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Window Dresser Extraordinaire

The latest news and trends from the wonderful world of visual merchandising. Jano Dawes and her team share their passion for VM.

The One Trend You Need To Know About This Year

“Bilbo left his place and went and stood on a chair under the illuminated tree. The light of the lanterns fell on his beaming face… They could all see him standing, waving one hand in the air, the other was in his trouser-pocket.”

The Party Tree was held in high regard by the characters of JRR Tolkein’s famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, and with good reason. Throughout time, trees have symbolized many things to different people such as beauty, family, stability, wisdom and growth. They contain many positive associations and often form a backdrop to significant moments in childhood and our later lives.

Following the environmentally conscious movement and examining how our products are sourced, made and produced – people are seeking a way to bring the outdoors in. This attempt to reconnect with nature has been seen in the trend for indoor plants, botanically inspired fashion and homewares designs and of course the Pantone Colour of the Year 2017, Greenery.

Our top tip for staying ahead of the rest this Spring Summer season is to think green. Harness the beauty of the great outdoors with your own nature-inspired visual merchandising seasonal campaign or launch. Why not create a beautiful garden party for gourmet presentations in your food precinct with long trestle tables and share plates styled under a beautiful life-sized tree.

Better yet, take this look from day to night for up late VIP shopping events and launch parties with fun festoon lighting or a glamorous chandelier and draped fabric and invite your guests to the party of a lifetime.

Take a leaf out of Christian Dior’s Spring Couture 2017 catwalk and create a Midsummer nights dream complete with soft grass underfoot and a beautiful wishing tree decorated with flowers, ribbons and lights overhead, framing a runway for your Spring/Summer fashion launch. However you style it, an oversized tree is sure to create atmosphere and add serious impact to make any occasion truly memorable!

Contact us today about our stunning 5 metre high banyan tree and how to use it to create a memorable event, display or activation – email to find out more!

Elements of Design for VM Part 8: Scale

Welcome to Part 8 of our design series where we will introduce you to the element ‘scale’.

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.

– Georgia O’Keeffe

About Scale:

Scale exists when we compare the size of one thing to another – with size of course referring to how big or small something is. If we compare something to a person we are using the ‘human scale’.

Size and scale will influence the mood or impact within a visual merchandising display. For example, the impact of an object is influenced by the relative size of the object within the space or the level of detail we can detect.


How we use scale:

As designers we can manipulate scale to create our desired statement, impact or mood. If objects are very large compared to a person they are referred to as ‘monumental’ in scale, or if very small as ‘miniature’. We may classify something as being ‘out-of-scale’ if it appears too big or small in the context or ‘appropriate scale’ if the object fits well within the overall composition.

1. This window display cleverly plays with scale using oversized wine corks to make a simple, yet effective composition.

2. A female mannequin is surrounded by small scale artist mannequins for a quirky take on a fashion display.

3. The oversize cotton reels and tape measures in this window create an eyecatching backdrop for the smaller products on show.

4. The designer has take the signature tassel on this perfume display and blown them up to a grand scale for a dramatic effect.

5. Cleverly playing with the size of paint tubes showcases these scarves in memorable fashion.

6. A fresh and youthful window is created with large blades of grass that juxtapose with the regular sized mannequins.

That’s it for the Elements of Design as we move onto the Design Principles! Stay tuned for our next instalment in our series Part 9: Balance.


Catch up on our previous instalments:

Part 1: Introduction to the Elements and Principles of Design for VM

Part 2: Elements of Design: Line

Part 3: Elements of Design: Shape/Form

Part 4: Elements of Design: Space

Part 5: Elements of Design: Light

Part 6: Elements of Design: Colour

Part 7: Elements of Design: Texture

Love to learn more about Visual Merchandising?

Check out our Visual Merchandising Training Courses.


A Kids Play Space Designed with the Community in Mind

A multifunctional children’s entertainment play space was created in a vacant tenancy for our client with a goal to inspire imaginative play for young families and drive visitors to the centre.

The design concept is inspired by local landmarks, with a focus on authentic natural timbers and fun pops of colour – creating a stylish, practical and safe facility for children to burn off energy and inspire creativity.

The front facade uses colourful signage and trailing greenery and white picket fencing which visitors can peek into to inspire a sense of discovery and reflect the architecture of Brisbane’s Western suburbs.

Once inside they will be greeted by a fresh atmosphere, with new internal walls featuring blue sky imagery and wall graphics of Mt Coot-tha the Walter Taylor bridge and the centre. Green tiered seating covered in foam blocks in the corner ties into the mountain theme and offers multiple uses as both seating for events or performances and as a climbing frame.

A large area of astro turf, underlaid with soft fall for safety, forms a central space for a variety of games and activities with bench seating along the side wall providing seating for parents and clear sight lines throughout the space.

A race track flows along the entire back area of the space with a design of the iconic Coronation Drive and runs alongside floor artwork of the Brisbane river. Children’s racing cars and aeroplanes in a classic vintage-style design ensure fun for children while maintaining a cool aesthetic.

A freestanding timber house forms a ‘shop’ zone with timber shopping trolleys and produce for children to interact with and pram parking for convenience.

A separate library zone in one corner also features the house motif as a bookshelf with a cute and colourful tipi and animal floor cushions creating a cozy nook for quiet play.

A cubby fort with a set of stairs and slide separates the library nook from the rest of the space and is a highlight of the play area.

The contemporary, fun atmosphere of the space was created with a goal to inspire young families to stay and play, increasing customer engagement and shopping time within the centre. Contact us at to find out more about how tenancy activations can increase foot traffic and engage your customers.

For more children’s activations, read all about our conversion of a vacant tenancy into an Enchanted Woodland Play Park below:

An Enchanted Woodland Play Park Comes to Life

Elements of Design for VM Part 7: Texture

In this instalment of our design series we introduce you to the element ‘texture’.

Texture is something we forget – it makes outfits look very expensive. You can do a monochromatic outfit, if you’re afraid of things that are more colorful and printed, and still create interest.

– Stacy London

About Texture:

Texture is the surface quality of an object. A rock may be rough and jagged. A piece of silk may be soft and smooth, and your desk may feel hard and smooth. Texture also refers to the illusion of roughness or smoothness in a picture.

How we use texture:

Texture can be physical (tactile) or visual. The texture is related to what material is used and can influence the mood of the composition.

Physical texture is the actual texture of an object. Designers may create real textures to give visual interest or evoke a feeling. An object may have a rough texture so that it will look like it came from nature or a smooth texture to make it look glamorous.

Visual texture is an extremely useful tool for a visual merchandiser in that it is made to look like a certain texture but in fact is the illusion of texture printed or drawn on a surface.

1. The warmth of this industrial timber texture interplays cleverly with the high end merchandise in this window.

2. Rich, handmade textures of the coloured cotton and the contorting, organic texture of the gourds creates a warm and inviting window display.

3. This delicate lace patchwork becomes ethereal rather than kitsch when used en masse.

4. The smooth, reflective surface of the silver balls makes this window display feel contemporary and lighter than air.

5. The rich velvet texture contrasts with the glossy egg props for a high end, luxurious atmosphere.

6. Simple scrunched paper creates interest when used to create a textural backdrop in this window.

Coming up next in Part 8 of our design series we will be learning all about ‘scale’ – stay tuned!

Catch up on our previous instalments:

Part 1: Introduction to the Elements and Principles of Design for VM

Part 2: Elements of Design: Line

Part 3: Elements of Design: Shape/Form

Part 4: Elements of Design: Space

Part 5: Elements of Design: Light

Part 6: Elements of Design: Colour

Love to learn more about Visual Merchandising?

Check out our Visual Merchandising Training Courses.

Elements of Design for VM Part 6: Colour

Part 6 of our skill building series will introduce you to the design element ‘colour’ and examine hot to use it when visual merchandising.

Colour is uncontainable. It effortlessly reveals the limits of language and evades our best attempts to impose a rational order on it. To work with colour is to become acutely aware of the insufficiency of language and theory – which is both disturbing and pleasurable.

– David Batchelor

About Colour:

Colour is intrinsically linked to light, with colour appearance and impact often affected by lighting conditions. Most people see the world in terms of colour but we can create designs in black and white as well as the colour spectrum. Colour symbolism varies with perception, culture and location. The colour red for example can at once symbolise passion, danger, anger, love, sex, power, cheap, Valentine’s , Christmas, Patriotism or Sale.

They key aspects of colour are:

Hue – referring to the colour name eg. red, blue, orange.

Value – referring to how light or dark the colour is

Chroma/intensity – referring to the purity eg. saturated or dull.


A Color Wheel is a tool used to organize color. It is made up of:

  • Primary Colors – Red, Yellow, and Blue. These colors cannot be created by mixing others.
  • Secondary Colors – Orange, Violet, and Green. Created by mixing two primary colors.
  • Intermediate Colors – Red Orange, Yellow Green, Blue Violet. Mixing a primary with a secondary creates these colors.

How we use Colour:

Colour is very important in creating the mood or emotional impact of an item or space. Colour choices can change the appearance of surrounding colours or be affected by their own context. Visual merchandisers will often choose a particular colour palette to create a certain atmosphere in a display or provoke an emotional response from viewers.

Warm colors are on one section of the color wheel and give the feeling of warmth eg. red, orange and yellow.

Cool colors are on the other side of the color wheel from the warm colors and create a feeling of coolness. eg. blue, violet and green.

Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. eg. red, red orange, and orange. When used together they reinforce each other and create a feeling of harmony.

Complementary colours are opposite each other on the color wheel. eg. red and green. When placed next to each other they bring out the intensity of each other. They are usually strong, demanding and vibrant and will create ‘motion’ where there is none. Reducing the intensity will soften this effect eg. pink and mint green.

Monochromatic is one color used with different values and intensity. eg. pale blue, blue and navy. This can create a restful, easy to accept setting for merchandise.

Neutral colours (black, white, beige and brown) make good backgrounds for products because they don’t compete with what’s on display. White or beige tones can appear either contemporary and fresh or bland and sterile depending on how they are used. Black and white may be neutral when used separately but used together they create a strong statement.

1. An analogous colour palette of pink, red, maroon, purple and blue create a feeling of harmony in this fashion store window.

2. Complementary colours of blue and orange demand attention when combined.

3. A neutral grey background makes the white fabric of the dress appear brighter, whilst the green colour of the  cactus props brings out the intensity of the ruby red coloured accessories

4. A monochromatic colour palette of yellows in this display unifies the various objects whilst the vibrant hue chosen creates a feeling of sunshine and optimism.

5. The monochromatic green backdrop and accessories add a gentle, feminine freshness to the strong impact of the contrasting black and white colours of the clothing in this window display.

6. This neutral colour palette creates a luxurious and calming effect in the window of this beauty store whilst the gold adds a touch of luxury.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our series, Part 7: Texture.

Catch up on our previous instalments:

Part 1: Introduction to the Elements and Principles of Design for VM

Part 2: Elements of Design: Line

Part 3: Elements of Design: Shape/Form

Part 4: Elements of Design: Space

Part 5: Elements of Design: Light

Love to learn more about Visual Merchandising?

Check out our Visual Merchandising Training Courses.