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  • How Layers Add Pizzazz to Window Displays

    Thin slivers of cake.
    Pudding.
    Icing.
    Whipped cream.
    Sliced berries.
    Chocolate shavings.

    I ogle cakes in bakeries. The elaborate layered ones that look so fabulous in the bakery case. I can bake basic cakes myself. Mine are good enough, but a little boring. Nothing like the fabulous professional bakery concoctions that make my mouth water.

    A professional window display is like a bakery layer cake. It has visual interest that sets it apart and attracts attention.

    You can tell a professional window display at a glance
    Professional windows stand out because they use of layers. Layers give the display pizzazz. They add depth to the window display. The layers and depth add keep the display from being too boring.

    To understand how layers can be used in a window display, let’s look at this example from a Roots store.

    There are three layers in a window display. All of these layers are used in the Roots window display. Even though the display area is less than 18 inches deep, the layers use that depth effectively.

    The three layers in a window display are:

    Layer 1 – Background
    Layer 2 – Middle ground
    Layer 3 – Foreground

    Let’s take a look at those layers in more detail.

    Layer 1 – Background

    The background of a window display is important. The background of the display screens off the rest of the store from view. Without a background, a display loses impact. The store interior distracts attention from the display.

    To keep attention focused on the display, you need to have a background.

    There are three types of backgrounds:

    a) Permanent screens

    Permanent screens includes any kind of full or partial wall that is constructed at the back of the display. The wall closes in the display, forming a permanent background for the window. A wall can be left alone, or combined with other backgrounds.

    b) Temporary screens
    Temporary screen partially closing off the back of the display with materials that are easily removed. The easiest way to create a temporary screen, is to hang a light coloured, translucent fabric from a dowel at the back of the window. This creates a background for the display, but does not completely block light from the window.

    c) Signs, posters or graphics
    Large signs are commonly used in displays. They can be used as a temporary screen on their own, or they can be combined with one of the other two background techniques. When signs or graphics are used, they attract attention to the background of the display.

    Let’s take a look at how the Roots display uses the background.

    The Roots display uses both the permanent screening and a large hanging sign. The partial walls of wood screen the store interior from view, and provide a warm neutral background colour for displays. The Winter Sale sign is hung in the back of the display window. In this case, the sign is the main focal point of the window, even though it is positioned in the background. The design of the window is intended to direct your attention to this sign in the centre of the display.

    Layer 2 – Middle ground
    The middle ground of a window display is where products are displayed. This is the space between the glass and the background. Displays of merchandise do not have to be elaborate to be effective.

    The Roots product display is intentionally simple. The goal of this window is to direct attention to the Winter Sale sign. The mannequins frame the sign without blocking it.

    The stacked cardboard boxes on the right hand side balance the mannequins on the left. They frame and support the focal point without detracting from it.

    Layer 3 – Foreground
    The foreground is the glass of the window. The glass can be used by placing signs and display materials directly behind it. Or the glass can be used for a surface for paint, vinyl graphics and text, or signs.

    The foreground is a great place to repeat the store name. It can also be used to create a decorative frame around the window. Vinyl cling-film signs work well on the glass. They are re-positionable and reusable. Vinyl graphics and signs are effective because are easily seen in spite of reflections and glare on the windows.

    Let’s take a look at how the Roots window makes use of the foreground.

    In the Roots window, even the background and middle ground are close the the window. The only other foreground treatment in the red sign on the window, announcing an extra 20% off.

    Even with this shallow space, layers can be effective. You can see how the layers make use of the entire space and create more interest than just a single sign or product display.

    Summary

    To give your displays professional pizzaz, think of those luscious bakery layer cakes. Add interest and flair to your displays with these three layers:

    Layer 1 – Background
    Layer 2 – Middle ground

    Layer 3 – Foreground

    Use the three layers in your displays to improve them right away.

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