How not to present your retail shop or store to your customers.

To end 2018 in a somewhat comical way, I thought I’d share a few photographs that will make you gasp, smile, laugh and probably shock you.

I have worked in the Visual Merchandising industry for over 20 years and have travelled extensively and observed a great deal in retail. I have collected these photographs over the years, while some have been sent to me by other Visual Merchandisers who I know. These photographs are used in the VM training sessions I run and in VM guidelines I create for clients. I do find educating retailers is the most challenging part of my job, but hopefully images like this will help them improve their shops and stores.

On a serious note, these photographs will probably shock you. Customers should not be subjected to seeing these sights. Anything from crammed window displays to the complete lack of merchandise in windows through to unprofessional mannequin poses to bad ticketing & signage to the shop floor being used at the stock room.

The most worrying part is that these retailers think this is acceptable for customers to see these sights. In this tough competitive work of retail, first impressions are vital. After all, “You Don’t Get A Second Chance To Make A First Impression”. There is always a customer looking over your shoulder!

In this tough market, retailers need to create the right shopping environment. From shop fronts to window displays to interior visual merchandising, product layout and focal points around the store, Creative Download will ensure that creativity is balanced with the commercial requirements of your business.

You can follow Creative Download on Facebook and Instagram.

Fomo Store, Gothenburg, Sweden

A new flagship pop-up store called “FÖMO”, which stands for Fear of Missing Out, has opened in The Mölndal Galleria, a new shopping centre in Gothenburg, Sweden. This unique physical lifestyle magazine gives a new shopping experience featuring a broad range of categories with a focus on brands that are not easily available in Sweden.

It is a mix of a living lifestyle magazine and a multi-brand concept with products changing frequently through the year to ensure customers always see, touch, taste, smell and hear something new, with frequent events driving new kinds of customer experience. The store provides Retail As A Service (RAAS) with staff, concepts, events and marketing to deliver the right message for each brand. As part of the program, brands are required to have event activations, appear in the window – much like the cover of a magazine for a few weeks and provide something that benefits the community whilst engaging with their customers.
A micro-department store of sorts, focusing on an event format with exhibitions, workshops and experiential marketing. A play area, coffee break spot and shopping in one space, how inviting!

I understand that “FÖMO Store” is inviting new brands to come on-board and hunting for new locations in Europe to expand the concept.  For further information contact:

Don’t forget you can follow Creative Download on Facebook and Instagram.


Selfridges Rocks Christmas

The department store is taking inspiration from rock-and-roll and pop music culture for its Christmas theme, which shows Santa dressed up in an assortment of difference rock outfits.

The windows, in Oxford Street London, also references the Blondie song ‘Hangin On TheTelephone‘, with a Debbie Harry-inspired mannequin in one of the windows.

The department store said more than 100 people had worked on non-stop rotated shifts over the past eight days to prepare the windows for the unveiling today.

Follow Creative Download on Facebook & Instagram



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!

Follow Creative Download on Facebook & Instagram

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.

Follow Creative Download on Facebook, Instagram and Linked In

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.

You can follow Creative Download on Facebook as well as Instagram.


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.

Don’t forget you can follow Creative Download on Facebook and Instagram.



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.

You can follow Creative Download on Instagram


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. (

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 ( 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:

Instagram: creativedownload