to say that I am a Fellow of The British Display Society and have the affix “FBDS” after my name.

Here’s a selection of photographs. These include archive photo’s, students work and the BDS team.

Our website will shortly be revamped but do take a look at the website (www.britishdisplaysociety.co.uk) and learn more about the BDS, our courses, membership and benefits.

I look forward to welcoming you on board, so whether your expertise is fashion or non-fashion, let’s Visual Merchandising a great industry again!

You can find The British Display Society on Facebook and Linked In.

John Lewis Christmas Shop

John Lewis has opened its Christmas shop, complete a festive forest and rainbow bauble wall. The company has branded its yuletide space its “most colourful and flamboyant Christmas shop to date”.

The Christmas forest features 55 real and artificial trees, filling the room with an earthy scent of pine, and a selection of over 400 different baubles. Shoppers can also take a break in the makeshift wood cabin.

Other highlights include the a twinkling walkway called The Rainbow Avenue of Light, which has been created with over 136,400 lights – an excellent Instagram opportunity if ever there was one.

The range of merchandise is excellent with a superb selection of tree decorations, games & puzzles, through to a wide selection of food and alcohol gifts.

Check out the website: http://www.creative-download.co.uk

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Autumn Home Interiors

Where has the Summer gone? It only seems like yesterday when we were Spring cleaning of our homes and buying Spring/Summer items to accessorise our homes. Now we see new trends for Autumn and Winter appear in many stores. Many home retailers are following the trends of animal prints. This is also reflected in many fashion stores where tiger, zebra and crocodile prints roam free! This will certainly be evident at this week’s London Fashion Week.

The new Autumn/ Winter 2018-2019 colour trends from the runways are available to dazzle. The richness expected from Autumn is definitely on trend, but unexpected shades are changing how people consider their looks for Autumn and Winter. The rich tones, colour blocks and animal prints as what’s to come this season, mixed in with intense hues of berries and bark.

From the rich autumnal shades, on the runway to home interiors and accessories that transfer a ray of summer to the gloomy days of Autumn/Winter.

Here are some of ideas of Autumn home interior merchandising for your store.

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Check out the website: www.creative-download.co.uk


Autumn/Winter 2018/19

It’s that time of year when the new trends for Autumn and Winter appear. Python, zebra, cheetah, croc and more animal prints roamed free and wild across the catwalk shows this season.

The new Autumn/ Winter 2018-2019 colour trends from the runways are available to dazzle. The richness expected from Autumn is definitely on trend, but unexpected shades are changing how people consider their looks for Autumn and Winter.

From the rich autumnal shades, on the runway to home interiors and accessories that make an effort to transfer a ray of summer to the gloomy days of Autumn/Winter, the new cold seasons have it all!

Look out for next week’s blog for Autumn Home Interior Merchandising for your store.

Don’t forget you can follow Creative Download on Instagram

Check out the website: www.creative-download.co.uk

We love our animals…..

Most of us are huge animal fans, whether it’s our dogs or cats or whether it’s the excitement of seeing a giraffe or lion.

It’s interesting to see how animals (as display props) have moved into our windows and in-store VM sites. As we all know a window concept should be bright, themed and catch the eye of the passing potential customer. Louis Vuitton has certainly captured the imagination with various concepts over the years using dogs through to elephants. Window concepts are retail theatre and given the current economic climate, retailers are using their windows to make us stop and look.

The store Level Kids in Dubai used Flamingo’s in their summer scheme while Fortnum & Mason used wicker animals in their windows as well as in-store.  Graphics now include animals which has included a Back To School concept at Paperchase. Sometime ago, I remember seeing a huge whale hung over a china & ceramic table at Anthropologie at their store in Regent Street. That was quite a focal point and something totally unexpected.

In my previous role as Head of Visual Merchandising at Tangs in Singapore, I devised an Octopus for a concept entitled “I am not a Shoe Addict”.  Made from polystyrene, its feet were actual pairs of shoes and we gave the octopus a winking eye to attract the customers attention.

And naturally when Christmas arrives, this is when the fun starts. Probably the best concept using animals was the redoubtable Selfridges with their Pantomime concept. A brilliant concept and well executed, and  having worked as a VM Manager at the store, I would expect nothing less.

Don’t forget you can follow Creative Download on Instagram

Check out the website: http://www.creative-download.co.uk