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

Elements of Design for VM Part 5: Light

In our previous posts we have discussed line, shape/form, and spaced; Part 5 focuses on the ever important light as an element of design.

In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.

– Francis Bacon

About Light:

Light is essential to any visual merchandising composition as it is the means by which we can see our surrounding environment. The three main types of lighting we focus on in visual merchandising are:

Ambient light – the general illumination the subject. It is indirect and soft, reducing contrast and shadows and is achieved through natural and artificial light sources, as well as reflection from surfaces.

Task light – illuminates a small, specific area.

Accent light – used to add highlight, drama and focus. This includes directional lighting or floor lighting.


How we use Light:

The feeling of a design can be completely transformed by altering the intensity, placement and colour of light which makes it a very powerful tool. And wherever there is light there are of course shadows which can be a valuable tool in the visual merchandisers creative toolbox.

When creating a visual merchandising display designers must consider:

Glare – can be either direct, coming straight from a light source, or reflected. Glare should be minimised wherever possible.

Contrast – a difference in illumination level between two points. We need contrast to distinguish one thing from another. Too much contrast can limit our ability to see fine detail and cause eye fatigue.

Uniformity – referring to the overall space. Too uniform is not usually desirable; this can create a bland space without interest and highlight.

Colour – describes how the colour of a light source affects the colour of surrounding objects.

1. The designer has used washes of bright colour in a jewel tone palette of cool turquoise, lapis, emerald and amethyst to add a contemporary, high end feel to this window display.

2. A strong accent light heightens the tension and drama of this visual merchandising display.

3. Washes of red ambient lighting combine with the neon light feature in this window create a unique and memorable Christmas composition.

4. Warm white lighting recessed into the risers in this window creates an inviting mood.

5. Light fittings are the hero of this window but the ambient white light keeps the overall look soft.

6. The shadows created by the directional lighting are as much a part of the composition as the shoes and add visual interest to this display.

Stay tuned for Part 6 of our series where we will discuss the element ‘Colour’.

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

Love to learn more about Visual Merchandising?

Check out our Visual Merchandising Training Courses.






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