fashion on hangers, to
try and buy.
Sr No Topic Slide #
1 Introduction to Visual Merchandising 4
2 Exteriors and Window Structures 8
3 Principles of Design 36
4 Merchandise Display 82
5 Elements of Design 132
6 Lines 134
7 Form, Shape and Space 164
8 Colors 180
9 Patterns 241
10 Interiors 248
11 Store Design Layout 291
12 Material and Props 330
13 Fixtures 346
14 Lighting 376
15 Mannequins 404
16 Signage and Graphics 424
17 Common Errors in display 448 3
Visual Merchandising is the actual selling of Merchandise through a
The presentation of the entire store and its
merchandise in ways that will attract potential
customers and motivate them to make
Everything the customer sees, both exterior and interior, that
creates a positive image of a business and results in attention,
interest, desire, and action.
► Visual Merchandising can
Improve business’s productivity
Boost sales per square foot
Generate a faster turnover rate
Sell more of most profitable merchandise
Decrease markdown rates
Increase the amount of average
Convert the shopper a “stopper” and a
walk-in rather than a walk -by.
Exteriors and Window Structures
Essential to the success of every operation that deals with consumers is
the ability to motivate potential customers to come inside.
Exterior Store Design
► Store design involves formulating and structuring all
elements of the physical environment.
► The storefront includes all aspects of the front/exterior of
► Elements include the marquee (or exterior sign),
entrances, windows, banners, planters, awnings and
► Three other important functional aspects of exterior
design are customer visibility, store security, and potential
for efficiency among staff and associates.
Signs and Entrances
► A sign is a silent salesperson, and part of a shopper’s
first impression of a store. In less than 10 seconds the sign
must attract attention, tell who the business is and what it
has to sell.
► Retail entrances are designed to draw customers into
the store through visual appeal and physical convenience.
► The number, and type of entrances used depend on the
location, the type and density or traffic, and security
► Doors may be revolving, electric, or regular push pull.
► The store’s sign, on the outside of the building, makes
the first impression on the shopper. It sets the look and
image of the store.
► The sign should be the store’s “signature”-personal,
original, and recognizable. It should make a statement.
► The marquee, a permanent awning for protection from
the elements, is an integral part of the building facade.
► It is often cantilevered out over the street, in front of the
main entrance to the store.
► The marquee can be an exciting place to start the
display of a storewide event or promotion.
► Store front can be categorized as below
► Arcade fronts are usually spacious.
► They allow the window merchandise closely.
► They seem to be more relaxing to the shopper and often
take on highly surrealistic shapes, with concave or slanted
panes of glass and beautifully decorated windows.
► This type of front parallels the sidewalk, with its
monotony broken only by entrances.
► The entrances may be recessed into the main floor area,
but all the lines are identical.
► The angled front is much like the straight front in that it
follows a true line, but the monotony is relieved by angles
away from the sidewalk contour.
► The design of the doors or windows in an angled-front
store may be asymmetrical or symmetrical.
►These entrances have deep lobbies to allow traffic to
slow down without being pushed or pressured by other
► The following are the basic storefront and window designs
that allow for many variations
Parallel to side walk windows
Open back windows
Half – Open windows
Live or demo windows
Shadow box windows
Interactive or Through-glass windows
► In order to give more exposure to the viewer, there are
windows that are similar to the parallel to the sidewalk type
but can feature more displays in less space.
► By angling the windows, the display space can be
elongated to form a vestibule that leads the shopper into
Parallel to side walk windows
► The windows that run parallel to the sidewalk and are
generally back closed to separate them from the rest of the
► Windows at the corners provide view from each of the
two converging streets.
► It can have variations like- entrances from both the
sides or entrance in the center, with two windows flanking
► These are ones which have walls on three sides and
glass on one side to view the window display.
Open back windows
► Retailers who believe that the entire store should be
visible to the consumer from the outside, yet feel the need
to feature conventional window displays, often choose the
open-back window structure.
Half – Open windows
► Half open windows use
partitions or architectural
dividers of some kind to
separate the display from the
► E.g., Dividers: rail fencing or
► In arcade windows there are set back doors/entrances
thereby increasing the size of display windows.
► Stores with limited frontage whose merchandising
philosophy requires a large window display space get
benefited from such a design.
► The thought behind these windows
is that with the ample open frontage,
the shopper can get the impression of
the store’s merchandise and will enter
the premises without being enticed by
Live or demo windows
► Live or demo windows have caused many shoppers to
stop and notice when they suddenly waved or wrinkled at
an unsuspecting passerby.
► In order individualize their images, some companies
develop window structures that are quiet different from the
► These do not provide space for retailing.
Shadow box windows
► Stores that feature small items such
as jewelry require window structures
that enable close inspection of the
► Windows of such nature are
elevated so that comfortable, clear
viewing is possible.
Interactive or Through-glass
► They can literally communicate with shoppers day and
► Viewers can virtually design their own window displays
by calling up brands and images that interested
them from a programmed menu.
► It’s a display that can be viewed
from all the sides.
► Deep vestibules (arcade or
angled windows) and wide
frontage results in an excessive
amount of space at the store’s
► Some stores wishing to better
use the lobby area and gain
additional display space build
islands in the center of the
► Sometimes these displays are
also set inside the store.
Window Lightning Rules
► Show merchandise in
Window Lightning Rules
► Focus on merchandise
Window Lightning Rules
► The window’s proscenium (fore ground) and side turns
should conceal most lighting fixtures unless they are a part
of the presentation’s design.
► Visual merchandising is comprised of five
Principles of Design
The principles of design guide the organization of the design elements
for an effective visual impression. 36
Principles of Design
► The five principles to be considered are
► Balance may be defined artistically as the state of
equipoise between the two sides of an entity.
► The word balance describes equality of weight,
something distributed evenly or on two sides of an
► Balance refers to the displaying of merchandise “in such
a manner that a pleasing distribution of weight occurs.
Weighing, to determine balance, involves estimating and
comparing the values and importance of the two sides of
► Balance is a sense of equilibrium that provides a feeling
of stability. When things are unbalanced, people have an
► Balance has to do with the relationship of the elements
within the composition (advertising, display, etc.).
► Balance results when the parts of the design have equal
► Balance is a state of equilibrium––the equality of two
things in weight, force, and quantity.
Types of Balance
► Generally, there are two types of balance:
Formal or Symmetrical
Informal or Asymmetrical.
► Balance achieved through the use of identical objects or
very similar objects on either side of the center is known as
► Symmetrical or formal balance and produces a sense of
dignity, calm, and repose. Symmetrical balance is effective
in promoting classic goods for important occasions; such
as confirmation dresses or business suits for a job
► This can be effective where
Expensive and Quality
Merchandise Is being
► Formal balance occurs when
each object on the right side
has an exact counterpart on the
left side relative to size,
placement, shape, and color.
► Therefore, each side has
equal power to attract attention
and is equally forceful in
demanding the customer’s
► Formal balance produces a
feeling by the total unit of
dignity, restraint, and
► This type of balance is
usually used to depict tradition,
store image (or other
institutional examples), and so
on and denotes less activity
than the informal type.
Asymmetrical / Informal Balance
► Informal balance in display also achieves component
equality to the viewer’s eye, but it does so by using
varieties of color, placement, size, and shape of the objects
on opposite sides of the display.
► Using this type of balance to create a display can result
in more subtle and imaginative arrangements.
► It is used in merchandising
when the designer wishes to
provide activity, excitement,
Asymmetrical / Informal Balance
► Informal balance creates flow or rhythm
and a feeling of excitement.
► The two sides of the display appear to
be of equal weight, but hey are not replicas
of each others.
► Something large can be balance by
several small items or an expense of empty
space, a bright color or a shot of light.
► Several soft colors in a large space can
be balanced by one bright color because
the intensity of the bright color will
compensate for its small size.
Asymmetrical / Informal Balance
► In the case of objects of different weight, the heavier one
could be moved closer to the center to achieve balance.
► Dark values of colors appear heavier than light values.
► Dull textures appear heavier than smooth textures and
should be placed closer to the center to balance the
Points to consider for Balancing
► If colors are too light, they will overwhelm pastels.
► If several small objects are more exciting than the large
object, they will overpower the large item.
► A large expanse of empty space will call attention to a
single object placed within it.
► If an item is placed at an angle or to one side (off
center), the space on either side of that piece becomes
► If an object is centered, the empty space loses
importance because its shape is predictable and therefore
has less recognition as its own element.
► A pleasing distribution of weight using merchandise of
similar value will provide importance to both sides. 47
How to determine balance in a display?
► Use exact objects in both parts of the display.
► Draw an imaginary line down the center of the display.
► To achieve formal balance, place objects, weight for
weight, on either side of the line. To achieve informal balance,
place merchandise and props so that more weight occurs on
one side than on the other.
► Place heavier objects and stronger colors closer to the floor
or base of the display to avoid top-heaviness. For example, a
small item place in the foreground will balance a larger item
placed in the background.
► Balance objects of a brighter hue (color) with larger objects
that have less intensity of color.
► Balance smaller objects with larger objects by the
frequency with which they appear. For example, one large
item can be balanced email@example.com
with two or more smaller items. 48
► Emphasis is the point of initial eye contact. From this
spot all other eye movements flow.
► Emphasis is therefore the formulation of a focal point,
with all else in the display subordinate.
► The focal point is the dominant or central point of a
display, with everything else playing a secondary or
► The Merchandise must be the focal point in a majority of
Methods of creating emphasis points
► The display person must keep in mind t hat the eye must
have a point of beginning and that this point has to be
planned and created. Emphasis can be achieved in a
number of ways:
Elements of design
A frequently used method is the repetition of an
A display created totally in purple would be difficult to
ignore. The shopper’s eye is attracted by the sheer
amount of the color.
Size is an obvious means of creating a focal point.
The largest figure in an advertisement will draw attention
and hold it longer than small figures.
Repetition creates emphasis by calling
attention to the repeated element
through sheer force of numbers.
This can create emphasis, intensifying visual
perception. Great embellishment prolongs the visual
involvement and thus provides a point of focus.
By contrast, an area devoid of pattern directs the eye
to the object. This is the reason an advertisement with a
large amount of white space captures the eye and
focuses it on the figure.
This concept of space providing
emphasis works equally well in
a display. Less merchandise in a
window means more emphasis on
the few items that are there.
► Elements of design
Generally, a composition needs one major point of
emphasis that holds the viewer’s visual attention longer
than any other point.
This is achieved in part by subordinating all other
elements (color, texture, line, form, space, etc.) to the
► A display needs to emphasize a theme or mood, such
as the use of sports equipment, work equipment or leisure
equipment set up in a lifelike situation. Themes may also
depict seasons, anniversaries, celebrations, holidays, and
other special store events. All elements in a display must
then reinforce one other and emphasize th mood created.
► An isolated item can be emphasized when surrounding
by blank space.
► Shiny surface emphasize and enlarge objects.
► Dull surface absorb light and help to de emphasize area.
► Color is powerful medium for creating emphasis. Small
amount of advancing color, bright intensities, extreme tints
or shades contrasts in the right places will provide striking
► Unusual textures highlight an area.
► Emphasis is diminished with receding variations such as
thin, fuzzy lines; non descript shapes; regular spacing;
even light absorption, cool hues; dull intensities; medium
tints or shades; dull opaque textures; and small, all over or
► Repetition usually means something is important; so
repeated shapes, colors or motifs grouped together
reinforces their importance, creating emphasis. Make sure
if goods are used in repetition that these goods are
emphasized for sale.
► The principle of proportion involves the comparative
relationship of the design elements to each other.
► Proportion is the ratio of the parts to the whole display.
► It is comparative relationship of distances, sizes,
amounts, degrees or parts.
► When each element is in proportion, the whole will have
a pleasing effect to the eye.
► The merchandise along with props and mannequins
should be planned such that they are proportionate to each
other as well as to the provided display area.
► Proportion and contrast are important elements of good
composition. Drastically changing the proportions between
items and dramatic contrasts of color and texture can work
wonders in attracting attention to a display and in helping to
promote an idea or a look.
► There are four commonly used space divisions or types
of arrangements by which the display person achieves
The pyramid is a triangular arrangement with a broad
base rising to a center peak.
It is a common device to achieve proportion and may
be used with any type of merchandise.
It tends to give a display a stiff and formal feeling.
The step is a level elevation within the display area. It
is effectively used as a side unit facing the center of
It is more informal than the pyramid and is most
effective when only three steps are used.
When steps extend evenly from either side to a
midpoint within the display, the
appearance is of an inverted pyramid.
This aspect of proportion may
therefore be easily combined with
the illusion of the pyramid.
The zigzag is based on the principle of the double
reverse curve and is particularly adaptable to wearing
apparel, owing to the flexibility and ease of draping most
The zigzag requires equidistant spacing and precision.
It may be especially effective when small accessory
steps are used, thereby eliminating vacant areas.
An easily achieved zigzag effect is
created by using material like yarn,
rope, or ribbon to lead the eye
throughout the zigzag line.
Repetition, as a type of proportion, is simple in form.
It makes use of steps of the same general nature. It
aligns all items in the same manner by height, spacing,
and the angle at which they are placed.
This type of repetitive arrangement requires
deviations to break the monotonous effect that may
► Do not use all large objects, because there is nothing to
break the monotony and sameness of that large feeling.
► Adding an odd number of smaller, related items to large
pieces creates more interest and balance.
► Proportions take on more meaning when items define
one another. For example the size of dinosaur is defined
when it is standing next to a two story house.
► Proportion and balance can best be accomplished when
articles within the display play off each other through their
size, shape and color.
► Ratio of merchandise to space is critical:
Each piece of merchandise must be considered in
relation to others.
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 merchandise.
Each object should not be too large or too small, nor
too heavy or too light in proportion to other items in
Proportion and contrast are important elements of
► When all the elements are properly located so that the
eye travels smoothly from one part to another, then flow,
movement, or rhythm have been achieved. Rhythm can be
achieved through various means like
► Rhythm may be broken up or continuous; clearly stated
or subtly suggested; repeated or vaguely similar.
► Rhythm entails an arrangement of organized motion and
does not necessarily need repetition. However, it does gain
impact from repetition.
► A flow exist if the eye travels from one area of a display
to another, covering the entire display. The eye should
travel easily through the entire design.
► A display can lead the eye with color, repetition,
shadows created by light placement, lettering or texture.
It gives regularity to the movement of the eye, as if it
knows what is coming next.
This produces an impression of constancy and
These impressions are helpful in promoting classic
styles of clothing, especially for professional wear.
► Continuous Line Movement
The simplest method for directing the eye is a
continuous line, either straight or curved.
In an advertisement, the reader’s eye enters the ad in
the upper left corner. It may proceed from left to right in
a straight line.
The eye starts at the top left quarter of the
arrangement and proceeds downward to the lower right
► Progression of Sizes
Progression of sizes refers to using similar shapes
and varying their sizes by consistently increasing or
decreasing them along the visual path.
The eye is made to move rapidly over the display,
and this swift eye movement is in keeping with the
immediate, quick viewing that is essential to the
successful display of merchandise.
It is a more dynamic means of achieving eye
movement than is repetition.
It employs the sequential evolution of
an element for example, using light,
medium, and dark colors sequentially
in a design.
Another way to create rhythm is by radiation, that is,
use of a circular arrangement that guides the eye from a
central point around the parts of the design.
Designs that employ radial rhythm or movement are
often dramatic. However, this method of creative rhythm
offers less variety than the other two methods.
► English reading people read from left to right. A left to
right reading should be created in the display.
► Use element that mean something together and relate to
► Create a pattern through the use of light and dark, either
with color or light.
► 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. Overlapping is one of
the most effective tools for creating good flow.
► It is usually recommended to use an odd number of
items when displaying multiples.
► Use a fabric or color that unifies the themes.
► Use props that are repetitious either in form or theme.
► Use the technique of flying merchandise to create flow.
► Use lettering with repetition of similar items or with
dominance by using oversized items to create flow.
► It is important that the eye is led throughout the display
and does not leave until all parts have been seen.
► When all the elements in a design properly blend to form
a unified picture, the principle of harmony has been
► Harmony is a coordinating
umbrella principle that can cover
and incorporate every other
► Harmony is agreement in
feeling and consistency in mood
► Without Harmony, the
observer is uncomfortable and
will not be enticed to purchase
► Harmony may be achieved through use of the artistic
► It deals with how something works physically, which
means it must be realistic and must work.
► An example of kitchen counter used in a display that is
the appropriate height and depth for working.
► It is correctly fitting together all the pieces; merchandise
should not be out of place in the display.
► For example, an electrical appliance is not structurally
consistent in an outdoor or camping device.
► A good window display may have pots and pans, fishing
gear and outdoor furniture all mixed together because
these items truly would be used on a camping trip; hence a
camping theme is carried out.
► All the merchandise is brought together as part of the
trip and harmony would be created or a mood would be set.
► It includes the parts of display that are included only for
► If an atmosphere of spring is being developed,
butterflies and/or flowers may be used as props. These
items are attractive and add to the theme.
Merchandise display is the arrangement and organization of display
materials and merchandise to produce a stimulus that leads to the sale
of merchandise and services. 82
Outcome of a good display
► It sells products and services
► Publicizes the business.
► Lays a foundation for the future sales
► Builds prestige
► Educates the public
► Builds up the goodwill of the public
► Offers the public useful, practical demonstrations.
► Familiarizes the public with the operations of the
► Harmonizes business interests with esthetics.
Rules for Display Planning
► Help the eye in finding the focal point of the display easily.
► Limit the number of competing elements in the display.
► Give the display one dominant theme.
► Use contrast and rhythm to add life to the colors and
► Select display props and material having some connection
with the exhibited product.
► Do not allow the display props and materials to take up most
of the best space in the window.
► Avoid anything that conflicts with the sales message.
► Use colors appropriate to the season.
► Do not mix the styles.
► Relax and see if the display sells.
Purpose of Display
► The purpose of Display in a store is to attract customers
to the store, and ultimately convince them to buy the
merchandise. The main purposes of a display can be
discussed as under:
Sell by show
Encourage the shopper to enter the store
Establish, promote & enhance the store’s visual
To enhance the customer’s shopping experience
Introduce & explain new products
Educate customers by answering to their queries
regarding the use & accessorization of a product.
Functions of a Display
► The display in a store functions in the following three
It presents the selection of merchandise in a manner
that will maximize both space and visibility to
To allow store sales associates to interact with
customers more effectively.
To enhance the visual appeal of a product to
encourage customer’s interest and subsequent
Points to Enhance the Display
► Create a strong entrance.
► Allow front-to-back sightlines.
► Take advantage of the highest profile location and place the
best selling merchandise in this area.
► Direct and redirect common customer traffic patterns, which
will encourage them to zigzag through the store.
► Wrap it all up at the cash-wrap stand, to enable the
customer to reach that point after seeing the merchandise.
► Maintain an active feeling in your store so that the sales
associates do not congregate in one location and do not
make the store look static.
Types of Display
► Approaches to merchandise presentation vary according
to the type of display- from special, or feature, areas to
regular freestanding assortments and wall units.
► Special display areas include end-of-aisle end caps,
windows and point-of-sale and demo areas.
► A display is at its best when it simply shows a color, an
item, a collection, or just an idea.
► Types of displays include the following:
One Item Display
Related Merchandise Display
Variety or Assortment Display
One Item Display
► A one-item display is just the showing and advancement
of a single garment or any single item. It features only one
piece of merchandise-designer gown, automobile, piece of
► It is a kind of display in which only one type of merchandise is
shown, (viz; all blouses, all skirts, pots etc.) although they may
be in a variety of designs and colors.
► They could be designed by the same designer, or created
with the same fabric or print, or they could all feature a common
► However, for more effective presentation, and for better
comprehension and acceptance by the shopper, there should be
some connection or relevance indicated as to why these three or
four articles are being shown together.
Related Merchandise Display
► When the store wants to deliver a message that says, “I’
am a complete outfit, buy me,” it often chooses to feature
the outfit or ensemble in a setting by itself.
► The intention is to entice the customer to buy a total
package rather than one or two items.
► The main merchandise of purchase is set along with all
other complimenting merchandise tempting the shopper to
but all of them altogether.
Variety or Assortment Display
► It is a potpourri of anything and everything.
► It is a collection of unrelated items that happen to be
sold in the same store.
► It can be work shoes, silk stockings, teakettles, Hawaiian
print shirts, nightgowns etc.
► It is a mélange of odds and ends, a sampling of the
merchandise contained within.
► This kind of display advances concept, trend and an
item. The basis of this kind of display is often the sales.
► It has a very low margin of profit and thus needs a large
sales volume to exist.
►These display stores generally advertise prices.
► This display promotes an idea and not an item. It
promotes the institutional services.
► This display presents the store as member of the
community which helps further in building the image of the
► In this kind of display only incidental mention is made of
merchandise; service, special features, or facilities of the
store are featured.
► These displays create customer loyalty and goodwill.
They do not produce direct sales of merchandise.
► The concept of institutional display is more subtle than
other concepts, concentrating on building an image for the
store in the minds of the customers 95
► Whatever the event, the store wants to say that here is
retailer with pride in its country and community, with
interests beyond just making sales.
► Each season brings with it particular merchandise to
feature, and nature suggests general settings in which to
► The cold of winter, the budding and blooming of flowers
in the spring, the warmth of summer, and the chill of fall
each provide a unique opportunity to encourage customers
to start thinking about what they need for the next season,
and try to buy it now.
► While Christmas or Diwali is unquestionably the major
holiday of the year for the majority of the retailing world,
other holidays play a major role in the achievement of the
year’s total volume.
► The selling period for each holiday varies, as does the
number of departments served by the holiday promotions.
► While four seasons and major holidays provide a
framework for planning merchandise presentations, much
of the work visual merchandisers produce does not fall
under these categories.
► These are the visual presentations that result from the
ingenuity of the display persons and their inherent
► There are no real guidelines except that they must not
overpower the merchandise.
► In the presentation of any display, there are some basic
approaches that any visual merchandiser will make to set
the scene for the merchandise or the concept to be sold.
These approaches can be summed up as under:
Semi-Realistic/ Vignette Setting
► A realistic setting is essentially the depiction of a room,
area, or otherwise recognizable locale, reinterpreted in the
allotted display area, either in the windows or inside the
► A realistic setting requires the careful blending of color,
textures, shapes, and the proper lighting to keep the
background at a proper distance.
► This is a merchandise presentation that shows an
assortment of various related items in a setting depicting
how and where they may eventually be used.
► In this form of realistic setting, the “background” is
actually the “foreground” because the details that make up
the realistic set are actually the merchandise being
promoted in the display.
► Everything on display in this setting is for sale in the
Semi-Realistic/ Vignette Setting
► When space and budget do not allow the time or effort
for a fully realistic presentation, the display person may opt
for the very popular, semi-realistic or “vignette” setting.
► The visual merchandiser presents the essence, and
leaves the rest to the active imagination of the shopper.
► This is a more effective but simpler approach to
► A fantasy setting can be as detailed or as suggestive as
the display person, budget, and time permit.
► It is creative, requires thought, energy, and lots of
planning, but it can be very rewarding.
► It can be surrealistic or just completely off-the wall.
► An abstract setting might seem as if it would be the
easiest to do, but it is often the most difficult.
► The least amount of display often makes the biggest
statement. In an abstract setting, the merchandise is the
dominant feature and the setting supports and reinforces
► The abstract setting is predominantly an arrangement of
lines and shapes, panels, cubes, cylinders, triangles,
curves, arcs, and circles.
► The design does not really represent or look like
anything in particular, but it does evoke certain responses
from the viewer.
Vertical Color Blocking
ELEMENTS OF DISPLAY
► There are few attributes, which contribute to the display
process in a store. These attributes are known as the
“elements of display”. These include six elements that are
necessary components in the production of successful
display units. They are:
Shelf or Display Area
Copy Cards (Show Cards).
► A display or merchandise presentation should convey a
specific theme or idea. This theme is the framework for
creating a visual presentation.
► Lack of a theme is the most common display error;
therefore a theme needs to be properly planned and
► A store’s promotional policy dictates the appropriate
theme of a display.
► The following are guidelines as to the correct use of
themes in visual merchandising:
Over all themes should be selected after the bulk of
the merchandise has been bought for the season.
Overall themes must relate to the merchandise in
both color and concept.
Overall themes must create an image
instantaneously––and it must be the correct image.
Overall themes can be achieved by the use of
hanging banners or signs; floor signs; flowers or props
that relate to the signs and banners; matching urns;
merchandise coordination; and valance colors.
► The most important element of a display is the
► Props are useful but should never be the focus and
become more important than the merchandise.
► To create a good display requires the use of the art
principles involving-line, form, balance, color, and light. The
eye appeal of the display is responsible for most impulse
► The merchandise is that element that supports the
theme of the display and, ultimately, the final value of the
display in the light of the merchandising goal.
► All other elements are intended to support and promote
the goal that this initial selection of merchandise or idea
produces-special promotion, holiday, seasonal, high
fashion, and so on.
Shelf or Display Area
► Shelves and display areas provide the actual physical
framework for the display.
► Before the props, lighting, or show-cards are
considered, this physical facility must be analyzed to
determine what, if any, problems could arise involving the
use of the area.
► During such analysis, it is important to keep in mind that
the viewer’s eye must move easily throughout the display,
regardless of the direction from which he or she
Shelf or Display Area
► The type of merchandise that will be displayed (or in the
case of an institutional display the idea, the service or
benefit offered) influences the selection of a display area.
► A small item such as jewelry will require a case to be
properly displayed, whereas linens may require cube units
and a floor display to promote the merchandise effectively.
Shelf or Display Area
► Areas and fixtures used for optimal merchandise
presentation and as display areas include:
End caps- located at the end of an aisle.
Promotional aisle - used to promote seasonal or
special sale merchandise.
Bulk of stock – contains a full assortment of
► Props (properties) are special elements, which help to
sell the concept of a company image as well as add an
accent to the environment, which are created.
► A prop is anything used in
the display to help decorate
the area and accent the style
of the fashion.
► The props in a display
enhance the fashion
message, help to tell the
story, and should not
compete with the
► They should be interesting
and relevant to the
► Display props include all physical objects within the
display area that are not considered salable merchandise;
namely, floor coverings, wall treatments, backgrounds,
mannequins, shelves, steps, and other objects involved in
creating settings for the merchandise.
► Display props, however, must not overshadow or
dominate the salable items.
► The major purpose of display must always be kept in
mind: to present and sell merchandise to the consumer.
► Lighting within the display is used to draw attention to a
part of the area or a specific item in the display, or to
coordinate parts of the total area.
► Lighting emphasizes items or areas: it also may be used
to bring motion into the various segments of the display
and to direct the viewer’s eye.
►Types of lights, in addition to usual indoor lighting
arrangements, include floodlights, revolving lights, black
lights, colored lights, flashing lights, and spotlights.
► Copy cards or show cards, (lettered cards or signs)
provide the viewer with information concerning the
displayed items and their benefits to the consumer, Copy
cards are that additional incentive so important to visual
► Copy cards are designed appropriately in lettering style,
content, emphasis, size, and placement, so that the
message they convey to the viewers will be in agreement
with the purpose of the total display.
► Signs do the talking for a display. They give significant
details about the article, such as size, styles, and colors.
Thus, as silent salespeople, signs answer customer’s
questions about price and features and tell where the
goods are located in the store.
► Signs must be informative. The wording should be compact
and, when possible, sparkling.
► Strive for a professional look.
► Signs must be clean. Nothing spoils merchandise quicker
in the customer’s eyes than a soiled sign.
► Keep signs timely by changing them often.
►Try to make signs sell customer benefits rather than things.
Signs for clothes, for example, should sell neat appearance,
style, and attractiveness rather than utility. For furniture, they
should sell home life and happiness rather than just lamps
Elements of Design
The elements are components or parts, which can be isolated and
defined, in any visual design or work of art. They are the structure of the
work, and can carry a wide variety of messages. 132
Elements of Design
► Form, shape and space
It is a major part of composition and second only to color in creating a response
to the merchandise in a display. 134
► A line is a mark made by a moving point and having
psychological impact according to its direction, weight, and
the variations in its direction and weight.
► It is an enormously useful and versatile graphic device
that is made to function in both visual and verbal ways.
► It can act as a symbolic language, or it can communicate
emotion through its character and direction.
►Line is not necessarily an artificial creation of the artist or
designer; it exists in nature as a structural feature such as
branches, or as surface design, such as striping on a tiger
or a seashell.
► Lines can be combined with other lines to create
textures and patterns.
► The use of line in combination results in the
development of form and value, which are other elements
► However, line is not always explicit. It can exist by
implication, as the edge of forms.
► As young children we usually begin drawing landscapes
by making outlines for earth, sky, and other objects.
► Gradually we learn that objects do not have such
outlines and we let color changes define the edges of
shapes, creating implicit lines. Thus we can speak of a
horizon “line,” or the “lines” of a car or a fashion silhouette,
even though we know there is no literal line present.
Different types of Lines
► Line also communicates emotion and states of mind
through its character and direction. The variations of
meaning generally relate to our bodily experience of line
► The way in which these lines are utilized and combined
determines the effectiveness of the merchandise
► Each line suggests something else and, as letters
combine to form words, lines are arranged to make selling
► They tend to widen the surface on which they are used
and seemingly decrease the height of the area.
► Horizontal lines create a feeling of rest, relaxation, and
repose, as in the restful line of the horizon.
► Objects parallel to the earth are at rest in relation to
► It is perfectly compatible with robes, loungewear, or
► It expresses strength and stability and is
inherent in many types of merchandise
constructed of rigid materials.
► Its application naturally gives the viewer
an up-and-down eye movement.
► Dominant use of vertical lines in a
display tends to heighten the area, giving
the illusion of increased space in this
► Horizontal and vertical lines in combination
communicate stability and solidity.
► Rectilinear forms stay put in relation to gravity, and are
not likely to tip over.
► This stability suggests permanence, reliability and
safety. In the case of the man in this family group, the lines
seem to imply stability to the point of stodginess.
► This type of diagonal line especially connotes action and
movement to the viewer and is quite effective in the
informal display arrangement.
► It tends to give the illusion of instability.
► An expert must use it with care and precision.
► The diagonal line is a line of action; it is forceful, strong,
► Curved lines do vary in meaning, however, Soft, shallow
curves suggest comfort, safety, familiarity, relaxation.
► They also tend to give a display a feminine atmosphere.
► The curved line personifies grace, charm, and femininity.
► It is soft and enveloping.
► They recall the curves of the human body, and therefore
have a pleasing, sensual quality.
Deep, Acute Curves
► Deep Curves suggest confusion, turbulence, even
frenzy, as in the violence of waves in a storm, the chaos of
a tangled thread, or the turmoil of lines suggested by the
forms of a crowd.
► Zigzag lines are angular and counter roundness.
► They enlarge the figure and are eye-catching.
► These lines are a series of connected diagonals and
give a feeling of being erratic, intense, abrupt and non –
► These lines attract attention because of their disturbing
► These lines ad weight and attract attention. They are
decorative and busy.
► These lines are generally eye-catching, dominant and
may be too violent. Psychologically these lines are
associated with sharpness, movement, speed, confusion
► These lines create a focal point at the point of
intersection because of their contrasting nature.
► These lines emphasize direction and are psychologically
associated with weight and youthfulness.
► Full curves emphasize body curves, counters thinness
and sharp angles and are better suited on thin figures.
Psychologically these lines are associated with activeness,
roundness, forcefulness, feminity and exuberance.
► Soft curves gently emphasize the body curves and are
flattering. Psychologically these lines are associated with
passive nature, gentleness, feminity, smoothness and
► These lines give roundness and soften the angles.
Psychologically they are associated with feminity,
sensuousness, gentleness, fluidity and gracefulness. The
structural use of these lines is for the flowing fabric edges,
fabric patterns, frills and ruffles.
► These lines soften the angles and are more flattering
and give a feeling of sensuousness, feminity,
seductiveness and gracefulness.
► The lines have a focal point and are eye catching. They
are natural, continuous and feminine
► These lines give a visual effect, lightweight ness and
have a receding nature. Psychologically they create a
feeling of delicacy, calmness, fragility, subtleness and
► These lines are heavy, add weight, visually move
forward and attract attention. These are forceful, assertive,
masculine and confident.
► These lines are smooth and flattering and give a feeling
of firmness, certainty, steadiness and regularity.
► These lines emphasize bulges and add interest. They
are wobbly, unstable and indecisive.
► These lines emphasize direction, length or width and are
continuous, graceful, free flowing and smooth.
► These lines divide the space and adds interest. They
give a feeling of abruptness, efficiency and blindness.
► These lines are rhythmic and attract attention.
Psychologically they are associated with interruption,
Form, Shape and Space
Form and shape are areas or masses, which define objects in space. Form and
shape imply space; indeed they cannot exist without space. 164
The shape of an object refers to the visual form of
that object. For our purpose, shapes are discussed not
in their variations, but as being similar or dissimilar.
For the creation of perfect harmony in a display,
shapes that correspond exactly to one another are used
Inharmonious or dissimilar shapes may be used in a
display to create contrast and, in some instances, a
point of emphasis.
When lines connect they create form, which is the
shape of the object.
Straight lines produce angular forms, and curved
lines create circular forms.
Forms express moods similar to the lines that define
In advertisements and displays the merchandise and
props are the forms and should be chosen for the
appropriateness of their shape for the particular
Display forms come in different sizes and can be
arranged in a variety of positions.
► An element of art that is three dimensional (height,
width, and depth) and encloses volume.
► For example a triangle, which is two dimensional, is a
shape, and a pyramid, which is three dimensional is a form.
► Examples of forms include; Cubes, Spheres, Ovoids,
Pyramids, Cones, and Cylinders.
Categories of Forms
► There are various ways to categorize form and shape.
Geometric / Organic
Realistic / Naturalistic
► Two-dimensional form is the foundation of pictorial
organization or composition in painting, photography, and
many other media.
► It is created in a number of ways:
Change in texture
2-D forms giving illusion of 3-D
► Two-dimensional forms can create the illusion of three
dimensional shapes and spaces
► Whenever we look at a flat surface (a picture, a
television screen) and assume we are looking at spaces
and objects that have depth, we are accepting a set of
visual signals that create an illusion of three-dimensional
► Three-dimensional shape has an expressive vocabulary
similar to that of line.
► For example,
Rectilinear shapes suggest stability.
Angular shapes placed diagonally in relation to
gravity suggest instability.
Shapes that exhibit softly curving surfaces suggest
quiet, comfort and sensuality.
Geometric / Organic
Shapes that are created through use
of mathematics. These shapes include
Circle, Oval, Triangle, Square,
Rectangle, Hexagon, Octagon and
An irregular shape, or one
that might be found in nature,
rather than a regular
Realistic / Naturalistic
► If we can recognize every day objects and
environments, we refer to the images as being realistic, or
►If the images are difficult or impossible to identify in terms
of our normal, daily visual experience, we may refer to the
images as abstract.
► There are several kinds of abstract images.
Objective image - it is derived from an actual object.
Non-objective image - do not refer to any real-world
object or scene
► Caricature is a special instance of abstraction, in which
realistic images are distorted to make a statement about
the people, places, or objects portrayed.
Space is the two-dimensional equivalent of volume. It
is the illusion of three-dimensional spatial relationships
on a flat, two-dimensional surface.
A drawing or painting may appear to have a flat
sense of space or a deep sense of space.
Space is the distance between forms. It is the
expanse between objects. That is, the background upon
which a figure is placed.
The amount of space given to background helps to
create mood and emphasis. Blank background in an
advertisement is termed white space.
► An element of art that refers to
the distance or area between,
around, above, below, or within
things. It can be described as two-
dimensional or three-dimensional;
as flat, shallow, or deep; as
positive or negative; and as actual,
Since the viewer has to look up to
view the sculpture, Michelangelo
carved the hands, torso, and head An example of how artist use
larger so his body would look actual space to manipulate the
correctly. viewers perspective, can be
seen in Michelangelo’s stone
sculpture of “David”.
Size refers to the physical magnitude, extent, bulk,
and dimension of something.
To achieve harmony within a display, sizes should be
Objects of the sizes in which they appear in reality
should constitute an entire area rather than being used
in conjunction with objects that are miniatures.
Sizes should also be kept in proportion, so that large
objects do not minimize smaller ones that appear with
them in a display.
In the area of merchandise display, one basic rule is
to allow one idea to dominate.
This tends to enhance the selling message of the
window. Here, more than in other areas of design, we
emphasize the importance of the display area as a
A display is not an artistic creation stimulating
speculation and interpretation concerning its intent.
The viewer must clearly and quickly receive the idea
of a window. Its details must be in keeping with the
central idea or theme in order to enhance and
immediately clarify the idea that prevails.
Using color is the best way to add excitement to a visual presentation
without the cost of the installation.
► Typically, color is the first element we see when looking
at an object or scene. It affects us physically and
psychologically and is one of the most important elements
in creating response, especially to display.
► Color is one of the most powerful of elements. It has
tremendous expressive qualities. Understanding the uses
of color is crucial to effective composition in design and the
► Color is an inexpensive, versatile means of creating
mood and drama in the presentation of fashion
merchandise. Much of the color comes from the
merchandise itself, which requires no additional expense.
►The color combinations of ceiling, walls, floor coverings
and overall décor can affect the atmosphere of a store.
► Research shows that the proper choice of color in store
windows and store interiors has significant drawing power.
► Color used properly can attract the eye of the potential
customer, create the desired mood, and stimulate the
viewer to make a purchase decision.
► Changing a color scheme can change people’s attitudes
and perceptions of a store, and increase (or decrease)
Color and Display
► The average pedestrian sees a window
display as a flashing picture that is
approached, observed, and responded to
all in less than 11 seconds.
► This picture must be magnetic to bring
customers into the store.
► A window display should represent the
store, and it should help sell goods.
► To do this, it must attract the eye and
turn walkers into stoppers-people who stop
to examine the goods.
► One of the strongest forces in stopping the pedestrian
and making him or her want an item is the effective use of
color in a display.
► It is an invaluable selling tool, because people are color
► Color helps to create interest in new merchandise and
the desire for it.
► Color is critical to an ambiance that projects a store’s
image and attracts customers.
► The psychological effects of color have been well
► For example, blue, green and violet project elegance;
orange, yellow, and red convey intimacy.
► Appropriate lighting, in turn, enhances the effects of
►The use of colors in a store communicates various things
to the customers who walk in while passing by. Some of
the major impacts of color on customers are:
Color sets the mood
Highlights a product
Conveys the seasonal look
The Impact of Color
► Color can convey and induce a variety of emotions.
► The effects of color can also be applied to merchandise
presentations and displays.
► A bright color may attract a customer into the store, but
warm colors in general make customers feel uneasy; cool
colors in a display create a calm atmosphere and may
prolong the customer’s stay in the store.
► Colors also convey the seasonal look; e.g.,
Red & Green – Christmas
Black & Orange – Halloween
Red & Pink – Valentine’s Day
► Warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellows) physically
attract customers to shop are stimulating and Cherry.
► It makes room feel warm and intimate.
► Warm colors makes a room seem smaller while making
objects in the room appear larger.
► A warm color on the end of the walls of a long narrow
room will appear to shorten the room.
► On the other hand, cool colors (blues, greens, and
violets) are more appropriate for areas where customers
will be deliberating over a big-ticket purchase such as a fur
► These colors helps by creating a relax atmosphere.
► Rooms decorated primarily in cool colors tend to appear
larger and more specious.
► Cool colors are especially pleasing
in smaller rooms.
Dimensions of Color
► Skillful use of color begins with an understanding of its
► In simple terms hue is the
name of the color. Yellow, red,
brown, grey are hues.
► Theoretically all hues can be
mixed from three basic hues,
known as primaries. When
pigment primaries are all mixed
together, the theoretical result is
► When describing the lightness or darkness of a hue, we
are speaking of its value.
► Adding white to a hue, we lighten it and achieve a tint.
► With the addition of lack, a darker variation is produced,
know as shade.
Intensity or Chroma
► The saturation or purity of a color is referred to as its
► A color’s intensity is actually its brightness or dullness.
► The intensity is varied by adding middle grey or
complement of the color.
► These intense colors catch the eye and stop the
customer long enough for her to notice the merchandise.
► High-intensity colors are active and stimulating.
► Low-intensity colors are grayed or dull in appearance,
for example, maroon. Dull or low-intensity colors tend to
create a calm and restful mood
► Colors often occur in various combinations, referred to
as color schemes.
► Combining colors attractively is an art marked by
individual style and preference. Although there are no laws
for combining colors, there are some formalized methods
for producing harmonious color schemes.
► These methods are illustrated on a wheel of 12 colors.
► The two major categories of color scheme in terms of
hue are related and contrasting.
► The second category is referred to as contrasting
because there are no common hues in these color
schemes. Contrasting color schemes are often bold and
Related Color Schemes
► The first category is referred to as related because this
type of color scheme utilizes one or more hues in common,
that is, colors that are adjacent on the color wheel.
► Related color schemes tend to produce a stable feeling
and allow the mood of the hue of the color scheme to be
► The principal types of related color schemes are
► A single color on the color wheel is
used with three to five tints and shades
of that single true color in this scheme
► Several pieces of blue merchandise
each consisting of a different value
ranging from baby blue to navy blue, is
an example of Monochromatic color
► If texture is a selling point, a
monochromatic color scheme may be a
good choice for highlighting textures,
which would be more apparent when the
colors are all the same or similar.
► Analogous color schemes comprise three colors that are
adjacent on the wheel, which means they contain a common hue.
► An example is yellow-orange, yellow, and yellow-green. Another
example, from the cooler side of the color wheel, is blue, blue-violet,
► An analogous color scheme offers more variety in colors than a
monochromatic scheme and avoids the possibility of clashing colors
since there is a common hue to provide harmony.
► This can be used to create a soft and subtle décor and warm or
► This color scheme needs to be used with
caution so as not to end up with an over
stimulating nor depressing atmosphere.
Contrasting Color Schemes
► Contrasting color schemes are subdivided as follows:
Tone on Tone
► A complementary color scheme is represented by two
colors that are exactly opposite to each other on the color
wheel, such as Yellow and Purple or Red and Green.
► It can result in a very pleasing combination of warm and
► Avoid using opposite colors in equal amounts of light
and dark combinations.
► These schemes are based on two adjacent colors
combined with their complementary or opposite colors,
such as yellow orange and yellow with violet and blue-
violet, or red-orange and orange with blue and blue-green.
► This scheme incorporates both contrast by means of
opposite hues and similarity by means of related hues.
► The related hues give a sense of unity, making this
scheme slightly easier to produce than a simple
► Split-complementary color scheme is composed of any
hue plus the two hues on either side of its complement,
such as yellow with red-violet and blue violet, or blue-green
with red and orange.
► It is a popular color scheme to create interest and
► Every fourth color on the color wheel for a total of three
colors make a triadic color scheme.
►It is built on three hues equidistant from each other, such
as red, yellow, and blue; or orange, green, and violet.
► The combination of unrelated hues is lively, but harmony
may be difficult to create because of the variety generated.
► This is a good combination of colors
that can create muted, traditional look as
well as more vibrant color characteristics
of modern color scheme.
► Tetrad scheme combines four hues equidistant from
each other on the color wheel, such as orange, yellow-
green, blue, and red-violet.
► The various hues provide the contrast and interest.
► The merchandise itself can provide the color schemes
for the display.
► In a merchandising grouping, a multicolor item such as a
figured blouse can establish the color scheme. When an
item comes in several colors, that range, of hues can
become the color scheme.
Tone on Tone
► Two colors that are next to one another on the color
wheel with a very little space between them, make up a
tone on tone scheme.
► Generally no change in either intensity, such as degree
of brightness, in tints or shades is used in a tone on tone
► A display of blue and blue-violet silk flowers is an
example of this scheme.
Psychological Implications of Color
► Market researchers have done extensive studies exploring
the emotional responses of people to color.
► Some of these responses seem to be powerful and fairly
universal. However, much of this information is culturally
► We know that cultural traditions endow colors with powerful
meanings that can differ greatly from place to place.
► For example, in Europe and the United States, black is the
color of mourning.
► In many tropical countries and in East Asia white is the
color of death.
► On the other hand, white is the color worn by American
brides, while brides in much of Asia wear red.
A cool Color (makes room seem cooler).
Clams and Relaxes excited people.
Makes time seem to pass quickly.
Tends to stimulate thought processes and
Easy on the Eyes.
A cool Color
Restful and Tranquil
Makes time seem to pass quickly.
Excites and Stimulates.
Makes time seem to pass Slowly
Friendly, Warm and Vibrant
A cheerful Color.
Creates a feeling o Warmth and Happiness
Violet and Purple
A cool color
Tends to lend elegance and sophistication
Relaxing and Warm
Sophistication when used Elegantly
Adds a balance to any Color Scheme
► Colors must be considered in view of their surroundings,
as color can change dramatically when viewed under
► For Example, A red chair will appear
Yellower next to Blue wall
Purer and brighter next to Green wall
Lighter and Brighter next to White wall
Brighter next to Grey wall.
► A dark color placed near a lighter color will appear
deeper while light color will appear lighter yet.
► Colors are also radically altered by differences in pattern
► A comfortable background color choice for leather goods
is the mid value range, such as a beige or grey.
► This selection also works well for intimate apparel and
ready to wear.
► A painted background color will not reflect as much light
fabric, so even if the merchandise is the same color as the
background it will still stand out.
► Light colors such as pinks, yellows, 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
► The small size of the garments and the generally light
tones make the merchandise invisible.
► Brighter, 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,
and boys departments go with bright because the clothes
tend to be in bright or deep tones.
► Junior departments utilize various color backgrounds
depending on current fashion vogue.
► When neon colors are popular, white is a very suitable
► However, when more subtle colors are in fashion, the
whites are too cold and overpowering.
► Dark Green or dark Blue colors, with neutrals used for
accents, have been effectively used in menswear areas.
► Primary, Secondary, Peach, Light Blue and Green
colors should be avoided.
► Stores that carry china and glass can effectively use
grays, browns and blues as background colors.
► Browns work especially well with bone china and Blues
are attractive with porcelain; grays can be utilized with
either type of china.
► Silver should not be shown on a brown background
because the reflection will make the silver appear tarnished
► However, browns and burgundies are great for
displaying brass goods.
► Gift areas can be use black and white with bright