Eye Candy: Visual merchandising @ your library for the Prince Edward Island Public Library Service
Visual Merchandising @ your Library
Alexandra Yarrow, A/Manager, Diversity &
Accessibility Services, Ottawa Public Library
• people in the library
• “to promote for or as if for sale.”
• “designing the packaging, [...] advertising, and
other sales promotion activities.”
- Elaine Stone
• “to produce eye-catching window displays that
grab the customers’ attention and encourage
them to shop.”
- Tony Morgan
Morgan, Tony. Window display new visual merchandising. London: Laurence King, 2010.
Stone, Elaine. "Fashion Marketing and Merchandising." Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. Ed. Valerie Steele.
Vol. 2. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005. 57-58. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.
Flickr, under creative commons license, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jjprojects/3202231017/sizes/l/in/photostream/
photo by jjprojects
worth 1000 words
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spam/5467161015/in/photostream/ by Smath
an eye for it?
Stock.xchng, http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1024965, by Michael Lorenzo
• tell us about a display you have created
o what was the display objective?
o where was the display set up?
o who was your target audience?
o what, if any, signage did you use?
o how did you measure success?
o what would you do differently next time?
• maximize space
• split second opinions / satisfaction
• GASP principles
• book stores & other competitors
Flickr, under creative commons license, http://www.flickr.com/photos/theyoungthousands/384255089/sizes/m/in/photostream/ . Flickr
context: split second
people in the library
Stock.xchng, http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1118243, photo by iker
• where do you read? (places, eg. armchair, bed, staffroom, beach,
• when do you read? (time, eg. time of day, season)
• do you read every page or do you jump ahead?
• do you employ different strategies for different types of books?
• do you ever cheat and read the ending first? If so, what are the
• how far back can you go with your reading memories? (eg. what is
your earliest memory of reading or of books?)
• what else do you do when you read? (eg. cook, sunbathe)
• what did you read as a teenager for the “sexy bits?” (eg. what was
passed around class or had well-worn pages in the school library?)
• who do you talk to about your reading?
Tucker, Johnny. Retail desire:
design, display and visual
Switzerland: RotoVision, 2004
alta vista branch (renovation)
design and merchandising
• people are “extraordinarily responsive to and
articulate about their surroundings.”
• what can we conclude from this, given the variety of
people we serve?
Source: Lawson, Bryan. "Healing Architecture: For a long time, we have supposed that good design will improve patient well-being.
Now we have figures to prove it. Bryan Lawson reports on how patient treatment and behaviour improved with new architecture.
(Theory)." The Architectural Review 211.1261 (2002): 72+. Academic OneFile. Web. 4 July 2011.
design and merchandising
• variety of people = variety of spaces and options
• integrate technology everywhere
• consider traffic flow and touchpoints
• optimize “spaces between spaces”
Source: Sens, Thomas. "12 Major Trends in Library Design." Building Design & Construction 50.12 (2009): 38. Academic OneFile.
Web. 4 July 2011.
• track stats
o number of displays
o frequency changed
o books added
• track questions and feedback
o get desk staff involved
o review questions / comments
o look for ideas
what is the objective of this merchandising?
where is the display set up?
who do you think is the target audience?
what, if any, signage is used?
what images are conjured by the theme?
what recommendations can you make to add
visual merchandising aspects to this display?
“It is never a case of adding and adding until the window is
full. An effective display is installed with great attention to
visual balance, the use of focal points that aim to draw
the customer’s eye into the centre of the scheme and
then led the viewer through the contents of the window,
and the use of appropriate props that support the
product and build up the window scheme.”
- Tony Morgan
• brainstorm possible themes for the
library in general.
• brainstorm specific themes for niche
areas of your library.
end-of workshop “tax”:
at least 25% of your ideas should
be outside the box (i.e. the word
Christmas should not factor into
why use them?
to get ideas for your next staff meeting
to use as a guide when training new staff
to plan training opportunities for your team
as part of your own continuing education
• to plan evaluations of the skills of your team
• to provide the best service to your customers
tasks are clearly defined
design choices are clear
identify display areas
include rotation schedule
staffing needs / sustainability
build your brand / consistency
• contact us info
1. keep your friends close ... and your competitors
2. you never get a second chance to make a first
3. everything is an opportunity.
4. have policies and procedures that live and breathe
– and know them by heart.
5. don’t kid yourself: you are in sales.