University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Visual Merchandising"

What is a Visual Merchandiser & Why Should I Care?

Visual merchandising is one of those design disciplines that benefit both retailers AND fashion designers, alike. Whether you have your own brand and are lucky enough to afford your own retail store, OR you’re a brand who plans on selling to retail stores, our 9-part visual merchandising series provides valuable information to help you succeed. Visual merchandising is the very plan to use to communicate to the customer what the brand is all about.

Fashion designers benefit from the study of visual merchandising because it helps them understand the mind of the retailer, especially as the retailer plans their retail open-to-buy for a particular season. This blog post will provide you with a taste of what you’ll learn by viewing our 9-part visual merchandising series taught by Marcie Cooperman (author of Color: How to Use It) and who has been teaching this topic at UoF and at Parsons for years. Sit back and enjoy… get the popcorn popping!

University of Fashion's 9-part Visual Merchandising series poster frames University of Fashion’s 9-part Visual Merchandising video series (Photo images: University of Fashion videos) 

The Psychology of Visual Merchandising

So, it all starts outside the store, with the entrance and store windows. You’re walking by, and suddenly you see a terrific display window that makes you stop and look.  What did the trick?

Maybe it was the perfect dress or coat that you’d been thinking you need to find. Or… maybe it was the colors in the display, or something fun about it.  Or maybe, it was even a sale sign.  If it made you decide to go inside, that’s a successful display window.Example of colorful store window

Examples of colorful & eye-catching store windows (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

And, when we walk into a store, we usually know within about three seconds whether we want to stay there and shop, or whether we just want to turn and leave. We know right away whether we are going to find something we like, or whether it’s going to be a waste of time.  It’s all about the store’s interior design. Does it look organized, so that we might feel confident about moving around easily without asking for help?  Or is it a messy store where we are not clear on how to find things?

Example of a messy store display

Example of a messy & uninviting in-store display (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

In retail visual merchandising, there are two essential parts of the store interior to think about:  merchandising presentation and visual merchandising.  Although they work together, they are actually two different activities. To keep the store fresh, both elements should be updated frequently. That encourages customers to come back to the store often to see what’s new.

Example of an interesting store display Example of an interesting, in-store thematic merchandising presentation and visual display (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

The Planogram

In-store visual merchandising begins with the planogram. The planogram is a detailed set of drawings of a store with two main goals:  to plan the use of the space, and to make decisions on where to place all the merchandise.a planogram image

Example of a store planogram (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

 

Using Color & Texture plus Graphics & Signage in Visual Merchandising

For starters, and to really understand the power of color, view our lessons entitled: Color Relationships and Color Theory-The Basics.

Color Relationships and Color Theory Lessons

Color and texture are critical tools to use in visual merchandising, because when you put wonderful colors and textures together in a display, it sends customers the feeling that this brand is organized and beautiful. That makes the customer feel positive about the brand and makes her want to shop there.

 Visual merchandisers like to use textures that contrast with the merchandise, because they highlight the qualities of the products, and help customers see them.

Image of good use of color and texture

The successful use of color and texture in store windows. (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

Using Line, Shape & Balance in Visual Merchandising

Lines and shapes are the basic building blocks that visual merchandisers use in putting together a merchandising display. We see them on tabletop displays, on walls, and in display windows.  Lines and shapes can be created by clothing on mannequins and on garments hanging on racks or walls, and they can even come from the shelves and the store furniture.

Balance means that every line and shape of the display works to support the whole display, and every part is integral to the entire display. We must be able to look around the entire display, and all the lines will keep leading our eye back to the central focal point.

Examples of Line $ Shape

The use of line and shape in visual merchandising (Photo excerpt: University of Fashion video)

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little snippet of what you’ll learn as you make your way through our visual merchandising series. With over 5 hours-worth of instruction, and hundreds of store display images, you are sure to be inspired and enlightened on the role of the visual merchandiser. Heck, it may even encourage you to want to pursue it as a career!

Do you know what’s the biggest selling color in fashion, and one that you’ll almost never see an entire store window devoted to and why?

 

 

 

Our SECOND Visual Merchandising lesson has launched!


(UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

Visual merchandising is one of those design disciplines that benefit both retailers AND fashion designers alike. How do we know? Well, with more than 13+ years in the fashion education biz under our belt, we’ve learned a thing or two from our experts. From retailers we learned that knowing more about the design process is an asset, especially when it comes to developing product for their stores. Designers have shared with us how they’d like to know more about retailing, especially as it pertains to store planning and merchandising.

This is why we’ve been hard at work creating our new 9-part visual merchandising series. Whether you’ve created your own brand and are lucky enough to afford your own retail store OR you are a brand who plans on selling to retail stores, our new visual merchandising lessons will provide valuable information to help you succeed.

 

DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S THE BIGGEST SELLING COLOR IN FASHION TODAY?

Achromatic hues value scale (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

It’s fascinating. There’s definitely a disconnect between the color that people say they like the best… versus what they actually buy. People don’t usually say their favorite color is black, but research shows that although consumers might say they like red and purple, truth is, they mostly buy black, gray, and white. And this is true for both womenswear and menswear. Our lesson contains more in-depth data about which colors command the most market share, and they aren’t necessarily what you might think!

 

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT COLOR THEORY?

Color wheel & color relationships (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

In our newest visual merchandising lesson, Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising, instructor Marcie Cooperman starts out by teaching you how to describe color, using the concepts of color theory and the three elements of color:  hue, value, and intensity. Those three elements are the way we describe colors. Click here to learn more about Marcie and her stellar credentials:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/marcie-cooperman/

And, if you haven’t viewed Marcie’s first lesson, Introduction to Visual Merchandising, check it out here: https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/introduction-to-visual-merchandising/

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH COLOR RELATIONSHIPS?

Example of a complementary color merchandise display (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

The lesson moves on to color relationships on the color wheel. Color relationships can guide you in putting colors together to create excitement and organization in the retail setting, both for the garments in the store, as well as the interior design of the store itself.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS COLOR INTENSITY IN STORE DISPLAY?

Example of alternating intense color with non-intense color (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

Intensity of a color is important in the garments hanging in the store, because it might make the difference between a customer loving or hating a garment. For example, we might love pink, but not be very happy about how strong a pink sweater looks. However, if that pink were a low intensity pink, we might love it.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS COLOR & TEXTURE IN VISUAL MERCHANDISING?

Example of window using complementary color & texture (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

When you put wonderful colors and textures together in a display, it sends customers the feeling that this brand is organized and beautiful, that makes the customer feel positive about the brand and makes her want to shop there. The customer needs to feel that she will find the clothing she desires and will leave the store happy and satisfied. Hopefully, she will be so happy that she will tell her friends about her wonderful experience in the store, and finally, she will be a loyal customer who returns often.

 

WHY IS REPETITION A VISUAL MERCHANDISING STRATEGY?

Example of retail color & repetition strategy (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

To learn more about color & texture, how color is used in creating a merchandising strategy and how to use repetition as a strategy in visual merchandising, subscribe to UoF and watch the full lesson. You will learn the dos and don’ts of how visual merchandisers work with retailers and fashion designers to create exciting in-store displays and store windows that attract us all!

 

Stay tuned for Marcie’s next lesson: Using Line and Composition in Visual Merchandising

Big News! UoF has added a new learning category
Visual Merchandising

Preview of UoF lesson Introduction to Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman

Now in its 13th year of the fashion education business, the University of Fashion is expanding. As many of you already know, we have hundreds of lessons in the fashion design disciplines of draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion drawing, menswear, knitwear, childrenswear, swimwear, accessories, CAD fashion art and CAD pattern making, as well as product development lessons that include how to create tech packs and how to start your own brand.

Our fashion lecture series focuses on topics such as costume history, textiles, trend forecasting, sustainable fashion, licensing, branding, plus sizes, influencer marketing, fashion law and explores assorted careers within the fashion industry.

Our fashion business discipline concentrates on the retail segment of the industry with lessons on retail math, marketing and merchandising, understanding retail profit and loss and now…visual merchandising.

UoF instructor Marcie Cooperman – (Image credit: Marcie Cooperman)

We are thrilled to announce that our new visual merchandising series will be taught by none other than Marcie Cooperman. If the name sounds familiar it’s because Marcie is the author of Color: How to Use It , has been an instructor at Parsons for more than 20 years and has already created nine very popular lessons for UoF on the topics of color theory and knitwear. Marcie is truly a Renaissance woman. She is an artist (oils & watercolors are her passion), an author, a professor and has had an eponymous fashion design custom service in hand knits since the late 1980s.

Dolce & Gabbana floor plan (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

In her new series for UoF, Marcie explores the world of visual merchandising and the tools that retailers use in their store to create excitement and interest for their target market, via the store’s exterior and store window, to the store’s interior merchandising presentation. You’ll learn the planogram, the organizational system of the products in the store, and how visual merchandising uses the display, an important tool in showing how the clothing will look on the body. Whether you plan to open your own retail store or not, the information you’ll glean from Marcie’s new series will inspire both designers and retailers alike.

With today’s launch of the first lesson in the series, Introduction to Visual Merchandising, I thought I’d sit down (virtually of course) to find out more about Marcie and the important role visual merchandising plays in our industry.

Example of messy store (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: What sparked your interest in Visual Merchandising?

Marcie:  I have always thought about art, design, fashion, color and composition, certainly since I was a little girl. When I was about seven, I started painting with oil paints, and I designed my own embroidery projects.  I had strong ideas about what colors to use.  And I had opinions about store windows in those days, too, long before I knew there was something called visual merchandising.

In those days, my Mom and I designed dresses for her to make for me, and I fashioned scraps of fabric into clothing for dolls that I made myself.  And I used whatever scraps I had to design and make furniture for room interiors.  My passion for color took root when Mom took me to buy yarns in a store that was like a dreamscape: it was in a barn, and skeins of colored yarns were hanging from the rafters all around me.  Going into a yarn shop today to buy knitting yarns still makes me feel like that.

As I became a teenager, my career ideas always included interior design, retail design, and fashion design.  I loved it all, and it wasn’t possible for me to choose a career in just one of those areas.  For me, color and composition were the central concept, and all types of design were visual expressions of them.  Why limit myself?  So, I went to school for both fashion design and interior design.

When I received my MBA in Marketing at Stern School of Business at NYU, it all came together in a business sense.  Visual Merchandising is the ultimate combination of everything I love:  color and design, composition, retailing and marketing, all pointed toward creating an emotional connection with the customer.  And I’ve always taught it with a focus on color and composition.

Coach store featuring Mickey Mouse & Keith Haring (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: Which store interiors & windows do you think are the most successful?

Marcie:  I am very impressed with Coach. They are always creative and unusual, and successful in appealing to the customer through very directive use of color and design.  They use lines and shapes skillfully to direct the eye to the product, and easily convey what the brand is all about.  And yet it all seems so simple, as if their choices were the only ones to make.  I always stand in front of Coach windows for a while, digesting the beauty of the products and display elements; I think it’s a real strength that it inspires me do that.

Hermes windows are also incredibly innovative, especially in their use of color.  They are intense and cheery, and clearly, the designer is proficient in using color relationships.  There is always a sense of whimsy in Hermes windows, and that makes them stand out.  They are essentially Hermes.  We see the same sensibility in the website design, too, so the message is coordinated; that is crucial in brand messaging to the world.

And there is a wonderful store down in the Flatiron district in NYC called ABC Carpet and Home, and nobody beats their windows!  They are just full of amazing things, with gorgeous products and with their own spectacular style!  It’s worth a visit just to see the windows.  Of course, when you go into the store, you can really feel how it’s also amazingly designed.  How exciting it is!  It’s impossible not to buy something there.

These are all brands with designers who know how to use color and composition in their displays, and their work is on another level.  We can all learn from them.

Printemps, Paris-Use of color, textures, lines and shapes for a successful store window (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: What do you think are the top 5 visuals that make a successful store window?

Marcie:  Successful store windows can be designed by students and professionals who have an understanding of how to use color and textures, and lines and shapes, in the most creative way in their work.  These are tools that designers must have.  How can you design without learning about them?  Store displays and windows are an art, an expression of the designer’s creativity based on these tools.  Students who know how to use them can go anywhere in their work.

Color relationships actually reach us emotionally and connect with us; we can even feel that we love a brand just because we saw the right colors and textures in a store window display!  We can fall in love with what we see, and never forget that feeling because it will bother us until we buy the product that we saw there.

In all of my classes, and these lessons on visual merchandising, I really want to teach every student how to use these tools, so that they can achieve their personal artistic goals and their store’s goals.  In those lessons I am devoted to explaining every detail clearly, and to illustrate every concept with great images of window displays.  And I evaluate each image, too, to explain what’s happening in those displays and why they work or why they don’t work.  It’s always great to see the ones that don’t quite work, so we can understand and learn from them.

The highest goal a store can achieve with an amazing window display is to create an emotional connection with the customers, one so strong that they must come inside to see what the store is selling.  Did you ever feel that way?  Not only that you must go inside the store, but once you are inside, you feel that it’s so wonderful you cannot go home without buying something there.  That’s the power of a great window display, and great visual merchandising that continues inside the store.

 

Francesca: How important do you think a brand’s store windows should relate to their website presence?

Marcie:  Of course, both the store windows and the website, as well as other owned online assets, must be unified and cohesive so that they send the same message about the brand.  They should include the same colors and shapes.  All signage must relate to the text on the websites in terms of fonts, colors and design.

Every brand needs to have a set of core values and a mission, and those must always be the basis for every display decision it makes – the guide for all design decisions.  That’s the way to keep everything unified.

It’s very important for the brand to clearly position itself to the customer in just one very special and differentiated way, and to explain that positioning through all of its visuals:  its displays and windows, its clothing, labels and ads, and all other visual materials.  Everything has to send the same visual message.  Otherwise, the customer could get confused about what this brand is saying, and what it’s all about.  And that confused customer won’t see the reason that she must shop at this brand before all others.

Coming soon to UoF: Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman

Francesca: What other lessons should we expect to see from you in the future?

Marcie:  I’m fascinated with fashion design and interior design as they relate to color and composition; I can always tell which designers in both industries know how to use color and which ones have no idea.  My point of view in teaching design is always to create from a basis of understanding of color, line and shape – to have an arsenal of shapes to explore for every line of creative thinking.  You could take just one shape and go on from there knowing the infinite ways to vary it for a garment.

Imagine using your understanding of those concepts to help you create your fashion design lines!  What confidence you can have.  How deeply you can dive into the possibilities and come up with a cohesive collection of unique styles that connect with each other and express the brand’s sensibilities.

 

Francesca: Do you have certain career goals?

Marcie: I have devoted my career to teaching students how to use color and composition in their design work, so that they understand that these are the most precious tools they can have.  I want every student to have the confidence of knowing how to use these tools.  Color and composition provide a structural framework for students’ imagination, an understanding that allows them to follow their infinite sense of creativity, a skill that frees them to take their ingenuity farther than they can imagine.  This is how I feel when I do my fashion and interior design work, and I want all students to feel the same way.

To learn more about Marcie and her blog about color in interior design and fashion design:  http://fashionclassroom.com/blog . Also view her LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcie-cooperman-03613511/

Stay tuned for Marcie’s next lesson: Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising