I Do Windows

Color Blocking

Posted in Color by Arcadia on June 5, 2011

Looking through Kelly’s blog got me thinking a lot about color.  One of the quickest ways to draw a customer’s eye to your work or into the store is through the use of color.  It’s a known fact that we as humans are attracted to color!  This is a skill I tell my students to take seriously.  Most art schools devote entire classes to just color alone, because the subject is too vast to cover in a day’s lesson plan, but yet the only way to really acquire the skill of being able to coordinate colors is by doing it.  In my opinion this is a skill you never master, you are continually learning and exploring the various uses of playing with colors.

There are a few standards we follow in merchandising, such as we hang clothes from light to dark, we put complimentary colors together, or we’ll stick with one color for a monochromatic look, but for the most part color rules are being broken when designing a display.  I can not encourage you enough to study up on this topic, not only in books, but by observing the world around you!

(image via: latest fashion trends)

(image via: We ♥ it)

(image via: Mixed Plate)

(image via: National Geographic)

(I’ve had this image in my computer for some time, I forgot where I found it)


Ted Baker

Posted in Store Study Assignment by Arcadia on February 24, 2011

This week’s store study assignment is by Lisa G.

Ted Baker, Union Square– San Francisco, CA

What does the store design tell you about the retailer?

Overall this store is not that big and they only carry a small selection of each size. The store is very inviting and there are a lot of bright colors throughout the store especially when focusing on the clothing. From the store’s layout and clothing selection I would say it caters to somebody with a more European taste for clothing and somebody who is a little bit edgy and willing to try a look that might be outside the box.

Describe the store’s target customer?

I would say the target customer is somebody in their 30s who can afford to dress nicely but yet still not spend an exuberant amount of money. Their target customer is definitely into fashion and wants to select clothing that is going to get them noticed.

Is the merchandise displayed in an accessible manner for the customer?

Overall I would say the merchandise is displayed in an acceptable manner but as I stated above the store is kind of small. With that said I think they have too much clothing in the store. They have a lot of racks throughout the store so it makes it hard to move around. I would eliminate some of the clothing racks.

Is it stocked pile or more minimalist?

The store is more minimalist and there is no stock piling. There are a few pieces laid out on a table for show but overall there are just clothing racks throughout the entire store.

Do the fixtures suit the store environment?

This store does not have a lot of fixtures b/c there isn’t that much space. The fixtures that they do have, do fit the environment. I like the large light structure in the middle of the store. ( see photo )

Does the lighting highlight the merchandise?

Yes, the lighting highlights the merchandise. The lighting in this store is very bright and enhances the clothing since a lot of the clothing is in bright colors. The lighting is especially beneficial in the dressing rooms. The dressing rooms at this store are huge and good lightning makes it that much easier for you to see what you are actually trying on.

How is color used in the store?

The clothing in this store is very colorful. They do not keep to the black, white and gray tones. The clothing that was out today consisted of reds, blues, bright pinks and a few black and white items.  I would say besides that they do not use that much coloring. The interior walls are a brown/ wood coloring.

Are the windows pleasing and drawing you into the store?

The windows are very simple since they are having a 60% off sale. When I look at the mannequins in the window I am not drawn to the store based upon what they are wearing but more so that there is a 60% off sale happening. One window display advertised their new collection and another window displayed let the public know about the sale. For the Sale window I like how the word Sale was written across the window. For the new collection window I think it is kind of boring and it wouldn’t grab my attention and draw me into the store.

If you could make changes in the store what would they be?

1. I would change their new collection window display to something exciting that is going to draw people into the store. First off they have 4 models and I know in class we learned to have an odd number of mannequins. Second, there is no exciting focus point in this window display. When I look at this window my eye goes directly to the center which is a pile of purses. I would maybe do some theme around their new clothing line. They should think about who is going to be purchasing their new collection and do a window that targets those customers.

2. I would remove some of the racks in the store and consider building shelving into the wall so they can fold some merchandise and place it on shelves. There is not much space to walk around in this store and all the racks on the floor make it even more difficult. I thought the men’s section was way too crowded.

Thanks Lisa for a great assignment!

(image above via: Lisa G.)


A question from one of my students

Posted in Fashion 49 by Arcadia on August 18, 2010


So I was offered a weeks internship for this store at the mall and still didn’t manage to land the job after my last interview (job interview #4 at this point). I don’t know what to do now! I definitely have the passion and the “eye” for merchandising … but every manager I have interviewed with thus far, has told me to get experience and come back. Where do I get the experience if everyone is looking to hire individuals who already have years of experience? Where would be a good place to find other internships (not limited to fashion)? At this point I’m willing to take a non-paying internship as long as it will serve as a stepping stone to get to where i want to be.   Any advice?


It’s so great to hear from you!

Are still working full-time/part-time at [student works at a large department store]?  If not, I would strongly suggest getting a retail job with a smaller chain store.  That’s how I  got my experience before I moved to Macy’s.  The smaller stores typically use their sales associates as the visual team, and in my experience very few wanted the responsibility which is how I ended up doing all the displays.

Another way to get your foot in the door is to wait for the Xmas hiring season (usually around October) when Display Departments higher extra help to decorate the store.  You don’t need a whole lot of experience to be a Xmas trimmer.

I would also look into working in other retail environments besides fashion.  Floral shops, party/event planners, interior designers, and book stores are excellent ways to create a book of displays and show that you are creative.

If I hear of anything I will keep you in mind.

Good luck,

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