The career in the field of window display
I have always loved to draw and make things from different materials. I became interested in window displays whilst at university, studying Fashion Design. Initially I did some freelance work creating illustrations and props for some retail stores and showrooms, then partnered up with Xavier to work on bigger projects & StudioXAG was born. Eight years later we are now a full-time team of 18 working across design and production of window displays and pop-up shops for many global brands.
This industry attracts people from across the creative fields, the design team at StudioXAG are a mix of graphic designers, interior architects & spatial designers. To work in our design studio a creative design degree is essential, but not one specifically from this field. An interest in retail and a good eye along with a knack for visual storytelling is of utmost importance. Many of our clients don’t have design training. Talent & imagination will take you a long way in this field.
Points to consider in the process of designing a window display
There are many practical considerations which will affect the design, from the budget, to the access route into the window, to the time frame of the installation and how to best showcase the product. For example, there is an art to showcase a small product in a large window space, this needs to be framed in such a way that the product doesn’t get lost in its surroundings, but rather is the hero of the piece and holds the focus of the display. StudioXAG aim to create installations that will stop the passer-by in their tracks. From animated kinetic elements, to flashing neon lights, there are many techniques we use to make a window installation really stand out. That being said, creating an impactful display need not be complicated, sometimes the simplest schemes are the most effective. The use of one colour to saturate an entire space, the use of a single object repeated multiple times in one display, or one single object scaled up to gargantuan proportions can have real stopping power and allow a brand to stand out from its competitors. Above all the
consumer should understand the message the brand is trying to communicate.
Choosing a concept before designing a window display
Above all the window display must embody the brands personality. A set of complex, intangible values that come together to form the specific standpoint of each brand. These qualities need to be expressed in a combination of three dimensional shapes, colours and materials in a way that the viewer intuitively understands. Getting this right means understanding the brands DNA and its heritage, so if we don’t already have this information this is the first point of research, so we can be in the right mind-set. We also need to understand what the brand is trying to communicate at that very moment in time. Each window display typically has an additional commercial purpose, to communicate a new product launch, a new collection, campaign or mood, or a seasonal message suitable for the time of year. Once we have this, and information on all the practical considerations of window access, budget etc., we set about creating mood boards & working up multiple creative concepts which showcase different approaches to answering the clients brief. The different designs should all represent the brand aesthetic & also bring to life the specific story that they wish to tell in a creative & eye-catching way. The client will then usually choose one direction which resonates the most with them and we will creatively expand on this.
Window displays in the future
Brands now implement a 360° approach, ensuring the online presence communicates the same message as the retail stores, which is definitely having an impact on window installations. In an increasingly digital world, physical displays can really enhance a brands message. Window displays and retail installations are more than ever calling for ‘shareable moments’ that the consumer can experience and then share with their own online community, spreading awareness of the brand, or the message. With the rise of online shopping retail stores need to offer the shopper something different, a multi-sensory experience that surprises and delights the consumer and cannot be accessed or replicated through a screen. There is still a big creative opportunity to create those show stopping installations on the shopping streets of the world.