Art and Design
Window Dressing and Display
Fashion display is perhaps the most familiar aspect of display work, with the constantly changing seasonal fashions, but all shops are now aware of the importance of good display design. If you walk round a large department store, you will see that all the departments will have used the display team to make the most of their merchandise. Successful display designers can work with all sorts of materials, and are experienced in aspects of graphic design, printing and typefaces. They will also know about the principles of effective advertising and presentation, and the psychology of the buying public.
Most shops are part of large groups, so the basic display ideas are devised by the group headquarters. How this basic design policy is put into practice depends on the size of each store. Retail groups with large stores, like Debenhams and John Lewis, will have a full-time designer or design team based in the store. Chain stores will have a regional designer going round to all the shops in a particular area. For this type of job you would need to be able to drive. Small independent shops may use sales assistants with a flair for display work to design window and instore displays. There are some opportunities for freelance display designers.
What it takes
To work in retail display, you need to be creative and practical. In the early stages of your career, you will probably be putting other people’s design ideas into practice. The ability to produce work to a high standard of finish is important, as much as having brilliant creative ideas.
Most employers are looking for people with a display design training, who will have a sound knowledge of the theory and practice of display before they start. Small independent shops may be prepared to take on staff with artistic/design ability, who can combine sales work with some window dressing.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
There are display and design courses at further education colleges and colleges of art. If you have three subjects at GCSE at grade C, you can take a two-year, full-time BTEC National Diploma/ Advanced GNVQ. If you have not quite got to this level, most colleges offer a foundation or BTEC First Diploma/Intermediate GNVQ as a starting point. The British Display Society runs courses at various levels, both full-time and part-time. Their full-time National Diploma course requires three GCSEs at grade C, but there are also certificate courses with no specific entry requirements.