Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Materials for visual merchandising and store design

Materials used in visual merchandising

Materials for the  stores, window-dressing, window display, 
  Point of purchase POP,  in visual merchandising.                                                                                                 

It depends on the visual merchandisers which materials they want to use. As we know there are three types of arrangement/display,
1.  Permanent display
2. Semi permanent Displays and
3. Temporary displays.
Based on these three displays we start selecting materials, In a store it might happens that some of the display or props & fixtures are permanent and few are temporary or semi temporary.
 Here I would like to define how they choose materials, what are the key factors or you can say what are the criteria they follow to select materials for window dressing and for entire store?
1.    Brand image/identity (among the consumer)
Brand image/brand-positioning/brand-identity is the prime factor which is to be considered before selecting materials for the window display/dressing or for the entire store (store front or focal area, floor  materials for the Props & Fixtureetc)  for an example Ad-hardy is a brand for street look, they use lots of graphics and psychedelic colors on the garment. They have poisoned their brand for up class. So while a visual merchandiser or a store designer select materials for ad-hardy store they must select tough and metallic look. You can easily find a modified bike with chain rings, tires ..etc
2.    Merchandise mix they offer.
What all things the retailer sells, if a brand selling fashion and lifestyle product through outlet ( dress, Tunic top, harem pant, casual topsthese are the merchandise mix of the brand) so the product also plays a very important roles in materials to be used for the store design.
3.    Theme and Season (festive/spring/summer)
One thing Visual merchandiser always keep in mind and i.e. “theme” some merchant term it story. And few Indian visual merchandisers simply say it season. But all are little different from each other. Let’s not go to the deep meaning we will discuss these themes story and season in separate chapter.
Here I would like to give an overview about the themes and season in visual merchandising. What are the most sought after themes for VM and store designs? Below are the themes and seasons:-
Festive season- in Indian context holi/diwali/dasahra(durga puja),  western – Halloween, carnival, ice bucket challenge ..etc
Season – summer, spring summer, winter, and autumn winter
Event based – Gandhi (2 Oct) Teachers day, valentine..etc.
4.    Geographical location and availability of the certain materials
Availability of materials is directly proportional to the budget. Merchandisers choose material after studying environmental factors of that particular area. However for the big and international brand/retailers these things are not very important. They can invest much on maintenance to unified similarity. For an example if a brand is going to launch stores in Nort-East states of India they would prefer to choose material like cane, bamboo etc. there is a very low chance that they will go for concrete materials (it is expensive and difficult to maintain.)
5.    Budget
Generally when new concept comes in a creative team of visual merchandiser, they show the concept to their senior/ financing & approving authorities (of that organization). They ask for the fund and authority sanctions certain amount. To implement that concept in all stores they struggle hard ( to accomplish the goal in defined budget).  For big and international brand/retailers Budget is not a big constrain.

Materials for storefront
After going through above mentioned key we decide materials for each part of the store.
  wood will give a more elegant look to your business. However,  for a more urban feel, metal may fit . Continue this theme inside the building with contemporary urban touches, such as exposed pipes on the ceiling.


A place where sales are made. On a macro-level, a point of purchase may be a mall, market or city. On a micro-level, retailers consider a point of purchase to be the area surrounding the counter where customers pay. Also known as "point of sale". 
Three types of displays
  Temporary displays are designed for short-term use (for 4-8 weeks).
  Materials generally include: cardboard, printed sheets, chipboard, and plastic.


  Semi-permanent displays are usually constructed out of more durable materials and have a lifespan of 12-52 weeks or more.
  Semi Permanent Display uses some of the same materials, but usually with paperboard and containerboard.

  Permanent Displays are by far the most complex and expensive displays to design, and is the most profitable display
Permanent Displays are produced using strong and rigid materials such as wood, metal, acrylic, wire

1. Wood
Wood  is Extremely common, Easily available,Durable, May be expensive or cheap
  It has attractive decorative properties with or without painting.

2. MDF = Medium Density Fiberboard
  Produced from the thinning of sustainable softwood forests well suited to carcasses.
  Light in weight
  Reasonably strong

  Most plastics are relatively cheap
   Do not require finishing.
However if exposed to sunlight they may degrade over time and translucency will be

  Acrylic is a plastic when polished offers a gloss finish.
  It can be crystal clear or pigmented in a wide variety of colors.
  Easy to machine
  cheap and reasonably strong but is also brittle and can be scratched.
  It can be bonded with adhesives.

  Styrene sheet comes with a gloss side and a matt side and it cannot be polished.
  Styrene is cheap
  comes in multiple colors
  It is less brittle than acrylic and more flexible.

PETG = Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol
  It is a clear sheet and has excellent transparency.
  It is easy to thermoform.
  It is not brittle.
  Resistant to chemicals such as cleaning materials.

  Polycarbonate is a very strong stiff and hard material that can be molded, bent, and machined.
  It is relatively expensive.

Metals are used for some permanent POP applications where strength and durability are important. Metal are being used in varity of props and fixtures.

Note- The photographs used in this blog post are not owned by the authorRanjeet Rana), and it is not for commercial use. These blogs are for educational purpose only, the students of Fashion Design, Retail Management, Fashion communication, Knitwear Design, Fashion Technology and Accessory Design department of the different fashion designing institutes are  the beneficiaries.