Visual merchandising is the activity and profession of developing floor plans and three-dimensional displays in order to maximise

sales.[1] Both goods or services can be displayed to highlight their features and benefits. The purpose of such visual merchandising is to attract, engage and motivate the customer towards making a purchase. Visual merchandising commonly occurs in retail spaces such as retail stores and trade shows. Visual merchandising is the art and science of presenting the products you sell in the most attractive way possible, in order to generate traffic, create interest and buzz -- and of course, generate sales!

/////////////////////////////Visual Merchandising:

A Guide for Small Retailers Visual merchandising can help create that positive customer image that leads to successful sales . It not only communicates the store’s image, but also reinforces the stores advertising efforts and by the customer . Visual merchandising is a major factor often overencourages impulse buying

looked in the success or failure of a retail store . It is second only to effective can customer be relations. as everything

Visual merchandising the


customer sees, both exterior and interior, that creates a positive image attention, of a business and results in

interest, desire and action on the part of the customer . A story can be told that communicates to the prospective customer what the store is all about . It includes the dramatic presentation of merchandise as well as other important, subtle features that create the store’s overall atmosphere .

Eighty percent of our impressions are created by sight; that is why one picture is worth a thousand words . Each customer has a mental image of a store and its merchandise . A store should have an inviting appearance that makes the customer feel comfortable and yet eager to buy . “Visual Merchan-dising is every-thing the customer sees, both exterior and interior, that creates a positive image of a busi-ness and results in attention, interest, desire and action on thepart of the customer.”

Visual Merchandising NCRCRD, 1991

Some businesses reduce






costs, which means it is even more important for the merchandise to sell itself. Greater effort must be spent on

merchandise displays that make it easier for the customer to find and purchase the items they want or need.

The basic objective for visual merchandising is a desire to the attract order to customers sell to a place of is business offered in to

merchandise. the

Visual merchandising

customer through exterior and interior presentation . Each should be coordinated with the other using the store’s overall theme . Creating and maintaining a store’s visual merchandising plan, however, is not a simple task . It is necessary to continually determine what the customer sees . This evaluation from the customer’s perspective should start on the exterior and work completely through the interior of the store .

Visual Merchandising NCRCRD, 1991

E?terior Presentation

The quality of a store front is a major determinant for a customer, particularly a new customer, and should not be underestimated . The exterior appearance of one store, a block of businesses or a cluster, silently announce what customers can expect inside . Good exterior visual merchandising invites attracts attention, creates interest and

the customer into the business . The exterior presentation can offer a conservative, progressive, lavish or discount

image to the customer .

How a store visually welcomes customers has a lot to do with whether or not they enter the store . good prices and positive word-of-mouth advertising is important, it is hard to overcome the negative image of a poor store exterior . When examining a store’s exterior, consider the following questions:

How do customers locate the business? Are the sidewalks clean, safe and accessible? Are the exterior signs clean, fresh and readable? Does the store front need cleaning, painting or touchup? Are the outside entrances clean and accessible? Are the windows clean, bright and inviting? Are the window display preparation materials such as tape, pins and packaging materials removed? Are the window displays frequently changed? Do the window displays carry a theme?

E?terior Signs

A sign is a silent salesperson, and part of a shopper’s


impression the sign



store. In





Visual Merchandising NCRCRD, 1991 must it attract what has to what attention, sell. An tell who the sign business will is and



type of business is being conducted .

Off-premise signs provide

information and


especially for travelers and new residents . Signs can also help effectively should communicate be a poor location. to read The from 200

lettering feet,

large enough

which is the distance required to stop a car traveling 40 miles per hour. Signs with from 8-inch letters can be read

a distance up to 250 feet . A car traveling 55 miles per hour needs about 400 feet to stop . A sign requires 12-inch lettering to be read at that distance .

A sign’s design conveys a great deal about the business inside . A stark design and limited materials may suggest discount prices and no frills . Elegant and expensive sign materials may suggest luxury goods and services . Signs may also be segment used to such target a specific market

as youth, women, senior citizens, singles, etc .


many signs compete




design and logo become even more important . They should be unique, noticeable and readable . When preparing a size, sign to draw the customer’s attention, and consider struc-

shape, materials,




ture . For example, among several rectangular signs in close proximity to one another, construct an oval or circular sign that will stand out . Also consider a sign’s relationship with its surroundings . A sign may look good on an individual store front, but very unattractive when

viewed in conjunction with other buildings on the street .


brief, well-designed,

well-lettered and


read signs will convey a feeling of welcome . Design graphics appropriate for the nature of the business, and create a message that is clear and simple . Focus on one or two key words to describe the business . A clean, clear message will have more impact .

Signs with faded





bulbs, flaking


paint, or cracked and peeling backgrounds can hurt the overall store image . A shabby or dilapidated sign implies a lack of concern with the business image, and a sloppy, poorly managed business . Signs should be well main-

The top of the permanent (marquee) provides an opportunity to showcase seasonal displays or special promotional banners . It can be used to announce a change in seasons. An effective to marquee must stand out A from the on other businesses some attract attention. Banners . Marquees This special type of sign is used to display the name of a store. original and continuously recognizable to the public . and painted every three years or sooner if they weather or fade .tained. a special event or a promotion . A store’s sign is its signature. 1991 an image that is consistently carried throughout the remainder of the store and its business actions . marquee older buildings is a permanent canopy projecting over an entrance that provides protection from the elements . It should create Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. It is personal.

and on promotional materials and newspaper ads . shape and color from those previ- Consistency is an important aspect of retailing used to maintain a businesses’ image used on is the and banners identification. With each new select a ously used . Awnings . different size. do not overuse banners because shoppers will stop noticing them . can be hung from the marquee and displayed inside the store . eye-catching means of promotion . the same banner design. However. will be more The design concept effective if an graphics attempt made to carry the colors and throughout the store. A new and interesting appearance can be offered by changing the banners frequently . Consumers will think exciting changes are taking place. against the projected To from hung flat exterior. Banners the building provide or can be hung from flagpoles.Banners are used increasingly as an inexpensive but colorful. reduced in size and scale. and be drawn into the store . continuity.

and prevents fading of the dise from exposure to the sun . an awning in poor condition may do harm by distracting from the total store image . noticeable and readable. design and logo become even more important. ? “Where many signs compete for customers’ attention.” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. However. They provide the customer protection from weather and makes viewing the window display more pleasant as it reduces heat. cuts down on glare and merchanreflection.Color and appeal can be added to a store’s exterior with the use of awnings . Other names for these may . 1991 Many businesses are updating their storefronts with new back-lit awning systems . They should be unique.

square and coop style . Picture walking up to an expanse only of by wall a whose flat surface is pierced plain glass door. convex. etc . as opposed to the protective feeling offered by walking under a porch or canopy. Walks and Entries Approximately remember and a 75 percent entrance. The store name is incorporated into it with a translucent (vinyl) film. The illuminated awning fabric is a translucent vinyl that comes in a wide variety of colors . and back-lit conventional awnings .include electric awnings. long dome. Sign and awning companies can assist you in selecting and installing the right style. of first time customers the first store’s which provides last view of the store’s interior . . These modern-looking awnings are used on new as well as older buildings and are usually bright and attractive. interior lit canopy signs. to enter into it . especially at night. Most are interior lit with an egg crate type through bottom that allows light to shine and yet will not allow birds. color and design of awning that would be appropriate for your building . A variety of styles exist such as concave.

power transformers and refrigeration equipment . while an designed entrance is inviting to the customer . The focal point is the business sign and/or the building itself . is also becoming more popular . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD.A properly designed canopy or porch not only protects the customer in bad weather. When adding an entryway. 1991 . be sure it is designed to blend or be consistent with the architecture of the building . An example is a v-shaped window display that funnels window shopping traffic into the store. Entrances that allow shoppers to come into a store without being aware of their entering. Landscaping Landscaping should lead the customer’s eye to the focal point using color and texture to provide contrast and harmony . to well- store. Landscaping can also screen undesirable sights such as garbage receptacles. but can add to the aesthetics of the building . A indefinitely postpone cluttered entering entryway a causes shoppers attractive.

high quality the be used in artificial flowers in the During removed do winter. uninterrupted expanses of grass are easier to maintain than areas cut or up by several small beds of flowers shrubs . be Real flowers and plants silk are flowers ones. simple landscape designs that are easy to maintain . For example. Plants (especially flowering of bedding the plants) enhance the overall look store. Planters. where flowers . located the should parts of from stores not grow in country winter. of a flower boxes and plants used in front store add to the general appearance. and also add to the store’s positive reputation in terms of beautifying the community .The essence of good landscaping is simplicity. artificial some cases. regardless of what type of merchandise is being sold . Planters placed below and in front of a display window actually strengthen the display by adding greater depth to the recommended may over setting.

) covered with rock. and allow ample space along walks to permit normal growth without crowding . • Landscape fabric (black plastic. • Most shrubs should be planted as individual specimens or in small groups . The following guidelines are suggested for stores that have flexibility: • Concentrate hardy native tree species in groups at ends of buildings . This breaks long building lines and shade to the building and customers who have time to linger . etc . where they must be kept low . . Do not plant too close to buildings. Preference should be given to species that have an acceptable appearance and height without continuous trimming or pruning . such as street corners. many businesses may be limited in the amount of landscaping that can be done .Because of location and other factors. • Hedges may be used at strategic points. Plant low-branched trees along back lot lines to reduce noise and give privacy to buildings . bark or other mulches under shrubs and small trees eliminates the tedium of mowing or weeding these areas . • Vines and other ground covers may be useful in shady spots and to protect banks against erosion .

Aesthetically designed and strategically located garbage receptacles for customer use will help keep the grounds free from litter . will go a long way toward welcoming customers . Well designed and sturdy benches for resting and relaxing can be a part of the landscape and may encourage customers to stay longer . A ? Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. 1991 “As many as one in every four sales could be the result of a good window display.” landscape architect or horticulturist can assist in the layout and design of a landscaping program . properly placed and maintained. Window Displays .Well chosen plants.

There is less than 11 seconds to accomplish this. It is especially frequently change window displays in small towns where customers pass by several times a week . interest and invite people into the store to purchase goods . as customers and find it difficult to determine the message what items are being promoted . In malls and larger towns. than advertising .Special emphasis should be placed on a store’s window displays because they are the information link to the potential customer . As many as one in every four sales could be the result of a good window display . Shoppers also lose interest when the same window display important is to left up too long. if not more important. Be careful not to crowd too much merchandise into a window. customers pass by less frequently . Properly specific lighted window displays can help sell . New displays indicate that new. up-to-date merchandise is available . as that is the average amount of time an individual will spend looking at a window display . Window create displays should attract attention. Window displays can be as important.

Use miniature portable spotlights to accent small display areas. regardless of whether the featured products are fashion-oriented. price cards and Compact specific relieve items in a massed near the display. Window lights should reflecbe strong enough to overcome the tions from outside objects. At night. Closed-back windows require a high level of general illumination. shadows Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. 1991 Window displays are more successful when a dominate theme is carried throughout the display. such as parked cars and buildings . institutional or promotional in nature . Suggested window treatments that have proven successful include: .products or ideas that promote a store’s image . bottom of footlights help vertical displays . additional lights on overhead marquees and projecting cornices can make the window area look larger . Massed with overhead window displays are often lighted by fluorescents which are supplemented closely spaced clear incandescent lamps .

1991 Principles of Design . stars or best selling books . with current area activities. Animation. When planning a window display consider the building facade. lighting and viewing angle ? Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. • Media tie-ins. Window displays should be in harmony with the entire surroundings. theatrical Straight merchandise glamorized with props . • The use of sculpture. that draws crowds of shoppers . people and their perceptions.A single object against seamless paper . films. Merchandise displayed as it would be utilized in a realistic A setting. setting using fantasy and drama. such as in holiday windows. color harmony. street. a whole is being created rather than a fragment . paintings or art objects for a touch of class .

project the image of the store and keep expenses to a minimum . to efforts to utilize each square foot will help maximize sales . One proven way to do this is through interior the customer . Promotion or even wasted and advertising dollars are not are less effective when efforts the made within the store to Well-designed effectively merchandise products.Interior Presentation Selling space is the most important part of a store and therefore. Three major goals of a store should be to: motivate the customer to spend money. show what is available. When planning interior displays. and encourage both impulse and planned buying . displays that effectively show merchandise to The purpose of interior display is to develop desire for the merchandise. theme and to help the customer find . remember that the theme and image presented on the exterior must be carried throughout the interior of the store to provide consistency for the customer . displays and in-store promotions are essential for a consistent advertised items .

Visual Merchandising . Information provided by the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI) indicates that nothing influences the consumer’s purchase decisions more than advertising used where the sale is actually made—the point of purchase . 2.Although the percentage of in-store purchase decisions may vary by type of store and product. Keep expenses to a minimum. this is a critical selling point . Motivate the customer to spend money. The three major goals of a store should be to: 1. 3. Project the image of the store .

Displays or advertising alone may not increase product sales substantially. researchers found that 64 . A National Retail Hardware Association survey indicated that 48 percent of all hardware customers purchased one or more items on impulse . emphasis.8 percent of all purchase decisions were made inside a supermarket . rhythm. color. Most people indicated they purchased the item because they saw it displayed . while others are developed from scratch . however. lighting and harmony. Sixty-seven percent of items purchased in liquor stores are impulse items . Some effective or displays are created by suppliers brand-name manufacturers. 1991 As an illustration. Display Design . These principles apply to all displays—window and interior . combining advertising and display into an integrated promotional campaign will usually be more effective.NCRCRD. This included impulse purchases along with substitutions and generally planned buys where the shopper had an item in mind. The main principles of design used in display are balance. proportion. but no brand .

A customer will three to be attracted to a display within eight seconds. it will only confuse the customers . What is the store’s image? Select an image to present to the public . 2. Do not mix images within one store. be it trendy. This is why it is critical to have a properly designed display . both exterior and interior . . elegant. Before designing good displays. off- discount .An effective store is way of attracting customers to a by having good displays. answer the following questions: 1 . This means the design attracts attention in a way that strengthens the store image. Every display should be planned and have a theme . that is the time a customer spends to determine interest in a product . What type display display of that customer reflects is the being attracted? targeted Use a A consumer. Good design makes a visual presentation come together . as well as introducing merchandise to the customer . The customer will identify a certain look with a store and expect that look to be carried throughprice out or the business.

What is the concept of the merchandise to be presented in the display? Display and highlight the merchandise. If formal wear is combined with day wear and kitchen accessories.that works well in one community may be ineffective in another community . cases. Where is the display going to be set up and how will the location determine the design? There are many types of locations for display in every store: windows. 1991 3 . walls. The principles of display should help make the location work for the display . For example. Items be displayed as they are meant to be used or worn . do not should merchandise an attractive display. Why is this merchandise being put on display as opposed to other merchandise? This reason will determine the visual presentation and design . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. 4 . the consumer is confused and sales are lost . it will be displayed differently than regular price merchandise . if the merchandise is on sale. gondolas or islands . Keep in mind . 5 .

emphasis. The principles are discussed separately to provide a clearer understanding of how each works . Five will be covered in this chapter. An understanding of these principles will make it easier to design a display for all types of merchandise . If the sale or promotion lasts for several weeks. rhythm. The primary principles of design used in display include balance. effective and aesthetically pleasing presenta- tion .there should be enough backup stock to warrant a display . Place sale or promotional goods in the front of the store for short periods of time only . proportion. When applied appropriately. all parts of the display are pulled together to create a purposeful. exciting and creative merchandise with a display at the front of the store . Principles of Design Used in Display To execute a display that will sell merchandise. If not. do not display it . color. Interested customers will search out a bargain . lighting and harmony . Introduce the customer to new. it is necessary to have a working knowledge of the principles of design . with color and lighting featured . move the merchandise to the rear of the store .

13 “The principles of design used in display include: • • • • • • • balance proportion rhythm emphasis color lighting the following chapter . 1991 .” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD.

Figure 1. Balance is based on a theory of equals . The two sides of the display appear to be of equal weight.Balance Balance involves the equilibrium and weight of elements between two sides of a display . This can be effective merchandise is being presented . Two types of balance include: 1 . Traditional or symmetrical balance is large on one side and large on the other (Figure 1) . consider the following points . be Several soft colors in a large space can balanced by one bright color because the intensity of the bright color will compensate for its small size . a bright color or a shot of lights. Traditional Balance When planning a display. but they are not replicas of each other . Something large can be balanced by several small items (Figure 2) or an expanse of empty space. Informal or asymmetrical balance creates flow or rhythm and a feeling of excitement . where expensive and quality 2 .

they will overpower the large item . Informal Balance 1? • A pleasing distribution of weight using merchandise of similar value will provide importance to both sides . Emphasis .concerning balance: • If colors are too bright. • A attention large expanse to a of empty space will call single object placed within it . they will overwhelm pastels . the becomes important . • If an object is centered. • If an item is placed at an angle or to one side (off-center). space on either side of that piece Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. the empty space loses importance because its shape is predictable and therefore has less recognition as its own element . 1991 Figure ?. • If several small objects are more exciting than the large object.

When planning a display. Figure 3. such as the use of sports equipment. holidays and other special store events . There should be emphasis in all displays . Themes may also depict seasons. From this spot all other eye movements flow. Emphasis is therefore the formulation of a focal point. The merchandise is the focal point in a majority of displays . with all else in the display subordinate . celebrations. work equipment or leisure equipment set up in a lifelike situation . color or position .Emphasis is the point of initial eye contact . 1991 . This can be by virtue of the focal point’s size. consider the following points concerning emphasis: • A display needs to emphasize a theme or mood. anniversaries. Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Intensity Eye movement is from left to right. All elements in a display must then reinforce one other and emphasize the mood created .

The eye movement is from the square to the space below the dashed line . Small amounts of advancing color. • Color is a powerful medium for creating emphasis .Figure ?. • Shiny surfaces emphasize and enlarge objects . extreme tints or shades contrasts in the right places will provide striking accents . • Dull surfaces absorb light and help to de-emphasize an area . • An isolated item can be emphasized when surrounded by blank space . • Unusual textures highlight an area . Left to Right Movement The focal point is in the upper left and eye movement is to the lower right . Figure 5. • Emphasis is diminished with receding variations such . Optical Center The focal point is the small square . bright intensities.

cool hues. colors or motifs grouped together reinforces their importance. • Repetition usually means something is important. For example. dull.all-over or no pattern. Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. regular spacing. creating emphasis . medium tints or thin. so repeated shapes. Figure ?. nondescript shapes. Make sure if goods are used in repetition that these goods are to emphasized for sale. even light absorption. if attempting sell lawn mowers. Te?ture Eye movement is from left . and small. do not use a grouping or repetition of gas cans. because gas cans will be emphasized rather than lawn mowers . 1991 1? Another example of size difference and eye movement from small to large and left to right. fuzzy lines. dull intensities. opaque textures.

then people have trouble looking at it . it seems out of proportion. If not in proportion. Pyramid The blocks in the pyramid are all in proportion to each other . Figure ?. sizes. Step . Each piece of merchandise must be considered in relationship to all the other merchandise . Each item may look normal when isolated. 1991 Figure ?. Proportion Proportion is the ratio of the parts to the whole display . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. degrees or parts .to right and represents a change in texture . It is a comparative relationship of distances. but if it is inconsistent in area or dimension with neighboring items. amounts.

For example the size of a dinosaur is defined when it story house. • Ratio of merchandise to space is critical: > Each piece of merchandise must be considered in relation to others . Figure 10. Repetition Proportion is also important when repetition is used in a display . related items to large pieces creates more interest and balance . because there is nothing to break the monotony and sameness of that large feeling . consider the following points concerning proportion: • Do not use all large objects. When planning a display. shape and color . • Adding an odd number of smaller. . is standing next to a two • Proportion and balance can best be accomplished when articles through within the display play off each other their size.The size of these steps are also in proportion . • Proportions take on more meaning when items define one another .

Rhythm Rhythm orga- or flow involves the measurement of nized movement. Drastically changing the proportions and the attracting color and texture a can work wonders For example. The rhythm in a display should lead the viewer’s eye . shoes will appear smaller and more delicate when placed next to an enormous teddy bear . a self-contained movement from object to object. background to foreground. and/or side to side . > Each object should not be too large or too small.> The ratio of props and show cards to merchandise must be in proportion to avoid the appearance of stressing or selling your props rather than your merchandise . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. nor too heavy or too light in proportion to other items in display areas . in a pair attention to of baby display. 1991 • Proportion and contrast are important elements of good display .

If dried or silk flowers or reeds placed in the baskets (one and one-half times the height of the baskets). the height of the smaller objects is raised so the the eye flows easily from the head and neckline of mannequin to the baskets . covering the entire display . However. A display can lead the eye . The initial pattern more or design when repeated makes of an impression on the viewer because it provides a continuous beat and completion. repeated or vaguely similar . For example. clearly stated or subtly suggested. there may be proportion but are no flow. if a very tall object. Rhythm entails an arrangement of organized motion and does not necessarily need repetition . Rhythm may be broken-up or continuous. such as a mannequin.from the dominant object to the subordinated object(s) or from the primary presentation of the grouping down to the arrangement of accessories or alternate parts of the display . A of flow a exists if the eye travels from one area display to another. which is satisfying to the viewer . it does gain impact from repetition . is placed next to several short baskets. The eye should travel easily through the entire design .

with color. repetition. shadows created by light placement. • Use elements that mean something together and relate to the merchandise . • Create a and dark. lettering or texture. pattern through the use of light either with color or light . . When planning a display. 1991 Figure 11. Flow Flow is accomplished by repetition of items (shapes) which can be placed in a variety of positions in a display . A right reading should be created in the display . consider the following points concerning rhythm: • English-reading left to people read from left to right. 1? Visual Merchandising NCRCRD.

• Use • Use props that are repetitious either in form or theme . Continuous Line Movement. Figure 13. Progression of Sizes Flow is created by a progression of sizes . small to large . the most effective tools for creating good • It is usually recommended to use an odd number of items when displaying multiples . • Use the technique of flying merchandise to create flow. For example. Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Overlapping is one of flow. 1991 .Figure 1?. • Overlapping of objects placed together in the display area can prevent the blank space that could exist with an even number of items in a display . Rhythm Flow is created by a continuous line movement created by the placement of the items in the display .

• Use with lettering by with repetition of similar create items or flow.Figure 1?. dominance using oversized items to • It is important that the eye is led throughout the display and does not leave until all parts have been seen ..e . Without harmony. Harmony Harmony is a coordinating umbrella principle that can cover and incorporate every other principle . the observer is uncomfortable and will not . i . Harmony is agreement in feeling and consistency in mood. Radiation ?1 Flow is created by radiation from the center or dominant object to subordinate objects in the display . the feeling that all parts of a display relate to each other and to the whole display .

butterflies . hence a camping theme is carried out .be enticed to purchase merchandise . merchandise should not be out of place in the display . gear and outdoor furniture all mixed together because these items truly would be used on a camping trip. Decorative harmony includes the parts of a display that are included only for decorative purposes . All the merchandise is brought together as part of the trip and harmony would be created or a mood would be set . Three forms of harmony (functional. If an atmosphere of spring is being developed. A good window fishing display may have pots and pans. Structural harmony is correctly fitting together all the pieces. an electrical appliance is not structurally consistent in an outdoor or camping display . which means it must be realistic and must work . An example is a kitchen counter used in a display that is the appropriate height and depth for working . structural and decorative) must be in agreement in a display . For example. Functional harmony deals with how something works physically.

the three forms of harmony must be in agreement: • functional • structural • decorative.” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Changing the color scheme can change people’s attitudes (or and perceptions of a store. Color in a display can catch the eye and make people pause and look. props. and can increase . The color combinations and the overall of the ceiling. floor atmosphere covering decor can of a store . These items are “In a display. affect the walls. 1991 Color and Lighting Color Color contributes significantly to people’s impression of a display. as well as a store’s overall appearance .and/or flowers attractive and may add be to used as the theme.

beige. yellow. peach. Warm colors (red. Blue. such as blue-green and violet-blue. The color wheel consists of 12 . People tend to respond a certain way outlined to different colors. They make a room feel warm and intimate . orange and colors with red or yellow hues such as yellow-green. These help create a relaxing atmosphere .decrease) business . violet and colors containing blue. Color can change the shape and add interest to a dull room. these responses are in the chart on the following page . A warm color on the end walls of a long narrow room will appear to shorten the room . brown and orange-red) are stimulating and cheery . A color wheel is a handy tool to use in developing a color scheme for a store . Rooms decorated primarily in cool colors tend to appear larger and more spacious . are cool colors . Warm colors make a room seem smaller while making objects in the room appear larger . green. and object or can direct attention toward a specific away from problem areas . Cool colors are especially pleasing in smaller rooms .

and can increase (or decrease) business. Figure 1?. Several color schemes are combinations.” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. possible by choosing different Some common color schemes that can be used to plan a display are listed below . Emotional Response to Color Color Blue Green Red .“Changing the color scheme can change people’s attitudes and perceptions of a store. as shown on the following page . 1991 colors.

Excites and stimulates . Induces aggression . Makes time seem to pass quickly . Stimulates conversations . Makes time seem to pass quickly . Easy on the eyes . . Thomas R . A cool color .Yellow Orange Violet and Purple Brown Gray Source: Quinn. Cooperative Extension Service. Atmosphere in the Restaurant. Figure 1?. Makes time seem to pass more slowly . Tends to stimulate thought processes and encourage conversation . Michigan State University . Calms and relaxes excited people . Restful and tranquil . Color Wheel Emotional Response A cool color (makes room seem cooler) .

yellow-orange yellow orange yellow-green red-orange green red blue-green red-violet . Draws attention. Royal . Tends to lend elegance and sophistication . Friendly. A cool color . Depressing . Relaxing and warm . Cool . Exhilarating . Creates a feeling of warmth and happiness. warm and vibrant .A cheerful color . Boosts morale .

1991 There are no absolute rules for choosing and combining and the colors. is an example of a monochromatic color . purple blue-violet Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Several pieces of blue merchandise each consisting to of a different value ranging from baby blue navy blue. clothing. Monochromatic Scheme A single color on the color wheel is used with three to five tints and shades of that single true color in this scheme .. only will flexible find guidelines. such as hardware. etc. The attract merchandise featured. Imagination that type lend of to experimentation atmosphere and color schemes customers. will have an effect on the type of color schemes that can be used and the extent to which they can be used .

Triadic Scheme Every fourth color on the color wheel for a total of three colors make a triadic color scheme . bluegreen and green . color scheme needs to be used with caution so as not to end up with an overstimulating nor depressing atmosphere . An example could be red. Examples of analogous schemes could be yellow. Analogous Scheme Any three or four consecutive colors on a color wheel creates an analogous scheme . yellow-green. blue and yellow . This is a good combination of colors that can create the muted. Complementary Scheme A complementary color scheme is represented by two colors that are exactly opposite one another on the color . or blue. green and blue-green. This can be used to create a soft This and subtle decor and warm or cool effect. traditional look as well as more vibrant color characteristics of modern color schemes .scheme .

Split Complementary Scheme Three colors forming a Y on the color wheel consists of a base color and one color on each side of the base color’s ?? “Common color schemes include: monochromatic analogous triadic complementary split • double complementary • tone on tone. Avoid using opposite colors in equal amounts of light and dark combinations . It can result in a very pleasing combination of warm and cool colors .” • • .wheel. such as green and red or yellow and purple .

1991 “A major concern is choosing a background color used in display areas and store interiors that will work for a reasonable period of time. consisting of any two sets of complementary colors create a double complementary scheme . It is a popular color scheme to create interest and richness . Double Complementary Scheme Four colors. yellow-orange and redorange . blueviolet and red-violet.• • Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Be careful not to create a display that is too busy when .” complement (opposite color) . Examples are yellow. or blue.

However. Generally no change in either intensity. as well as red-orange and blue-green . Knowing can about color and its effect on the viewer be helpful in designing displays . make up a tone on tone scheme . Tone on Tone Scheme Two colors that are next to one another on the color wheel with very little space between them. An example of this color scheme would be yellow and purple. festive atmosphere that suggests a . Bright red and yellow create a hot. A dominant color must be selected in developing a color scheme . or in tints or shades is used in a tone on tone scheme . such as degree of brightness.using this color scheme . A single color can be monotonous . Certain colors create intense vibrations when used together . A display of blue and this blue-violet silk flowers is an example of scheme . a the pleasing right effect can be obtained by adding colors using an uneven balance between warm and cool colors .

The color may also be popular in fashion. Using different tints or shades of the color (such as a lighter yellow with a pinker red) will set up a warm.celebration or circus . Background colors should be selected which will show off . Other colors can fan out on either side and complement the feature color . makeup or other merchandise that shows merchandise in the store is current . Too much of any vibrating color scheme will detract from the merchandise and irritate the customer after prolonged exposure. Some of the most effective displays utilize monochro- matic schemes because a large area of any one color can be seen from a great distance and will create an impression of strength in that color . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. drawing customers into a department or store . friendly color scheme and will be less intense and offensive over the long run. housewares. clothing. 1991 Combining color choice with traffic patterns can sell more items . The color a retailer wants featured should be positioned on the wall where it can be easily seen. Bright colors can also be broken up by an eye-relieving area of solid neutral or light tone .

as color can change dramatically when viewed under different circumstances.the merchandise at its best . Near a white wall it will appear lighter and brighter. Influence of Background Color on Merchandise ?? Black Background Enhanced in richness Far more . (See Figure 17. Colors must be considered in view of their surroundings. Next to a green wall a red chair will appear purer and brighter . A red chair will appear yellower when put next to a blue wall . and beside gray it will appear brighter . gray. beige and black . blue. Generally. Colors are also radically altered by differences in pattern and texture.) Figure 17. A dark color placed near a lighter color will appear deeper while the light color will appear lighter yet . neutral colors selected are white.

purer Richer and darker Deepens in .brilliant More luminous Paler. sharpened More luminous Loses strength and brilliancy White Background Lightly duller Darker.


Darker and redder


Beige Background


Bright, but less intense





Lighter and yellowish

Lighter and yellowish

Brighter, gray becomes


Dark Gray Background


Brighter, but loses saturation


Increases brilliancy

Increases brilliancy

Gray becomes green

Courtesy of Fairchild Books, Division of Fairchild Publications, New York .

A major concern is choosing a background color used in display areas and store interiors that will work for a reasonable period of time . There are companies that do color forecasts and track expected color preferences for five years. they Color forecasts can also be received as

pertain to a season . Use these to follow color trends to give store design longevity .

Visual Merchandising NCRCRD, 1991

Some background colors that have been used successfully follow . A comfortable background color choice for leather goods is the mid-value range, such as a beige or gray . This selection also works well for intimate apparel and ready-to-wear . A painted background color will not even if reflect the as much light as fabric, so

merchandise is the same color as the background it will still stand out .




background colors that



the color of merchandise and the customers’ skin tone . Green, with the exception of deep hunter and earthly greens, is an example of a color that should be avoided for this reason .

Stores that carry china and glass can effectively use grays. peach. when more subtle colors are in fashion. and boys’ departments go with bright because the clothes tend to be in bright or deep tones . Dark green or dark blue colors. light blue and green colors should be avoided . The small size of the garments and the generally light tones make the merchandise invisible . Junior departments utilize various color backgrounds depending on current fashion vogue . secondary. sharper colors help these pastels stand out . Background colors in girls’ departments should be kept neutral because of the extensive range of colors sold there. Brighter.Light colors such as pinks. When neon colors are popular. However. Primary. browns and blues as background colors . yellows. white is a very suitable background . blues and whites should not be used as background colors in the infant and toddler areas. since they are the colors used in much of the merchandise sold . the whites are too cold and overpowering . with neutrals used for accent. have been effectively used in menswear areas. Browns work especially well with bone china and blues are .

However. Sky blue and tennis court green enhance sporting goods and equipment because of their outdoor associations . Bright orange. orange and yellow vegetables to separate green vegetables . . White is a widely used color in packaging and on printed surfaces because it is a basic paper color and less expensive than solid printed colors . Gift areas can use black and white with bright accents . Silver should not be shown on a brown background because the reflection will make the silver appear tarnished . bright red and blue are appropriate colors to select for hardware stores. as they provide the best contrast with the wood handles and metals of hard- Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. grays can be utilized with either type of china . About 50 percent of book and record jackets are predominantly white . 1991 ware items . browns and burgundies are great for displaying brass goods.attractive with porcelain. White can be used as an alternating color the way grocers use red.

value and contrast when developing color schemes . b . Do not paint large areas in strong colors . Color schemes seen in . rather than 3 . the smaller the area it should cover . The more intense the color.Color Rules That Can Improve Displays 1 . the softer the 2 . Use soft tints for the floor. Associate the value of the merchandise displayed to the selection of colors in the display . Use a neutral color. Do not combine two or more strong colors without changing the value or intensity . Match the color scheme to the merchandise on display . b. Consider intensity. walls and saturated hues. Be careful when using strong contrast and loud colors . a . a . background. Lower-priced merchandise is generally displayed in a color scheme of vivid hue . Use more a more refined color scheme with the exclusive merchandise . or one of the main colors of the merchandise b. The more intense the color. d . second color should be . a . c.

increasing the window size . Light tints are pleasing to the eye . a . 1991 “There are three . 5 . c . shortening the perceived window space . 4 . Light tints seem to deepen the window space.current fashion are acceptable .” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Dark shades appear to bring the background to the fore. Do not mix high-priced and low-priced merchandise in a display . Items should be grouped by price and design . ?? “Do not use background colors that will affect/ change the color of merchandise and the customers’ skin tone.

” 6 . red and their combinations with black and white . and optically push it to the front of the display . All these hues please the eye. These colors are calming. More than two principal colors can be grouped . They create the illusion of enlarging the window . combinations can be very effective if Be careful small about confining strong contrasts 8 . Colors are labeled as either warm or cool . Watch for color clashes . b . to accessories .types of lighting used in store illumination: primary. a . a . but dangerous . Bold done in good taste . b. orange. enhance the appearance of the merchandise. 7 . Color contrasts are welcome. Warm colors are yellow. c. accent and atmosphere lighting. Cool colors are blue and green . soothing and balanced .

proportionately be in one display. attracting them to various displays along the way . Lighting can also be used to direct shoppers through the store. Lighting Lighting is merchandise essential in calling attention to in a display . A shopper’s eye is drawn automatically to the brightest item or area . Because of this tendency to follow a lighted path. however. five display lights should be two to . to achieve harmony . Pastels go well together . parts specific of display. One way to learn about color is to observe some of the newer stores and see what color combinations have been used in the different departments. Greater effort must made. Certain color combinations work because they have been traditionally accepted . total display area . New color combinations have to be offense carefully thought out to avoid shock or through an inappropriate use of a familiar color . Lighting treatment may be used to a draw attention item the in the to part of or the to display coordinate area.

shadowless. overall . There are three types of lighting used in store illumination: primary. accent and atmosphere lighting . window it includes 150-watt bulbs used as basic lighting. marquee lights illuminating the sidewalks.times stronger than lighting in other parts of the store . and lighting for the general lobby area . Accent or Secondary Lighting Accent or secondary lighting provides illumination for designated display areas . 1991 Outside. Primary Lighting Primary lighting is the overall level of illumination of the store using fluorescent or incandescent light sources. Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. primary lighting from overhead essentials lighting is that which fills and the selling the bare floor fixtures provides of store illumination . Inside the store. Flat.

this create category a distinctive the effect on use of specific color includes pinpoint spotlights and black lighting to create dramatic effects. A wide range of shades are available for enhancing the colors of the merchandise and the store . This can be accomplished with downlighting from the ceiling. showcase lighting and valance (drapery or canopy) lighting. or directed toward a They wash an area with light in which no shadows or accents are made . Generally filters. to prevent this boredom . Atmosphere Lighting Atmosphere lighting is used to play light against shadow to displays. provides change from light to dark or highlights to shadows. They range in size from tiny Christmas tree lights to small candle-like or complexion bulbs. as they cannot specific be focused can Accent create lighting a tiresome selling floor. . Fluorescent lights are used for primary lighting. Incandescent bulbs are most often used for secondary lighting . on up to full-size globe or reflector-type bulbs.

Be careful when using fluorescent lighting. as hazard . A warm sunny bulb will create the opposite effect. cool green. the color of snow. pink and red produce A dramatic cool effects and colored backgrounds. These are available in numerous sizes. Avoid this by using a combination of lighting effects. as the overall store atmosphere may appear dull and boring . Color fluorescent lamps. Incandescent that lamps have sharply defined beams are easily directed to highlight the merchandise on dis- 31 Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. white bulb gives a bluer feeling. green. an ultralume or prime color fluorescent is available and strengthens the colors in skin tone and merchandise so both look good. which can They do be a throw off fire a great deal as well however. available in blue. which can enhance a fur department display . gold. 1991 play . shapes. and colors.For example. wattages of heat.

An incandescent floor that light identifies store. These lights are surrounded by a cylinder the which affects the way light is emitted. When the spotlight is placed toward the opening of the cylinder. Spotlights used in a display are either installed in the ceiling or on a track . larger scale to add excitement to merchandise racks . the light is restricted to a smaller circle and therefore more concentrated .increase the cost of air conditioning . Turning off the lights in the aisles on either side will allow the spotlighted areas to stand out even more . The angle at which a spotlight is directed is very important . Spotlights are great for merchandise displays . When spotlight is placed toward the back of the cylinder. Readjust the lights every time a new display is done. pointing spotlights at preselected items in the . there is less restriction and therefore a larger circle of light is emitted. A and the dark light a can be used to a be illuminate lettering a highlighting the used on a store or can department within created and can letting be by pattern the important shadows parts of display Spotlights create depth and pattern.

Gels are colored acetate that can be placed over light bulbs. All the . and can tubes. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are the most efficient per watt bulbs available than because they provide more light The either fluorescents or incandescents. but be are cut Gels less by hand available fit a or to spotlight be cover fluorescent need to replaced weekly . Filters should be used to highlight backgrounds. Any angle sharper than 45° is likely to momentarily blind a shopper . Colored available for for filters that spotlights. and daylight blue for icy feelings . props. Gels are to similar in to rolls filters. mannequin faces. Make sure the filters do not change the color of the merchandise . They are expensive. faces and walls .display and adjusting so passersby do not catch the spotlight in the eye . amber to intensify warm colors. HIDs are relatively small in size and can also provide shadows and highlights as do the incandescents . change Filters for the color of light are pink straw most often used are dramatic effects.

factor of 11 colors and their relationship to types Suggestions for using light effectively include: 1 . elbows or shoes . 3 . . Save the brightest lights for the merchandise and avoid anything that will detract from the merchandise . white lights directly on a mannequin’s face. avoid bright. The reduction in energy overrides the expense of the light bulb itself .Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. For example. The reflective factor of colors varies considerably. and is also effected by the type of lighting used. Figure 18 indicates the reflective of lighting . Increase display light when visual detail is important . 1991 major lighting companies have produced HID bulbs that emit a light that enhances the merchandise and is flattering to costs the customer. 2 . possibly altering the color of merchandise . Create a buying mood by using various amounts of light or manipulating light and shadow .

into the eyes of passersby and the road traffic. with fluorescent predominating. including the deluxe cool white type .4 . Bring out the tempting colors of meats. On sunny days. Colored lights also have a different effect when there is no other source of light . fruits and vegetables by using fluorescent lamps rich in red energy. Imperfections such as wrinkles and dust in clothing are more apparent under the artificial light. Check lighting at night. incandescent lamps may also be used for 5 . 7 . 6 . however . especially bright. when the softening influence of daylight does not enter the window . What seemed perfect during the daylight hours may appear harsh or loud at night . cheerful colors and patterns. Heighten the appeal of menswear by using a cool blend of fluorescent and incandescent lighting. Highlight womenswear. Cool reflector direct-type lighting . by using natural fluorescents blended with tungsten-halogen . Make sure lights are not flooding over into the street. provide contrast to the natural light by using more light in window displays . .

Reflective factor of colors and relationship to types of lighting used.8 . Avoid heavy shadows when displaying major appliances and furniture by using large-area lighting fixtures plus incandescentdownlighting. 33 Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. 1991 Figure 18. Paint Color Cherry Red Orchid Plum Chestnut Brown Peach .

Direct lighting across a display to avoid creating unpleasant left the light and on unattractive shadows. of the aim upper right light lower left display .Orange Canary Yellow Light Yellow Light Blue Medium Blue Silver Gray 9. This creates a cross-over of light. a more . the lower right side on the Aim of the the side upper display.

diffused light. 12 . silver and cut glass by using concentrated beams of high-brightness. incandescent sources . toys.04 .13 . Appro?imate Reflectance Factor . gold. highly polished silver and other metalware by using a blend of general light and spotlights .even.44 . 11 . Add brilliant highlights to jewelry.19 . Bring out the sparkle and luster of hardware. Hide or disguise electrical wires . auto accessories. 10 .

97 Incandescent Filament Brilliant Orange-Red Light Pink Deep Orange-Red .23 .44 .58 .44 .46 ..58 .

Medium Yellowish Brown Pinkish Yellow Bright Orange OrangeYellow Vivid OrangeYellow Light Yellowish Green Blue-Green Light Yellow Gray .

Warm White Florescent Pale OrangeRed Pale Purplish Pink Dull Reddish Brown Light YellowBrown Light Yellowish Pink Light OrangeYellow Fair Match (Sharper) .

Medium Yellow Pale Grayish Blue Light GrayBlue Light Brownish Gray White Fluorescent Pale OrangeRed Gray-Pink Dark Brown Gray-Brown Light .

Yellowish Pink Pale Yellow Greenish Yellow Medium Yellow Weak Greenish Blue Purplish Blue Light Brownish Gray Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. 1991 Daylight Fluorescent .

Light Red Good Match (Grayer) Deep Bluish Purple Light Gray Fair Match (Lighter) Gray-Yellow Fair Match Light Greenish Yellow Fair Match (Lighter) Fair Match .

(Lighter) Bluish Gray Warm White Delu?e Fluorescent Orange Red Pale Pink Reddish Purple Dark Brown Light Orange Yellowish Orange Good Match Deep Yellow .

Grayish Blue Purple-Blue Yellowish Gray Cool White Delu?e Fluorescent Good Match Light Pink Darker Brown Good Match Good Match (Yellower) Good Match .

stay with and the pastel filters. . Create using the right setting for merchandise by colored light on props and backgrounds . daylight blue for the cool colors and nile green for the greens . Division of Fairchild Publications. New York . pale straw for the yellows and oranges. 13.Good Match (Brighter) Bright Yellow Grayish Blue Reddish Blue Light Gray 3? Courtesy of Fairchild Books. If colored light is used on a garment to intensify the color. pale pinks for the reds red-violets.

Emphasize the beauty of china. Highlight the color. 1991 . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. low-intensity overhead lighting . after the diminished . Additional found in the Appendix definitions related to lighting can be Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. accented with point-type spotlights . heavy drapes and bedspreads by using oblique directional lighting plus general. carpets. pattern and texture of rugs. home accessories and or giftware by using general diffuse overall lighting. 1991 15 . 16.14. Interior lights may be used for security purposes at night . glass. upholstery. Set all during a timer device lights the to automatically street traffic has turn off night.

Props may also be merchandise that is for sale. mannequins. Fi?tures and Signage Props A prop is something used with a product in a display that clarifies sold the function of the merchandise being or the story being told . A display prop may be something that is not for sale. When using salable merchandise as a prop. such as floor coverings. such as golf clubs used in conjunction with golf wear . Props are an integral part of a display . be sure it is appropriate for in suffithe theme of the display and cient quantity to meet an increase in demand arising from . shelves and steps . but is not the theme merchandise. Merchandise from other departments used to highlight salable items can lead to multiple sales .Props. the merchandise concept or the store itself . Visibility is provided for the original theme merchandise. wall treatments. in addition to the prop merchandise . They are used in visual merchandising to tell a story about the product. backgrounds.

shopping bags. chairs. Nonmerchandise props used for their “Use props to complement or highlight the salable merchandise and add visual excitement to the surrounding area. Prominently display theme and prop merchandise in their respective departments for easy access by the customer . use display props from nonmerchandise categories . 1991 original purpose can assist in telling a story . If a store does not have merchandise available that can be used in a display. pencils. desks and tables . pens. Examples include tissue paper. Props may also be natural or ordinary objects such as items carried in from the woods or prairie.the display .” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. or rustic . hangers.

Inspect the props prior to accepting the shipment to be sure the props are not broken The merchandise in a display should always be the dominant element . dried leaves and wood crates of assorted sizes used to enhance a fall theme. Examples include a branch from a lilac bush for a spring or summer theme. but highlight the merchandise for sale . be certain of their quality . to see the great variety of merchandising props . shocks of wheat. The prop is there to complement or highlight the salable merchandise and add visual excitement to the surrounding area . When selecting props to purchase. large boulders used to give the idea of strength and power to a tractor. published by Signs of the Time Publishing Co . These object props are generally not beautiful by themselves. Merchandise and Fi?ture Display Recommendations .antiques found in someone’s attic. and gray rocks to provide contrast to jewelry . Cincinnati. A prop is not there to distract the customer from their original purpose of shopping for and purchasing goods . Scan a Visual Merchandising magazine. (407 Gilbert Ave .. OH 45202). Commercially made props are readily available .

gondolas. on a fixtures such as mannequins. display cases. or used singly to create an island . movable shelving approachable from all sides used in self-service retail stores to display merchandise . They can be lined up in rows as in grocery. and manufacturer point-of-purchase displays.Goods variety of can be effectively displayed cubes. but also the atmosphere created present in the store. A fixture should not only complement the merchandise. End-caps are units at the end of aisles . waterfalls and other racks. Each fixture should the merchandise to the public and thereby act as a silent salesperson . tables. End-caps are important selling locations or and should be used for high-profit impulse seasonal merchandise . hardware and drug stores. One are of the gondo- most common fixtures in stores las. 1991 Related merchandise should be grouped together on . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD.

If possible. The high turnover. Use a starter gap in which at least one item is missing. high-profit items should also be placed at eye level . so the customer will not feel like they are messing up a neat display . The end-cap should indicate the type of related merchandise on the gondola sides .the end-cap and gondola sides . and then to either the right or be left. remove a sample from the container to allow the customer to handle and feel the item . As merchandise begins to have broken sizes or assortments. golf balls displayed on an end-cap should indicate that related golf accessories are located on gondola sides . Restock the display before it gets down to the last item so customers will not get the impression that something is wrong with the item . Customers generally look to the center of gondola sides first. Old merchandise should be cleaned and pulled forward as new merchandise is added to the back . For example. Additional in the high profit impulse center of items should placed gondola sides and other related merchandise to either the right or should left. Larger more expensive merchandise be placed to the right . the remaining items should be moved to the bottom shelves of the .

neutral colors: off-white. 3 . lavender and violet . People think of colors in a rainbow pattern and are comfortable with that presentation. ivory. rust. peach. An acceptable means of arranging merchandise on a gondola is by color . Proceed with warm colors: yellow. cerise. gray and black . orange. Start with beige. pink. red. gold. 2 . Group merchandise by color as previously mentioned. Basic Rules for Fi?ture Placement Outlined place- below are some basic rules for fixture ment . as left well to as from smallest to largest and from right . When a variety of styles are shown. green. but rather guidelines that . Some merchants may use variations of this concept to provide greater contrast in the display . These are not absolutes. The usual order to arrange and present colors is as follows: 1.gondola. Finish with cool colors: blue. each style (small to large sizes) should be grouped separately by color . cream. tan and brown .

” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. 1991 “Benefit signs or a combination of benefit and price.” • Allow 3 feet between racks • State law requirements for aisle width varies from 4 to . well with store set-up and customer traffic 3? “Each fixture should present the merchandise to the public and thereby act as a silent in patterns. are one of the most effective merchandising tools.

geometric aisle pattern works best maximize sales .8 feet . This feeling is necessary to sell higher-priced goods . • A to well-planned. Check state and local codes for the requirements in your state . Use primarily T-stands and fourways to create an illusion of space and selective goods . When working with hard goods. • The aisle leading considered major aisle. . progress from small (sized or capacity) the fixtures at aisles to large fixtures near back walls . • Higher-priced because stores require fewer fixtures there is less stock . The most common aisle width is 6 feet . place cubes in the front with gondolas to the rear of the department or store . Do or directly not to the fire fire exit exit with is a fixtures block the extraneous materials . • Place • When placing racks.

are explain Benefit one of customer signs or the most combination of effective merchandising . Display merchandise in quantity on quads. styles. • Fixtures that work well for sale items include tub tables. name various departments and announce sales and sale merchandise . properly placed. Signs were originally used to identify a store. round racks and rectangular racks . benefits describe a They can merchandise benefit and tools. use cubes for folded goods . Bloomingdales. Although this is their primary purpose. quality and and prices. acts as a salesperson without wages . colors. A good point-of-purchase sign. rounders and T-stands. be used to features. Store signage that communicates a sales message to the customer can make up for lack of sales personnel . Interior Signage Signage is a critical part of interior display and pointof-purchase promotion .• Create exciting displays of mass merchandise by using quantity and color . signs also commonly advertise vendors. price.

Many retailers make their own signs. Tell something about the product that they do not know or understand . manufacturers and trade associations . hand-lettered signs can be very effective. State a customer benefit. right margins . Point-of-purchase signs can be obtained from suppliers or wholesalers. • State the price of the item . Point-of-purchase signs or shelftalkers should: Visual Merchandising NCRCRD.A good sign provides the most information in the fewest possible words . Identify the merchandise item being sold . when done properly. Common principles in designing and using signs effectively include: • Special show card be attention The should left and be given to sign should and margins. 1991 Draw the customer’s attention to the product. Other retailers may use a sign-making machine .

The smaller with the sign or show card. words that attract shoppers: you. • The focal point of a sign should appear near the optical center of the sign which is exactly halfway between the left the and right margins the and slightly midpoint. distance) top-to-bottom with this portion make contact • Try to maintain as much white space as possible around the copy . The top margin should be approximately one and one-half times the margin size of the side margins. The bottom should be the largest. • Use key save. money.exactly equal and usually not exceed 2 to 3 inches . twice the size of the side margins and one and one-half times the top margin . A border drawn or printed around the edge of attention a show card can help the customer focus on the information . . of above (one-tenth The the eye card will first. • Use action adjectives or adverbs only to describe a hidden feature that will benefit the customer. the less flexibility margins .

proven. these words should not be overused .” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. health. love. properly placed. Keep it simple. ?1 “A good point-ofpurchase sign. it is easier for the customer to compute . free and guarantee . However. • Check not left daily to over be sure they are current and from a previous sale or promotional event . • Use exact price information rather than percentage discounts. results. acts as a salesperson without wages. Do signs when the merchandise can tell the story . discover. easy. 1991 .new. • Avoid overkill not use or clutter.

• Feature national name brand items that have wide customer acceptance . so customers read the signs . approaching from different directions can • Use the same style print and color for interior signs to add a cohesive appearance to the store . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. • Stimulate buying by asking for the sale . 1991 Errors Commonly Occurring in Display Many errors made in display can be easily avoided .• Print information on both sides for signs in holders. Some of the most common errors include the following: Too Much Merchandise . • Appeal to as many customers as possible . Do not limit the audience .

the reason for lack of merchandise in a display is that the merchandise has been sold out of the display and has not been replaced . the dimensions of the display area need to be reduced to make it appear in proportion with the available merchandise . or indicates to the customer that the establishment is less than prosperous . the fewer displayed . Caution must be exercised so that a display area does not: (a) appear crammed with many similar items. Too Little Merchandise A window merchandise or display area with too little makes a store appear to be going out of business. Generally. (b) have so many different (c) appear items that any selling to message the is lost and aesthetically offensive viewer. Poor planning of what merchandise is to be placed in a display may also cause a display to appear empty . The more expensive the item. If the items needed for the display are unavailable.There is no rule that specifically states how much merchandise should appear in a display area . Visual Merchandising . One consideration is the price of the merchandise .

theme or motif . Regardless of the type of merchandise used. 1991 Lack of Underlying Theme Merchandise no selling is often placed in a space with message. is to making effectively each one combine completely several ineffective. The consumer should be able to understand the concept presented by the display in a few seconds . such as toiletries. shown together with a sign reading Imports or Gifts from Overseas. An example would be various smoking gift items.NCRCRD. The reverse problem is using too many mini themes in a display. the gift classification and it Too Many Props . The signage brings all the goods into makes sense to the viewer . a display needs to have a strong message or underlying theme . types of It possible merchan- dise in one area using one theme . the location or the store type. glassware. equipment and accessories.

rustic. Utilization of the visual . the props must be in harmony with the goods shown . the error of overpropping a display can be more serious than using too few props . For example.There is number of no specific rule that stipulates the props appearing in a display . The type and number of props are dependent on the merchandise . will need more props to elevate it to eye level or provide a central theme to the grouping . effectively present a display with a Therefore. a green velvet backdrop will not be effective in a merchandise. However. The display of a living room suite will need fewer props to complete its message . feminine or masculine. Props are important to theme. and whether or not they will appeal to the store’s target market . Poorly Selected Props Evaluate props as to whether they are seasonal. contemporary. especially smaller items. display promoting summer Displays Changed Too Seldom Guidelines for developing displays have been discussed throughout this bulletin . Other goods.

An example of a display that might stay longer would be an unusual Christmas display . many interior displays and are changed daily. Special windows and internal store promotions have a longer display life . However. Large window often displays may be changed as as two times a week or as infrequently as every other Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Frequently changing displays presents a positive message to the community. As a standard. because they are effective merchandise sold directly from them needs to be replaced. This generally depends on the season and the length of time a current store theme has been planned . 1991 week . . provides opportunity to show more merchandise and presents more messages to the shopper .merchandising techniques discussed can assist review and/or change of displays . time and planning of a display is also used as a guideline for frequency of change . no display or set of props should remain until it collects dust and every person in the community has seen it a number of times . The expense.

after Display all areas are often budgeted with what’s left over Fre- other monetary needs have been planned. but generally free. tissue paper. weeds. construction paper or perishable.Length of Time Necessary to Change a Display is Too Long An empty display area is a time of no sales . Limited or No Display Budget Money is a problem for everyone in and out of retailing. Change the display when there is the least amount of customer traffic. branches and other things provided by nature . . Good theme development without expensive background materials is possible . Creativity is needed to plan and execute a great display with no budget . logs. quently that boils down to no budget for displays . Plan display work so that all of the necessary equipment and merchandise is gathered prior to tearing down the old display . Do not use too many posterboard signs . items like grass. An example of this for a bed and bath shop might be towels hung on a clothesline to serve as a backdrop for a towel display. Avoid the “low-budget look” by using such things as crepe paper.

rather than going to the expense of tiling a wall . • Too many props. • Too little merchandise. These items can often be inexpensive or borrowed for the duration of the display . Attic treasures various pieces of furniture are frequently used as display props. • Poorly selected props. • Lack of underlying theme. ?? “Errors commonly made in display include: • Too much merchandise. Old packing crates or orange crates with scrap wood from a lumber yard can be used to design an interesting display that raises the or merchandise to eye level. • Displays changed too .

One of the best pay ways to atten do This this is in display the work is first to tion to the small details. 1991 Lack of Attention to Detail Making a good impression is very important . • Limited or no display budget.” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD.seldom. Below is a list of things that should be taken care of prior to declaring the display finished: . generally thing the customer notices . • Lack of attention to detail. • Mistakes in applying the principles of display. • Length of time necessary to change a display is too long.

Appropriately accessorize merchandise .Remove pins or hide them so they do not show . • • • • . Use some form of border on all signs . Check displays daily to be certain everything is still in its proper place . Clean and dust all surfaces . Hide lights used in the display area so they are not seen by the customers . Clean and/orvacuum display area floor coverings. Be certain signs are free of ink stains and are not soiled . Remove all display tools from the display area . Be certain any merchandise suspended from the walls or ceilings will stay fixed for the duration of the display . Always check the display area from all angles to be sure all merchandise is easily visible and aesthetically pleasing . Clean glass . Be very careful that nothing is near or touching display lights to prevent fire. Be sure signs provide all the necessary information .

1991 • .• • • • • • • • “The four principles most frequently mishandled include emphasis. rhythm and proportion.” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. balance.

• Every display needs a point at which the viewer’s eye can easily start . • The principle of rhythm is frequently violated when many small items are displayed in a single area with no attempt planned pattern. rhythm and proportion . will decrease the effectivenessof the display.Mistakes in Applying the Principles of Display Carefully follow the principles of design used in display work when planning and executing a display . such as in the upper right-hand corner . This made to creates keep the a eye following and spotty a scattered . • Balance needs careful consideration . A display that utilizes neither formal nor informal balance by merely being too full or too empty on one or both sides. balance. The four principles most frequently mishandled include emphasis. Review these principles each time a display is completed to be sure none have been misused . All too frequently a display either has no definite point of emphasis or the point of emphasis is in the wrong place.

use consumer psychology.display. therefore. Try to plan a display in which all items are visually tied together . with the back wall the highest merchandise area . When a sparsely stocked. Use the lowest fixtures in being the front of the store. The basic idea is to make the back wall visible from the aisle or front of the store . better stocked fixture many partially filled fixtures. A to stair step effect is necessary for the customer see from the front to the back of the store . The back wall will often be . less desirable or salable . the principle of proportion is absent . Do not show small items with large items unless a continuous graduation of size from small to large is used . The amount psychologically affects are than of merchandise A few fully on fixtures fixtures is the shopper. Stocking the back wall is as important as stocking done in the front of the store. When considering presentation of merchandise from the front to the back of the store. it looks as if what remains are leftovers and. • When props and merchandise are not tied together by size or weight.

or color patterns to stimulate the customer. whether they are used for hanging. using display shelves. small to large. Ideally. ?? “Many errors made in display .flooded with light to add even more emphasis to the area . This has store . The walls. are also treated in right the light to dark. and/or adding bins to the wall area to create more interest . the back wall should be broken into organized groups please the viewer’s eye and alleviate the uniformity which tends to be boring to the viewers . shelving. the effect of whole drawing the customer through the The back wall is best used to create an impact for the classification of of merchandise contained within that area the store . binning or a combination of these. left to manner of merchandising . This can be accomplished by raising or lowering hang-rods.

Usually attaches the spotlight in the color frame guide and has four adjustable on flaps or the the doors (one to either side. Certain lamps are equipped with solid-state ballasts . Sheets of colored frosted gelatin or plastic and spun-glass diffusers can be used with this device.” Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. 1991 Appendi? Ballast: Electrical device that supplies the proper voltage and which is currently necessary to start and operate a discharge lamp . which is typically the little black box mounted inside the luminaire . one on top.can be easily avoided. The most common is the electromagnetic type. . and one that light can or be maneuvered to block off control the light bottom) of the direction in completely any direction . Barn Door: Accessory used with spotlights to control the spread of in front of a beam of light.

the more intense and more brilliant the treated objects or surfaces appear . incandescent or fluorescent. 1991 Canopy: Enclosure or cap. that the wire connections in this gap Chase Lights: a Series of lamps that flash on and off in . A theatrical device . Border Light: A striplight hanging from an overhead batten.Bee Lights: Miniature screw-base-type electric bulbs of every low 20 wattage. tiny tubular or globe-shaped replaceable bulbs . pipe. Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. that will cause surfaces treated with ultraviolet paint or the like to glow in the dark . Black Light: Special ultraviolet light bulb. placed between the stem of the fixture conceals and the outlet box in the ceiling. The black light is directed onto the treated surfaces. or 36 used for example in strings of for Christmas decorating. or general ceiling grid and used to produce overall lighting in a window or on a stage . and the darker the area.

subtle way lighting Dimmer: Mechanism for changing the intensity of light in a the given area amount by means of cutting down on of electric current passing through the electrical wires to the lamps . ceiling.C . soft.) whereas autotransformer. shade or shield that directs the beam or spread of light downward the ceiling . electronic. The light of and is sometimes reflected an by by area a the or wall. and magnetic amplifier dimmers will work on alternating currents (A .) .C . toward the floor area rather than toward . that sets and controls the flashing or Cove Lighting: Form of indirect lighting . The resistance dimmer is the only one that will work on direct current (D . Lighting source in the area is concealed from below by a recess. cove. electronic resistance. reminiscent of the lights that seem to run around theatre marquees . partially dropped ceiling or wall.set pattern. A or baffle. Downlight: Light fixture with a reflecting surface. It usually comes with its own timing device chase pattern. cornice.

Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. Floodlights are available in varying wattages. rather than being directed straight down to the area below .Flasher: Device that screws into a light-bulb socket before the lamp is inserted and causes the light bulb to flash on electric and off by interfering with the flow of current . Indirect Lighting: Lighting arrangement in which the light is reflective directed to the ceiling or any other surface. bulb with a filament simulating that a mechanically Floodlight: Electric lamp or bulb that throws a broad spread or wash of light over a wide area . and spurts. from which it is bounced back to illuminate the general area. flasher bulb that causes the current Flicker Bulb: Candle-shaped flickers candle flame. Sometimes a set of miniature light bulbs will come with a breaks. from 75 watts on up. 1991 .

reflector. the accessory hardware. or by shadow. washes and so on. lighting effects such as spots. porcelain. socket. objects or slides to be projected. Lamp: Complete light-source unit. which is . frame. and the base that fits into the socket. Projectors: The projection process consists of a light source. shield Primary Lighting: The basic. and electric light bulb. asbestos and some plastics. Luminaire: Complete lighting unit that includes the lamp so on . that usually consists of a the filament or arc tube. floods. used around electrical conductors as a protective coating . A projector is the light source and the image may be projected by lens for a less sharper complieffect. glass enclosure or envelope for the assorted parts. like rubber. This usually does not include special filters. and housing. most elementary lighting of a store or selling area . and is almost devoid of any sort of atmosphere or mood .Insulator: Nonconductor of electricity. and the surface or screen upon which the image is projected . holder.

filters. rear projection places the projector behind a translucent screen . are available in 25-. highlighting and attention-getting on a lighting lighting specific that object focuses or the viewer’s form attention of area. sometimes through a color filter. 40and Specific Illumination: Form-revealing. sausage-shaped incandescent lamps that 60-watt strengths . a certain amount of space is required between the projector and the screen . Showcase Lamps: Long. This is usually accomplished with spotlights and/or concentrated beams of light. thin. washes and so on that add depth. Reflector: A polished or mirrored surface that is used to redirect light a specific baffle or in screen a desired used to direction reflectheated or onto air.cated . area. Lighting beyond the basic or lighting plan . floods. dimension and atmosphere to a lighting plan . . A Secondary Lighting: Spots. Front projection places the projector in front of an opaque screen. In either case.

dimmers and so on. that controls all the lamps and outlets in a window or group of windows. footlights. 1991 Striplights: General term that includes border lights. cyclorama. or for a stage . green) and possibly one for white . climb or Swivel Socket: Socket with 360-degree swivel joint between the screw-in socket end and the receptacle that . each containing one lamp and one round glass color medium that covers Striplights the entire mouth three or four of the reflector. By using a specific on switchboard. blue. lights without it having is possible to to turn reach for or off them. Usually consists of rows of individual reflectors. and border and backing striplights . for the are often wired in primary circuits colors (red. Switchboard: Portable or fixed panel with switches. exposed fluorescent ?1 Visual Merchandising NCRCRD.Strip Lighting: Long lines of fixtures on a ceiling.

Albany. NY .” Business Management Newsletter series . “A Step Ahead . 11 . Cooperative Extension Service. that is electrically wired and plugged into a source of electric current . When the lamp is screwed into the socket. thus making changes in light emphasis . Visual Merchandising NCRCRD. The 4-. it is possible to rotate and direct that lamp or bulb in any direction—up or down and to all sides . in decorative holders or housing. turn the individual lamps on and it off is as needed.or 8-foot lengths of channel will receive assorted spotlights and floodlights. usually attached to a ceiling or ledge. Track Lighting: A channel or track. and direct the light where needed. Donald and Stephen Brown . 6.received the lamp or bulb . This socket sometimes comes with an extension pipe before the swivel device . 1976 . Cornell University. 1991 No . White. This is selective lighting since it is possible to move these lamps about on the length of channel.

This can create a sense of excitement and buzz: consider a "Street Faire" environment. Use signage to identify not only departments but categories -.The Tips 1. This mood should match the mood your customers want to experience after buying from you: do they want excitement.this will help customers pinpoint what they need and inspire additional purchases. Identify Everything Customers are in a hurry. set up a display of merchandise outside your store. with flags and balloons. 2. Take It Outside If the weather's good and you're allowed to do so. 3. romance? . Set The Mood With Your Windows Store windows are incredibly valuable merchandising territory: use them to set the mood of the event or sale you're having. family fun.

perhaps with some curls of ribbon still clinging to the box. But put that same pan on a . Consider how your store sounds.when they see a pan in a box. For example.4. and even feels: are all of these 'messages' you're sending with music. Embrace All The Senses Great merchandising appeals to more than the eyes. and other environmental factors in keeping with the displays you create? 3 www.. scents.. for example. set up a grouping of presented in the gift box. putting a pair of red bowls and spoons with a display of tomato soup can get mouths watering! 5. Many customers can't envision merchandise 'in application' -..TheRetailersAdvantage.. Show Them How It Will Look At Home Use your displays to show customers how the merchandise will look in their home: if you're selling furniture. smells. they see a pan in a box.a row of pans hanging The Top Twelve Visual Merchandising Tips You can evoke senses without addressing them directly. copper bottoms gleaming.

or a classic CEO the appropriate home or workplace setting. For example. Use the Spotlight . Group By Lifestyle Display merchandise from several categories -. replete with blotter. pairing together the right steel and glass desk with cutting edge accessories centered around the computer.that all share the same theme . just waiting to be whipped up.faux stovetop. Group Like With Like Organize your store logically: customers should be able to find all of one type of merchandise easily. and suddenly that pan is something more: it's a potential romantic dinner for two. a display could reflect the workplace of a high-tech wizard. The Top Twelve Visual Merchandising Tips 8. with a cheerful checkered potholder and a pair of wineglasses nearby with a stack of cookbooks . 4 www. 6. Create 'groupings' within categories. 7. with old school green glass lamps on a heavy walnut desk.TheRetailersAdvantage. price or size is positioned together. in an office supply store. so all the merchandise that is one color.

Change Your Displays Often! A great display is a great display -.Integrate Motion Merchandise that moves will catch the eye. bring motion into the store: . Make sure to use spotlights within your store as well as in the windows! 9. take one out and set it up! Let customers see it working! If your merchandise is more static. It's boring.not red or orange! 11. Try to have a different color each week: if you've used yellow as your central color this week. go with purple or blue next week -.. If you have anything that moves -from clocks to toys to music boxes.and customers don't come back to boring stores! Plan on changing your displays at least weekly.the first time the customer sees it.Don't Be Afraid Of Color Strong color can have strong results: plan your displays around a central color that pops and captures the customer's attention. 10. and the week after that? Suddenly the display is not so great. the same-old. same-old. But if the customer sees that same display next week.Lighting attracts customers. much like moths to the flame! Dramatic lighting doesn't have to be expensive: well placed spotlights can draw attention to key pieces of merchandise..

simply tying some ribbons to a small oscillating fan can add motion and interest -. you might start to notice a pattern: particular types of display might work well with your customers. fastest. tallest. CHANGE IT! Try something else. If you're arranging merchandise by height. have a fat. You can even group by price: the good. I recommend keeping a record of displays you've tried -. work in sets of three.with a digital camera this is quick and easy! -. best display is well-established -.and noting how well merchandise sold with any given display.TheRetailersAdvantage. Approach it with an open The Top Twelve Visual Merchandising Tips Whenever you create a display. fatter. have a tall. Obviously. If something is squat and round.not to mention a cool breeze! 12. After a while. use those types of . better. If something doesn't work this time.Remember the Rule of Three 5 www. In Conclusion Remember: virtual merchandising is both an art and a science.and works surprisingly well. taller.

Just keep track of results and try new things often! . And if something doesn't work? Change it. Your merchandise is still good. your store is still great: the stores that thrive are the stores that adapt and change to changing customer behavior.displays more often.

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