Thursday, January 12, 2012

12 days of Visual Display Trends - Trend No.5 Social Media !


 I have been like an excited child waiting to explore this trend, the past few months and how excited I am to see how far it goes. 

This holiday season- Canadian Tire featured an entire tree composed of lights that twinkle certian colours when someone sends a message to the site, or mentions it on-line. When the lights would flash white, social networks like Twitter & Facebook are buzzing over the words Christmas, green meant Christmas is being mentioned in the news, red meant blogs and forums had a Christmas theme, topics or key words. Blue with flashing strobe lights meant people were posting messages on their site  You are unable to post now as the tree has been dismantled ( unlike mine... stylist faux pas?)

The giant tree measuring 30 feet and decorated with 3,100 lights that twinkled took the media by storm, where the store not only created a unique experience with social media connecting them to the store and the brand- they would be able to watch the stream and send a message; essentially watch your message light up the tree almost the instant you sent it. 

There is an incredible video going viral that is entitled `The Joy of Books`, where Type owners ( a book store in toronto ) basically transform their adorable shop and edit the video so exquisitely wherein the books spring to life at night, play and re merchandise themselves. While the video is certainly art in its own right, the point is to raise awareness of how incredible books feel   - the smell, the sound of a book shut.... Its a lovely viral video, reminding us of how special books can be- definitely no competition for the e-readers around.
This video has gone completely viral all around the globe. Great campaign, awareness, media... the editing is artwork. incredible! 

Most of us have a Facebook account- and are a part of a group- or asked to like.... something. From Uncle Ricky`s movember page - or your favorite boutique letting you know wha'ts new, whats on sale and some exciting new display. This is the most incredible thing about social media, as a single user, a person.. you! that`s right- whatever you like on Facebook, you choose to obtain certain information on your feed, un-liking as much as you need to. The most fascinating thing is that we have created a personal mailbox for information we choose to get.  A fabulous vintage store in Toronto, PrettyFreedom has mastered this Facebook to friends marketing. Using Facebook & Twitter, the shop highlights new garments, fun accessories, photo shoot's and their amazing displays on-line. 

PrettyFreedom posts pricing comparable's, fun images and videos on their Facebook site & Twitter

For someone like myself who has 'liked' PrettyFreedom on Facebook- I get access to their new arrivals and what I like I can click and they get the info as well, creating relationships with consumers from far and wide.

Another PrettyFreedom display, found on their Facebook page. Consider this more like visual display porn simply for the sake of gorgeousness. Check out more of the brilliance here. 

 People generally browse on-line first, see what a store has to offer and comparison shop, then head in store. In fact- you can comment and like the garment and have a personal relationship with the brand is some way. Facebook and Twitter are dominating the internet and social sphere, so much so that small companies, boutiques won`t require a, wherein Facebook is where the business happens, and the sale completed via paypal or another on-line transaction. 

This- I know from personal experience. My partner in crime ( romantical crime) Runs a business entirely online, all from paypal and ebay. He sculpts & paints horror props and special fx masks- which when I met him thought it was a riot, but now realize it is a real business with enough buyers online to set up a salary from it. His business is exclusively run on-line. We do conventions and such- but again, simply because we had enough of the clientèle asking us to attend these mega conventions. Yes - we have a website, But its old, outdated and it works for us, as The Devils Latex Facebook site keeps sales alive, and it provides a great way for these horror peeps to gush over each other's horror related stuff. ( Hey now, I just paint and help sculpt..... the Fans are on another level here )

Now how about this-- MINI Getaway Stockholm created the most amazing online game. I could go on about its radness, and how it has almost changed the face of contests, gaming and customer interaction. The concept is fascinating and the results speak for themselves. 

How incredible is this?! An exciting concept, and I would love to see a visual scavenger hunt in window displays and store interiors -- and you know-- I think that might be a new little thang Displayology does over the next few months. Interested? 

We talked about semacodes in the last post- and I think thats also an incredible step for social shopping, scanning the bar codes of brands, stores, sales- anything and you create open doors for information to the people most interested in what it is. 

Foursquare is a networking site that hinges on Twitter's heals, a virtual location tag that allows you to tag where you are and then your network, followers, in whatever way you are connected; which means anyone who walks into your store and is connected via twitter/facebook can tag the location, so evvvvveeerybody can see where they are- Ie: your shop. Not only do you tag your location, but you play little games with people who also visit locations a lot, you can call people the mayor or a particular gym.. or something. 

Participating store fronts, cafes, anywhere can obtain cling vinyl that show users that their location is on foursquare ( register for an easy find ) and they participate in the game! Want to learn more on how foursquare can work for you? head to Foursquare for Business. 
The social media landscape is iso vast, and there is so much possibility ; including window displays. which is ideally, what we really love to see. so! Enough with the gab and the pillow talk between me and the social media landscape and lets see some "social media" inspired window displays! 

Caruso Caruso in the uk placed QR codes ( semacoding ) in their window display 
Kenneth Cole is known for having cheeky anecdotes and blurbs as a fundamental marketing  strategy. Here, they go one step further into using vinyl cling as KC tweets are presented on the windows, and still. very, very cheeky. 
Stating the obvious here - this bookstore uses Facebook and all of its tabs + buttons to  feature  a book about, well, Facebook. 
Louis Vuitton plays off of 'social media' and how individuals  take pictures of themselves, and others.. taking pictures. The social media landscape as made almost nothing intimate- yet everything is personalized. Great work from Louis Vuitton in creating a bit of a stir.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

12 Days of Display Trends - No.4 Technology

Okay- bit of a pause, I have some exciting things happening this January and am SO excited to share.... Bare with me dear readers! 


As we trek down this developing path of trends that will stand out within the Visual Merchandising world, I am JUST not speaking about social media or the internet age. I mean, more and more I see neon lights, computer lights and interacting mediums invading the shopping space. Some like this technological addition, however most retail wonders " how can i integrate technology to help my ______" 

Stop avoiding the reality, and embrace technology. ... yah yah, But how? Let me show you a few ways retailers are USING technology as a friend, not foe. 

In 2007, H & M, mega retailer discovered a clever way to find a way in, a way to connect with an entire generation who can type with two thumbs faster than you can apply lip gloss. Finding the connection with technologically savvy and the smartphone-glued-to-hand high schoolers. 
The brand began to figure out how to connect with an audience, so- thanks to the brilliance that is semacodes ( ie: those square bar code things you scan, thusly adding info to your smartphone and brining you to a link regarding the code you scanned) On their public ads. Anyone in bus stops, train stations, malls.... anywhere were able to scan the semacode that appeared near an item that they were interested in. When scanned, the bar code brings the user to a website with information about the garment, colours, price, and store availability. Not only did it give info on the garment- the semacode linked with a phones internal GPS system to show the user where the closest store was....... so they could waltz in and purchase the article they saw on the bus-ad 15 minutes ago. 

Not only does this bring the buyer closer to its personal connection with the brand- the user would able to buy the garment and it would be charged via their cell phone bills. (whaaaaaaaaaaaatttttt) 

Okay, moving on:  

there is a big fear that technology, or the innovative software & low price-hunting programs and platforms are bascially going to ruin the idea of a traditional store. Now, I am not saying I would agree with this statement- however It is true that the ease of technology has seperated buying into online, or instore and online shopping dominated holiday sales in 2011. There must be something to this barren-till hysteria.  Companys like Zugara  that have created 'Virtual Change room's' , which essentially eliminate the requirement to head into a physical store. 

There are positive and negative points with this-

 Positive :

  •  Individuals who perhaps cannot leave the house as often as they would like or people who simply find on-line shopping way easier and not as stressful. 
  • You can save tremendous time when shopping for gifts, and with the use of virtual change room's- more shopping can be done on-line.
  • The on-line sales will obviously ten-fold as customers from far and wide are able to 'try on' way more products than I'm sure the seasoned shopper ever could in one hour
  • Its obviously way more fun to not get into a store with terrible lighting, and try on clothes that make you sad. ( ..... just me?) 

I think we can think of some negatives here- and many people raise interesting and well thought reasons why possibilities are scary...  without getting all debbie downer on you I feel like we must use technology to our advantage. 

This video, produced by Cicso gives us a great opportunity here, a look on how to mix technology 


An off handed post I wrote a few weeks ago touched- or ranted... whatever- about how customer service needs to be the guiding light that brings retail, and a whole economy on it back into the sun. A great example of how modern technology can bring the customer experience to a new level, and allowing a customer to try on waaaaaaaaaay more than you or I would probably get to. Entire collections, accessorising and creating whole looks- products a casual customer would probably never discover. 

Below is a video featuring TopShop using augmented fitting rooms, an incredible program that provides users with an interactive shopping opportunity. Notice the screen is actually  cute, not clunky or big- taking away from the experience. 

Not to take away anything from clothing, but I have to be honest- Interior design has basically started this concept of virtual selling, using technology & software to enhance the customer experience.  Benjamin Moore has created a program where average users can upload an image of their bedroom, kitchen, whatever into a 'virtual change room' with your home for many years- in fact it stirred a whole industry on user friendly programs that can re-create your living room, from a virtual perspective. Doing this provided designers, and the college student and everyone in between to have a positive experience in seeing their space finished before actually committing to the labour, and assisting the 'sell' of a space. Now, you can find zillions of programs on-line, or speciality software that does just this on varying levels.

There is so much possibility with technology becoming faster, lighter, stronger- we must not fear what we don't understand, and embrace how, and how to innovate it into your store. Ipads, playbooks, iphones ....... flatscreens- so much possibilty is out there, and visual merchandisers & store designers are anxious to share with interested and eager retail clients.... 

i have a few ideas...
email me at

Social Networking & Media is up next... HUGE post darlings. HUGE :D 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

12 Visual Display Trends: # 3 Splash!

Okay.... No.3 display trend?   

it is 4 days into 2012, and I have been up and down shopping space, cyber space and in between and all I keep hearing about is blue. Blue, cobalt, iris, turquoise, robins egg, indigo, sapphire, teal, heather.... every reference to a shade of blue. Now I know Navy was a strong contender last fall and continues to be a beautiful colour with lots of possibility, this spring navy will get a bit soft and colours a bit washed and almost ethereal. Blues, sand tones, bright greens - basically the colours of a Greek ocean.   *sigh*

The Barthelmess Group - a merchandising company from Germany sites 'splash' as this for retail displays 

     " The "splash" trend feels like an immersion in cool water- bubbly and exciting. Objects have a  refreshing effect on  the viewer. Plants are involved, but in a unusual, surprising way: hanging and natural, like they were only just pulled from the ground, but also in combination with clear geometrical shapes. Circles, squiggles and rectangles are arranged in natural surroundings like they belong there. with this theme it is important to take everything with a grain of salt. When it colours, 'Splash' goes for a fresh image as well: Crisp greens, aqua and intense turquoise dominate the range of hues. Light gold tones provide glamorous accents and give objects certain radiance" 
More on the Barthelmess Group below.

what an informative little blurb, huh? well- in typical DisplayologyTO fashion, I am giving you my thoughts on this trend. When I read this, I think: 

Splash is a trend with a happy, fresh and optimistic point of view- and can be used with a certain coolnes, a sensuality if you will. How about some ideas ..

I am entirely inspired my sea shells right now, and think its a great source of creative ideas. How neat would it be to use bundles of twine to re-create coral on a wall? Absolutely do-able- Monochromatic, textural and definitely an interesting display to look at 

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How about bubbles! This display is absolutly beautiful, more centered around the holidays but think of it- can be re-constructed to have soft blues and washy greens, clear bubbles suspended with fishing line in a window or even above your cash desk. 
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Something like this... Does not have to be fancy glass either, try from paper mache balloons, instead of using construction paper or newsprint, use thin tissue paper in cool jem tones. Poisition your lighting around the bubble sculpture accordingly and you can light this puppy without any hazards. 

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Wouldn't this be a lovely idea? Pretty literal, however perfect for displays that centre around cruises wear, travel and fun spring/summer concepts. This strand could look messy and cluttered if done within a display that includes lots of other 'ocean' like materials. do a simple strand, create some symmetry with it and light  the back drop up with cool blue lighting. 

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Kinda like this, etheral and almost as if the whole thing is floating, sumptuous display without being overdone. Perfect smooth lighting. 

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LOVE this idea, a great idea on this "splash" trend. Literal, but totally unexpected these humdrum white ceramic pottery gets lift with splattered blue paint. Try this! it is super easy and ultra inexpensive, and for my more darling clients... how about a full mannequin, dressed and then half splattered in paint! How amazing would that be for retail or tradeshow booths with swimming, surfing or beach wear. 

Another literal take on 'splash' and this would be gorgeous on a window front. painted. Yes! I said it, Paint the inside of your window something like this, the runs and globs of wet colour will be incredibly attractive and exciting to pedestrians and shoppers alike.  Adding a garment? when painting, create some room in the glass for the garment or body form, almost as though the body form is melting with it, but you can still see the items.

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speaking of painted windows... These stylized waves would be a great window painting. Right colour palate too. 
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And again, perfect inspiration of window display paintings, or perhaps some murals in your store. change room perhaps? 

I love this image and it is totally inspiring. Have been trying to do this within retail forever; Create sails with gorgeous printed fabric, sheers or natural materials and create visual appeal by propping sails in the centre space in your store. Not hard- rope, material and some bitchin' hot glue gun skills ( or sewing machine) and you could make some serious waves. ( HA!) 

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This window display has great colour and tells a beautiful story, and one of awareness. This display is making us aware of the realities of some fishing techniques - while it sends a message it is also a beautiful concept and well executed. 

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Okay, yes. This craft is clearly for children.. however I know the simple design is making the creative juices flow. How much fun would these look in warm gold tones, hell some detailed sequin action and pretty paper for the jellyfish legs and this could be a great idea with some serious impact. Sexy Jellyfish? 

Window farms are gorgeous, green and really special to look at. City dwellers and country folk alike are inspired by these clever 'window farm' ideas, and they make attractive window displays. We have all the makings to walk alongside the 'slpash' theme - water, clear texture, fresh green.... maybe add some blue or white rocks to make these look a bit more oceanic. 

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Plastic bags, twine dirt and bulbs. Simple window display inspiration with the same window farm look. Add a bit more turquoise and this could be your next window display. 

As always, find more Splash! ideas on my Pinterest
Need help? email me 

The Barthelmess group is an incredible reference for visual merchandising trends and news, with the finger on the pulse they are a huge influence to me.Find them at

12 days of Display Trends: #2 Over the Top!

and on the 2nd day of Visual Display trends, my merchandiser gave to me ..... 

                                          Over The Top!

Quite simply, 'Over the Top' is a unique trend to merchandising in 2012. Unique where a style of display has become a trend. You see it alot more than you think. It is the total opposite of Display Trend no.1 of 2012. 

Over the Top is heavy in visual - heavy in everything. BUT it has focus, and a story to tell. Totally on the other side of "DIY" in which you see pretty things, age, natural fibres and texture, this trend is top notch in colour, technology and a certain -freshness- that cannot be ignored. 

Editors Note: 
You kinda have a few approaches to windows & store interior design; Less is More, or More is More, and you have to get it bang on without it looking like a dogs breakfast. Nothing is as less appealing as checking a store window and seeing barren visual sadness in what you would think " oh my gosh. What a great window... what potential", OR on the Flip side.. More can be waaay too much and littered with "Ness" that does not quite fulfil a story, just so much colour/texture/awkward styling that does not attract you into a retail space. 

Below are a displays and window artistry that do over the top in the best way. 

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This display within a hotel in Paris is a great first example. It may not have lots of technology, but the therory is beautiful. Take a look at the scale, huge impact, different and unexpected within a hallway of mirror and gold. The treetop is huge and and wraps around the pillar. Big Impact! 
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Okay, I know what you are thinking.. this image is not exactly "over the top" as I explained earlier. Not every retailer has big budgets and big windows- and this example was perfect on how to do 'over the top' and make it accessible to all readers. This small display has lots happening. Busy union jack envelope our eyes and one note ceramic texture could have been disasterous, but this display has great technique and interest. Various levels, hits of colour using a W of M pattern and still, lots of product! Okay.. onto the WOW. 

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Over.The.Top. how does this look? Windows from Bergdorf Goodman, and wow their team delivers. In this photo wood takes over. Lots of varying finishes, paint techniques and colours to play with, while mixing natural elements like a fur wardrobe and a dash of feather- this window makes over the top work. Here is another of my favourites from the set

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Here again, the gold and rose metals blend with varying colour and texture. I want to stare at it all day. 

Of course, this post would not be without the power of GaGa. As many of us are aware by now, Lady Gaga the walking art project has built her mega brand into a pop-up store concept of Barney's. The iconic retailer detailed the first floor the store, including the windows to represent Lady Gaga and her brand, her product and her merchandising vision. '"GaGa's Workshop" a play on Santa's workshop, was built in perfect step with the holidays. Now- this image is perfectly "Over The Top' in everyway. This giant installation is a fun and loud icon, with the red costume covered in mini led lights, and mirrored pillars. This Display invades your presence and tackles almost all of your senses. You definitely won't forget this shopping experience. 

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GaGa's workshop entrance, Over the Top entrance, lots of lights and totally attraction you in. This is brand experience. 

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the is 'Over the Top' concept is done well here. For the holidays, Printemps department store did this pink & mauve scheme for the holidays, and while their window display is pretty - the real wow factor is the tie in from above. The totally gawk-worthy ovresized ornaments, some ribbon and hanging icicle lights. um hello easy to do, and so so so pretty. In another variation, this could be done to the interior of any store and pump up the wow factor. 

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Tiffany NY put on a serious show this holiday season, making their small window make waves with serious impact. This faux carosel was built into the exterior of the store. How is that for using what you've got? ( huge budgets help too)

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Great example of "over the top" A giant LED light ribbon wraps around the store front here in new york. While this may have a big budget, this concept is easy to be inspired by. Using extra wide ribbon ( professional merchandisers are masters at prop hunting ) and wrap around your store! or maybe even a window, add some technology - perhaps gobo's and LED lighting? 

Here, Uniqlo does the trend quite well, always using a heavy hand in the technological side of the displays. LED snowflakes and huge lit strands take over the store. Check out the pedestrians - people are gawking at the displays.  

A few Ideas... 

This idea is beautiful and a a great challenge from a prop perspective. Find the largest chandelier you can that is cheap as anything, get some faux peal beads and such ( great timing for post-Christmas sales ) and bedazzle your window display with this  big idea. Light that chandelier dead centre to your store, over a  main table or in the window for some 'oohs and aahs'

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Here is the most interesting thing about paper lanterns, they are relativly cheap and come in almost every solid colour, and many interesting patterns. The shapes can vary, but for the most part these guys are fairly inexpensive. For many privately owned stores and boutiques cost is huge when trying to make displays happen or create big impact for an event. Try this idea- center store, gather ballons of various sizes/shapes and suspend for the ceiling, or fixtures. For intrest pick up a few bold colours- maybe jade green and coral light those for pop art. 

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Or maybe you are looking for more of a boho, traveller look. Small lanterns like these in various colours and shapes and create walls of lanterns.... pretty dreamy!

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Greens, ivy or any kind of green crawling up a store exterior is always incredibly eye catching- especially if created almost overnight. What makes these installations so powerful aside from the pretty green abundance? The incredible awe of pedestrians not remembering the incredible green garden ( or umbrellas.. or stars... or ..) that was not here yesterday!

Just a few ideas from other merchandising campaigns, and a few ideas from displayologyToronto. Check out my Pinterest for more ideas. 

Need help?
email me at 

Monday, January 2, 2012

12 days of Display Trends: DIY

2012 here we come!!

There has been some merchandising trending happening online and from the Retail Conference in and I want to share with you some ideas and inspiring photos behind each window display trends. These trends are
discovered through lots of market research, trends display artists use, paint and wallpaper trends etc etc.

So, we just passed the 12 days of Christmas and are into a fresh new year! As I begin to plug away at display ideas for the next few months, I will be doing a post on each of the display & merchandising trends discussed during this year's retail expo.

OOOOKKK trend Numero Uno is.......


 DIY – This style of visual merchandising is a return to the basics. It is a very natural, do-it-yourself kind of look that appeals to the green movement and those who want a break from technology overload. Mostly this  style or trend of display usually lends itself in bespoke stores, boutiques and more feminine attributes. However- this style of display can be incredibly darling and exciting.

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These crocheted balloons are beautiful and etheral. used in a display, and I've seen a few so far these guys would be incredible with lights or without. Bonus! incredibly easy to do. check out my pinterest for the board with instructions.

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Clean + Modern. this shelving idea is create for crafty types. Use crates, packing bottoms and random wood slats to create this style of shelving. Would look great in various settings; however I would love to do this in a shoe store. Think candy box!
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Cute use for cups, or anything with handles. Super easy to do! Head to the link to find out how.
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Packing bottoms or slats make a great industrial showcase. These chairs are merchandised in a clever way, simple tidy apperance for a trade show- nice lighting and the info paperwork tucked around a leg. Brillant. 

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Usually we think of DIY styling, or merchandising we often think of pretty things and vintage furniture. Here- inexpensive materials and elbow grease make a gorgeous table. Now, Think of doing that in your store! Denim table anyone?

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I pinned this on my pinterest and someone commented how great these cardboard tubes would look like bamboo. Fabulous idea! Now- this is some serious WOW in a store. Be daring and bold!

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Cute and adorable paper umbrellas are styled around an archway here, using buttons as centre colour pops. Very bright and exciting, totally DIY and a must try for spring store displays.

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Ok- picture it, pink or red lighting inside a lantern made like this, Cut outs with hearts, or heck, leave the circles; satin ribbons and a simple painted backdrop = VALENTINES DISPLAY IDEAS. this could be a very sexy window... purrrow! 

display trend # 2 Over the Top! ..... tomorrow! 

Have fun thinking of Displays!
- need help? email me at