DDi - April/May 2013 - (Page 20)
20 | Visual Perspectives
pring—it’s both a great season and a great word. A verb and a noun,
it rhymes with many things, like fling, ring, sing, zing! As visual merchandisers, the spring season provides opportunity for change and a
fresh perspective. The previous holiday season is behind us, and there is still
just a bit of time before holiday 2013 planning and production is in full gear.
Spring is a great time of year for a new approach and a willingness to try
something unexpected. This is something that might not ordinarily be possible due to limited time or complex design-approval processes (e.g. holiday
planning). Furthermore, a healthy business depends on change. Fashion and
style are a complete expression of constant change. It’s important for any business support person or team—including visual merchandising—to be able to
identify how conducting “business as usual” has changed and improved that
business since a year ago.
The very definition of spring parallels well with what a visual merchandiser’s typical role is all about. Derived from the Middle English “springan”
(to jump) and perhaps from the Greek “sperchesthai” (to hasten), the word
“spring” has a meaning that is both reflective of the season and also of what
we all do in a typical day, including:
• To be resilient or elastic
• To grow
• To come into being
• To make a leap or a series of leaps
• To stretch out in height
• To cause to operate suddenly
• To bend by force
• To produce suddenly
• To release or cause to be released from confinement
If the holiday season is based on the comfort zone of timehonored traditions and gift giving, then spring is the perfect
time of year for change and growth.
So often, we get bogged down with limited time, reduced budgets and constant pressure to justify the costs associated with good visual merchandising.
And then we still have to be creative on top! It’s a challenge to keep ahead
of the curve, to be as organized and flexible as possible. Trying to identify
how you can be operating differently this spring than last, then, is a lot to
ask. Or is it?
In what way are your efforts (and those of your team if you are so fortunate
to have one) being done differently this year? Before you know it, the holiday
madness will return, and you will wonder: “Where did the year go, and why
didn’t I get a chance to try doing [insert missed opportunity here]?”
Don’t panic. Keeping a fresh perspective through design, production or
planning does not have to be an enormous undertaking. Rather, start small
and let the idea grow—like a seed in spring. It can be a small change that
only an individual is aware of, maybe something internal. Or it can be something on a greater scale that may involve a cast of thousands.
Maybe it’s you who needs the change. Perhaps you can be better organized, more adventurous, take an actual lunch break to help ensure a more
productive afternoon, allow time for market research—or even connect on a
broader level within the retail and visual merchandising industry (there are a
lot of us out here, you know). Attend a tradeshow, teach a class or join a local
retail design organization. You might learn something.
Or maybe it’s your work that needs the change. Perhaps it is initiating a
departmental organizational shift, working with new software, incorporating
new equipment or designing an installation that pushes the “brand identity”
envelope a bit further than what is familiar. Ask yourself: in what way can
you be an instrument of forward-moving change?
What is most important is to keep a fresh eye and an open mind. It is a
crucial role of visual merchandising to be the instrument of change and a
promoter of new ideas and processes that help keep a business growing,
changing and always moving forward. In style, of course.
—New York-based Peter-Tolin Baker’s involvement with visual merchandising
includes PTB Design Services (owner), Fashion Institute of Technology (adjunct
professor), Retail Design Institute New York Chapter (board president) and DDI
(regular contributor). Contact him at email@example.com.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DDi - April/May 2013
DDi - April/May 2013
Table of Contents
From the Editor
From the Show Director
Tiffany & Co.
Paris Kids Department
Technology & Customer Engagement Section
Big Data Column
Design Leaders 2013
Shopping with Paco
DDi - April/May 2013