Skip to main content

Using design principles to make a statement in retail windows

Susan Negley
Stand on the side walk outside of some retail flooring stores and look at the windows. What do you see? Unfortunately, sometimes you see the backs of flooring displays or maybe static branding and sale signage. Retail visual design experts say that windows need to drive traffic to the store, draw the consumer in and make passersby think of you when they need new flooring.  Five important design tools to make people stop or remember your store are color, angles, movement simplicity/repetition and imagination.
This post was prompted by two events. On a recent road trip I passed several unmemorable buildings that turned out to be flooring stores. I remember reasoning at the time that maybe there was only one flooring store in town and this retailer felt he didn't need to make a statement. Then I read a fabulous article on the Surfaces blog site, Five Powerful Display Tools by Linda Cahan.  Linda is a retail visual design consultant who will speak at Surfaces and she gives a great overview of how important it is to incorporate those five important design tools: color, angles, movement, simplicity/repetition and imagination, into store windows and signage. I highly recommend her article which reminded me of the recent road trip and inspired me to look for some good examples of great and no so great windows.

Here's an example of a window that, while colorful, is lacking a branding message. This example from the New Sales Ideas website illustrates how a cluttered window filled with sales signage can be confusing and forgettable. The message this conveys is mostly about their lack of imagination and design expertise. If you are in a fashion based industry like flooring covering, that might not be the best message to convey. I have to say that the stores I saw on the road trip didn't even have color in the windows to draw attention; one had their windows totally covered.

Cluttered signage in the window is uninspiring
In contrast, would you walk past the store window below without getting the message that they are passionate about cakes!  This example from I Do Windows leaves no doubt that this store sells cakes and they seem to have some pretty inspiring ideas. I'd remember to visit these people when I needed a fabulous creation, wouldn't you?

Imagination, repetition, color - a fabulous and clear message to the consumer

I know that store owners feel they have no choice but to cover windows in order to make the most of the interior showroom. I've seen backs of displays, windows painted black and even plywood covering some flooring store windows. I confess to doing it myself many years ago but it wasn't the best use of that space then and it sure isn't now.

I hope this prompts you to take a critical look at the message your windows and the outside of your store is sending to the consumer.  I'm not an expert on the subject, but I do know that advertising is expensive and uninspiring windows seem to be a lost opportunity. I'd love to see some examples of your inspiring window displays and signage.


Susan Negley is Director of Communications for the Floor Covering Institute


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Concrete Moisture Leading to Flooring Failures - Is this an Epidemic?

Sheet vinyl  lifting off concrete substrates that looks like blistered skin from a burn, wood flooring turning up at the edges, carpet tiles emitting foul odors from reactions with “wet” slabs.  All of these failures in floor covering occur daily around the country plaguing flooring contractors and end users.  Is this a flooring conspiracy or something more sinister?  Well, it’s not a conspiracy, nothing so colorful as that, and it’s not sinister unless you consider that moisture lurking in the substrates is skulking around waiting to pounce. What are the reasons for this outbreak of flooring failures?  Have adhesives changed?  Is flooring material different?  Hasn’t concrete been the same for years?  Why is this all happening now? Adhesives have changed from when solvent carriers were used but adhesives are actually better now.  Flooring products have changed with the onslaught of non-permeable backings which can trap moisture vapor emissions coming from concrete.  Concrete hasn’t

Intelligent merchandising in the floor covering showroom

Donato Pompo In a ceramic tile and stone showroom the two biggest challenges for customers are  visualizing how the tile or combination of tiles will look installed in the home and determining which tiles are suitable for their intended application. Figuring out how to address these two challenges should be a priority for every showroom. Along with that, conveying the features, benefits and limitations of the products is the next challenge. And perhaps the most important piece of the showroom puzzle, is to train sales people so they are knowledgeable and competent showroom consultants (I wrote about this previously on the blog in, How Training and E-learning Can Improve ROI ).   Years ago, when I was an importer and distributor with several showrooms I coined the term Intelligent Merchandising to represent the approach we developed to help our customers make selections and our sales people more effective in assisting our customers during the selection process. The challeng

Will Chinese Drywall VOC Issue Affect Flooring?

Chinese drywall shares commonalities with flooring, particularly as it relates to VOCs. If you’re new to the flooring industry you may be surprised to learn that last decade it was necessary for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to anoint carpet as a safe product . The proclamation was due to flawed tests perpetrated against the carpet industry by Anderson Laboratories . But the issue isn’t dead if you search the Internet. There are still sites that support Anderson Labs. Even a "green" industry site writes “ A rash of alleged health problems with carpet have yet to be properly explained, suggesting that all carpets, and especially the less expensive synthetics, should be used with great caution .” The drywall industry is going through a similar experience. Two major differences: 1. They’ve pinpointed it to some drywall made in China. 2. It’s true and real, and no one is suggested it isn’t destroying homes and p