Winning Window Designs

by Meaghan Brophy

Window DisplaysSpring is upon us; shoppers are emerging from their homes and into town. Fresh air, a fresh season, and of course some fresh merchandising. Now is the perfect time to do some spring-cleaning on your window displays. Having an eye-catching storefront is crucial for attracting customers. It is just as important to change the display every 4-6 weeks so that it continues to draw attention. Follow these guidelines to create an effective, visually impacting window presentation.

Determine Street Eye Level

The first thing you want to determine is where exactly the eye level of your viewer falls on the window. This may be different than your eye level from inside the store. The inside of your store may be higher up than the sidewalk, or maybe the road outside is higher up than your store entrance. Whatever the case may be, figure out what the eye level is for your target viewers by going outside, looking at your window from where your potential customers would see it, and then mark with some tape where that visual plane is. You will want to keep this new base level in mind going forward.

Be Specific with your Message

Next, determine what story or message you want to convey. The more specific you can get with the story, the easier it will be from this point on. For example, instead of a “spring” theme, you could do a spring break destination story, an Easter egg hunt, celebrating Earth Day, or a kickoff to wedding season. If there is a specific product or line you are looking to showcase, it is possible to build a story around that, too. You will want to figure out what you are saying, and what merchandise will convey that message.

Use Strategic Colors

Window DisplaysAfter you determine what you want to say, figure out which colors will help you express it best. If there are specific colors in your store’s logo that are used throughout the store, you may want to have that be your focal color to help build brand identity and consistency. Otherwise, there are a few different ways we can choose purposeful colors. First of all, if your target viewers are going to be driving by instead of walking, we want to use bold colors over larger plains so that they stand out and are viewable even to those in moving vehicles. If most of your target audience is foot-traffic, you can play more with softer colors and smaller areas. From there, let’s consider what feeling or emotion you are trying to elicit, and apply some basic color psychology and theory to determine what would work best for your window. Blue creates a sense of trust, calm, and intelligence. Orange ignites a sense of vitality, enthusiasm, and creativity. Red embodies warmth, passion, and energy. Yellow creates excitement and joy. Purple elicits luxury, sophistication, and royalty. Warmers colors such as red, yellow, and orange are stimulating and play to our emotions. Cool colors such as blue, purple, and green are soothing and play to customer’s intellects. Pick which feel would fit your display best, and choose colors with either the matching warm or cool undertones.

Create Depth

Once you have your message, your products, and your color scheme we want to set them up in a visually dynamic way. This means various heights, directions, and depths. Creating this visual interest will help keep the customer’s eyes moving around your display and hold their attention. If you are not sure where to start, the rule of three is a good staple to fall back on. Grouping items in threes, especially at various heights, creates visual movement because there is no stagnant point for the viewer’s eyes to rest. Displays that are symmetrical and balance, allow the customer to visually digest the image as a whole. Displays that are asymmetrical, or abnormal, force the customer to look at each individual item in order to fully take in the display. Items grouped in threes are also easier to recall, which is why large number, and numbers that need to be memorized, such as social security and phone numbers, are grouped in threes. Use the rule of three as a guide for setting up your display, so viewers are likely to spend more time looking at each aspect, and more likely to remember the individual items.

Utilize Lighting

A dynamic, appealing display can make a big difference in drawing new attention and customers into your store. However, for this to happen the window has to be seen. It seems simple, but proper lighting is often overlooked. Depending on your setup, it’s important that the display lighting and regular store lighting are separated enough to stand out from each other. If you can’t make the lighting pop, simple backdrops are an easy solution for separating the window display from the store.

Track lighting is a simple yet effective option. It may also be worthwhile to invest in a spotlight or two that you can use to showcase specific products. Habit may be to turn the lights off at closing, but depending on the traffic by your store leaving the track and or spot lighting on overnight could help draw extra attention. If no other stores around you are drawing attention to their windows at night, all the more attention your store will be getting. Likewise, if other stores do have nighttime display lighting, you don’t want to be left out.

Steer Clear of Clutter

Above all else; when crafting your window display remember that less is more. It is easy to want to showcase all of your products at once, but this will only overwhelm, and likely turn away the onlookers. Pick a few products, a few design elements, a simple color scheme, and stick to it. Fewer products mean more attention to each item, which will ultimately be more effective in persuading potential buyers. Switching up your display at least every 4-6 weeks gives you plenty of opportunity to showcase different timely items.