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Principles of Design for VM Part 13: Repetition

Welcome to Part 13 of our Elements and Principles of Design for Visual Merchandising series where we will discuss the design principle ‘Repetition’. Repetition is not repetition. The same action makes you feel something completely different by the end. – Pina Bausch About Repetition: Something that occurs more than once is said to be repeated. In design, repetition refers to the use of elements more than once which can often create visual or tactile patterns or textures. How we use Repetition: Repetition creates visual continuity and by providing ‘maximum sameness/minimum difference’ can simplify a composition. It also gives structure due to the consistency of the component. In association, variation is introduced by changing a component whether by quantity or size, position of shape to create focus.   1. The gradiation of the repeated arrows from a central point creates a strong visual focal point in this window display. 2. The repeated colour swatches, paint tins and handbags in alternating colours, strengthens this composition. 3. The repetition of the humble post it note to form an image in this backdrop unifies this fashion display by mirroring the colours and geometric patterns of the garments. 4. The repeated artist’s mannequin in a variety of sizes is a unique way to visually display a beauty product to create interest. 5. The repetition of these hanging jeans creates a strong masculine look where one pair hanging on its own would fall flat. 6. Repeating this oversize life preserver and mannequin in the window amplifies the effect of the first to catch the attention of passersby.   Coming up is the 14th and final part of our Elements...

Dressed for the Holidays

Retailers are always looking for a way to set themselves apart at Christmas time – the biggest shopping date on the calendar. We love nothing better than a display where creativity has had chance to run wild and create a glorious display to entice and inspire. Here we have gathered together our favourite collection of displays which take the humble dress form or mannequin and turned them into something truly magical.   These designers have created a festive fairytale using traditional evergreen foliage to create a dress for these Christmas displays using accents such as ribbons, berries and sparklng foliage in contrasting colours of red, gold and silver. Some designers get a little more quirky with their interpretations of the “Christmas dress” engulfing the mannequin for a humorous and eye catching statement. These mannequins are business up top and party down below with the skirt forming a backdrop for displays of products or festive Christmas stories. We love windows where the visual merchandiser has repurposed an everyday household item and turned it into a display that is much, much more than the sum of its parts like these windows from Anthropologie which use coat hangers and spools to create gorgeous gowns. A contemporary reinterpretation of this idea which can work all year round is to use fresh or faux greenery and flowers to create the ‘garments’ – a window like this is sure to stop anyone who passes by in their tracks. Last but certainly not least, what could be more fun for the holiday season than taking the humble fairy light and turning it into something truly memorable!...

Principles of Design for VM Part 12: Harmony/Unity

Welcome to Part 12 of our Elements and Principles of Design for Visual Merchandising series where we will discuss the design principle ‘Harmony or Unity’. There’s design, and there’s art. Good design is total harmony. There’s no better designer than nature – if you look at a branch or a leaf, it’s perfect. It’s all function. Art is different. It’s about emotion. It’s about suffering and beauty – but mostly suffering! – Diane von Furstenberg About Harmony/Unity: Harmony is defined as a consistent, orderly or pleasurable arrangement of parts. It is acheived when all the elements of a design work well together and the outcome is a pleasing visual agreement between the parts. Colour harmony for example, is the outcome of a colour combination that is balanced rather than garish. Similarly, unity is a key goal for the designer and is achieved when all of the disparate aspects are integrated into a cohesive whole. A balance between unity and variety must be established otherwise the composition may become bland or static, thus not sparking interest in the viewer. How we use Harmony/Unity: To achieve a satisfying relationship between all elements in the design the number of elements can be limited, or grouped, overlapped, framed, or enclosed in someway. Relating the design elements to the the idea being expressed reinforces the principal of harmony/unity. For example a window trying to create an ‘active’ emotion or feeling for a product would work better with a dominant direction, course, rough texture, angular lines etc. Likewise, a window trying to display a ‘passive’ emotion or product would benefit from horizontal lines, soft texture and less tonal contrast....

5 Tips for Developing Your VM Style

The best visual merchandising displays are the ones that clearly reflect individual styles and tastes. Looking at a beautiful display should inspire us all to want to go and create spaces, outfits, etc that show off our own personalities – but sometimes that is easier said than done. If you’re feeling stuck or just getting started, here are some tips to help you be mindful about developing your own unique style. Seek Inspiration Spending time online is a great way to see what is out there and the benefit of being online is that you get a glimpse at displays from all over the world. Don’t just look at an image, but decide what you like and don’t like about a display. Remember not to imitate a display that you like, it is much more interesting to seek inspiration from various sources to build your own vision. Collect images that appear to you in a mood board or folder. As you look back at you collection you will begin to see unifying themes and have a better understanding of your likes and dislikes. Get personal Take a day to go through your favourite personal belongings – it could be items that you have collected over time like photographs, books, rocks, bowls etc. Think about things you love whether it be food, cultures, colours, movies and take time to think about ways you can incorporate the thing that you love and have a special meaning into a display that is visually appealing. Some of the best visual merchandising displays have that personal touch. Mix and match A refreshing movement in...

Principles of Design for VM Part 11: Contrast

Welcome to the latest instalment, Part 11 of our Elements and Principles of Design for Visual Merchandising series where we will introduce you to the design principle ‘Contrast’. There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast. – Charles Dickens About Contrast: Contrast relies on a relationship to exist. It occurs when two things are different in regard to a common principle or aspect such as size, colour, or length. The degree of contrast can vary from subtle differences to extreme differences. The resultant level of contrast will affect how the thing appears. In an overall composition, one aspect may be contrasted while others are not. How we use Contrast: When differences attain their maximum degree, we speak of diametrical or polar contrasts eg. large-small, white-black, cold-hot. High levels of contrast may appear aggressive, dynamic, energetic, bold, forthright or attention grabbing. Low level may have the opposite effect appearing more subdued, static or even bland although they may also be perceived as soothing or peaceful. The level of contrast that is appropriate depends on the desired effect and impact. 1. This window display cleverly uses a contrast of colours with the background of white purses making the colourful purses in front take centre stage. 2. This jewelry display also uses a white background to contrast with pops of colour, but the inclusion of the soft feathers adds an additional contrast of textures with the glossy jewels. 3. The array of bright colours and clashing patterns in this window actually creates the reverse effect of low contrast with the elements balancing each other rather than contrasting. 4. The...