Visual Merchandising: Window Display Artist

I like to look at interesting jobs in the arts/ crafts area. So many unique and interesting jobs we just never hear about or never stop to think that someone actually does that and gets paid for it!

Have you thought about being the person who creates window displays before? I have. Even back in high school I considered it as a career option. Too bad I didn’t do more about it then. But, you can’t be the person you are now in your past life. I’m still hoping for time machines so I could at least whisper in my ear a few times. Until then… I can research and live vicariously. The best overall name for this type of career seems to be Visual Merchandising.

First, what do you need to get there?

Seneca: Visual Merchandising Arts

Sheridan: Visual Merchandising Arts

Conestoga: Visual Merchandising Arts

Swinburne University of Technology (AU): Diploma of Visual Merchandising

Fashion Academy (UK): Level 4 Diploma in Visual Merchandising

From Schools in the USA.com:

In order to become a window display designer, it is suggested to get some college or university training in graphic design, fine art, construction, carpentry, architecture, lighting, or theatrical design. There are also a few college courses available in visual merchandising and design. Some business and marketing courses would also help individuals promote their skills.

Before going to school, however, consider working in retail. Ask to help with the window displays, as employers look for experience as well as education.

I found industry resource sites for visual merchandisers and retailers:

  • The Asia Society of Visual Merchandisers
  • VMSD is the leading resource for retail designers and store display professionals, serving the retail industry since 1869 (then called Display World). VMSD showcases the latest store designs and visual presentations, presents merchandising strategies and new products, and reports on industry news and events.

Further resources:

Advice for Retailers: Retail Window Displays

About.com: Retailing: Creating Attractive Displays (Visual Display Tips)

eHow: How to Become a Window Display Artist

About.com: Retail Industry: Job Profile: Visual Merchandising Associate

Merchandise Display Artist Job Profile

Visual Merchandiser Job Description

Careers Advice (UK): Visual Merchandiser

M Windows – Visual display and retail design consultants. Visual merchandising as a freelance career. Based in New York City, US.

Following is a real job for a window display artist/ visual presentation technician. You can see what the company wants and expects from someone with this job. This post is taken today from Monster.ca and is for Laura Canada.

Role Summary
The Visual Presentation Technician/In-Store Merchandiser will demonstrate effective in-store merchandising and window presentation techniques in order to support financial and customer service objectives and be proactive in approaching all aspects of store’s visual presentations.

Critical Functions

1. Merchandising Techniques

  • Completes Pre Plan Visual Checklist in conjunction with management on each visit as a coaching and preplanning tool.
  • Ensures merchandising standard is achieved as per Company’s directives
  • Confirms merchandising and fashion directives from Head Office are being followed with appropriate discretion for individual store circumstances.
  • Follow proper placement of display according to traffic flow requirement and symmetry.
  • Ensures display reflects adjacent sections as well as promoting a fashionable message.
  • Maintains standards regarding folding, sizing, usage of hangers and foam strips, removal of excess tags.
  • Analyzes retailers to identify new fixturing and new merchandising ideas.
  • Merchandises the store by using a strong knowledge and understanding of current season’s fashion trends (Look Books, fashion magazines, product Knowledge sessions, shopping competition).
  • Ensures proper placement of all floor bunks, t-stands, bust forms and mannequins according to traffic flow requirement and symmetry.
  • Ensures displays (face-outs, t-stands) reflect adjacent sections as well as promoting a fashionable accessorized message.
  • Maintains standards regarding folding and sizing, proper usage of hangers and foam strips, removal of excess tags.
  • Assists store Management Team in proper execution of all Marketing directives with a high sense of urgency.
  • Ensures all visual elements (when not in use) are properly stored in a designated area in the backroom only, discarding old banners and signage as per Marketing directive.
  • Communicates deficiencies and unsafe store conditions to appropriate department.
  • Orders and replaces light bulbs in the store, stockroom and exit signs ensuring sufficient lighting throughout the store.

2. Window Presentation Techniques

§ Demonstrates creativity in windows by using a strong knowledge and understanding of current season’s fashion trends

§ Ensures mannequins and bust forms placement is done according to standards and all pinning and adjustments made on mannequins result in the most natural and realistic look to the presentation.

§ Confirms Orders, replaces and focuses lights in windows, store, stockroom and exit signs ensuring sufficient lighting.

3. Customer Service

§ Has constant customer awareness and knows to stop, drop and serve.

§ Executes all POS procedures accurately and efficiently (i.e. special orders, no sales, refunds, etc.).

4.   Shipping & Receiving

§ Prepares all incoming and outgoing merchandise in a timely manner.

§ Ensures all housekeeping standards are maintained.

§ Completes markdowns efficiently and accurately.

§ Ensures Health and Safety standards are met at all times

Qualifications:

§ Experience in fashion with a strong background in display/merchandising

§ Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, detail oriented with strong follow-through skills

§ Able to adapt to changes and work on adaptable schedules

§ Demonstrates fashion flair and creativity.

Art Dolls: Glamourous to Hideous

You may never have made a doll yourself but you can design one. Whether you ever take the step of creating a physical doll, designing an art doll will get your creativity flowing. There are endless varieties. Some are pretty, fancy and some are hideously ugly. Draw out your design or just describe it in writing, but don’t forget all the little details like hair, fingers, clothes and accessories. Raggedy Ann dolls always have a heart embroidered on their chest, will you have some unique detail like that too?

Links to some sources for art doll photos and ideas.

Do You Have a Favourite Word?

Have you heard of Wordnik? It’s an online dictionary which I read about on WebWorkerDaily.I like the look of the site, it’s a clean, fresh design. Better yet, I tested it with some odd words and it passed, had them all listed. It did not give a perfectly clear description for each but it was always interesting. In most cases I got back more than I expected with various results which they link to.

I joined the site and created my own profile.  The profile included a spot for you to add your favourite word and your least favourite word. Since I’m one of those who seldom over thinks anything (that’s another way of saying impulsive) I spent about a minute thinking and came up with:

Favourite word: caramel

Least favourite word: restricted

What would you pick as your favourite and least favorite words?

How to Make a List of Your Interests

I don’t think you can make a real list of all the interesting things you like (whether you participate or observe them) in just a few minutes. There are so many elements to ourselves, so many things we have caught in passing and so much flashing through our minds at any given time. But, if we were to just make a slow and building list, I bet you would surprise yourself with how many interesting, kitschy and/ or unique things you have taken an interest in.

Start a list, keep it pinned to a bulletin board, the fridge or anyplace where you can easily jot down another topic/ activity/ hobby as it comes to your mind. Don’t consider it a complete list until it has been quite awhile since anything new has occurred to you. You will see how interesting you really are!

Here is the start of my own list, by no means is this complete. I’m mostly looking for little things that I have almost forgotten myself. But some of the bigger things have to get out of the way (onto the list and out of my head) so I can move beyond them and find the little things.

  • ASCII art
  • old fashioned clothes
  • making Christmas decorations
  • Christmas baking
  • drawing cartoons/ comics
  • reading fantasy stories
  • drawing fantasy creatures
  • dragons
  • reading science fiction
  • Carmageddon (a car demolition racing game).
  • Empire and city building computer games
  • writing erotica
  • daydreaming
  • road trips
  • train travel
  • rocks, stones, pebbles
  • rural exploration
  • urban exploration
  • sewing, even mending and hemming
  • embroidery
  • crochet
  • paranormal romances/ chick lit
  • drawing for Christmas and Halloween
  • old buildings and architecture
  • astrology, mostly for online dating purposes
  • web design and development, as an amateur/ hobbyist
  • blogging, online writing and web publishing
  • the possibility of time travel
  • wildflowers and native plants
  • Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism
  • old traditions
  • pioneer and old ways of living
  • pixel art
  • car art
  • Renaissance Faires, though I have yet to attend one
  • the supernatural, occult, paranormal – though some of it really spooks me.
  • herbs and cactus plants
  • end of the world/ civilization scenarois, mostly survival and building things back up
  • doll making
  • beading, have done only a little
  • papercraft like folding and cutting out images to make art
  • podcasting
  • writing a paranormal chick lit book
  • writing a syndicated newspaper column
  • zine publishing
  • linguistics/ words
  • digital scrapbooking
  • digital photography
  • collage
  • mail art
  • role playing games – RPGs
  • illustration/ graphic arts
  • copywriting/ copy editing
  • fashion design
  • interior design, furniture
  • recycling and refurbishing furniture, clothes, etc
  • green living
  • history
  • web usability
  • haiku poetry
  • backpacking travel
  • skating
  • nature crafts

Designing Your Own 125×125 Blog Ad

You need to create a small 125 x 125 pixels square ad for your blog if you want to use ad networks and link exchanges like CMF Ads, Adgitize, Project Wonderful, Technorati Engage, Yahoo Publisher Network (US only), Google Adsense, Blog Ads, Spottt and 125 Exchange. (Publisher Spot will give you reviews of ad networks if you are interested in finding more).

So, how do you design an ad that says what you need to say, fits into the small space while still being readable and attracts people to your blog?

First, you can make your own ad. It isn’t really hard if you just get some freeware and work on it a bit. Or you can get someone to make an ad for you. Free 125 Cards will let you create one on the web too.

Second, know what you really want to say. What is the most important thing you want to say for your site? Don’t put too much into it, don’t make a complicated message. Consider that you have about 1 second to catch their eye and tell them why they should click your ad. Not much time is it? But, don’t get scared off. You don’t need to get everyone and anyone to click on your ad, just the people who will actually be interested in what your site is about.

Once you have gotten this far it’s time to consider the design itself. Keep it simple and clear. You can go with dramatic colours but chances are your ad will appear with other ads (all using dramatic colours).You might look around at other ads on other blogs and see what colours catch your eye. Maybe its not about dramatic colour but the graphic they use or the words? Make notes about what ads you look at.

Every ad is that same square shape so how about using a white background and have a circle or triangle inside it, something to make your ad appear to be different from the standard square. Or, how about framing your ad in a different colour? Sharpen focus onto your ad by giving it a framed border you can even have corners that narrow in like a real frame on a painting. Read more about using colour on: Color Me Clickable.

1. The blended technique

This technique sets the ad unit’s background and border color to the same color as the page background color. The title is then in either traditional hyperlink blue or in another color used for page links.

2. The matching technique

If your logo is green, you might try matching both the border and background of the ad unit to the same green, then use the page background color as the ad unit’s text color. You aren’t introducing new colors, but matching the on-page colors, and this makes the ad unit more noticeable than the blended technique.

3. The complimentary technique

This would use new colors not currently on the page, but colors chosen to complement the colors that are. There are many tools available online to help you figure out what colors complement the major color elements on your page. You can leave the border hidden and use the complementary colors for all the text, or use those complementary colors in the ad unit’s border and background, as well.

4. The contrasting technique

This isn’t used as often, but there are publishers who find contrasting ad units perform the best. For contrasting colors, think bold, bright and, most importantly, obnoxious.

Some people suggest you use the word ‘free’ in your ad. I don’t. I tried it and found no difference. In fact, I have had far more interest from my current ad than the one which proclaimed “Free Writing Exercises”. Also, it made me feel cheap and I didn’t like that feeling. I put time into my site, it’s not an ad farm and the content is all done by myself, originally me. Yet, that “free” ad made me feel I was promoting a splog (spam blog).

Don’t use too many words and make sure they are easy to read. Don’t have them too small or to blurry from trying to fit them in. Come up with something very short and yet descriptive of your blog. If you really want a challenge see if you can be witty too.

Use a graphic and words together, but make sense. If your graphic has nothing to do with your site it makes a confusing kind of ad. One thing I have noticed are that having eyes in your ad will attract reader eyes too. Think of a way your ad can interact with other ads which may be beside it, on top of it or under it in a blog sidebar. I’ve seen one which has a bug with it’s legs up in the air, as if pushing the other ad off. It caught my eye. What else have you noticed in your own wanderings around the web?

Your Ship in a Baby Bottle

You’re making a ship in a bottle. It’s something you’ve always thought would be interesting to do one day. Like making paper doll chains into infinity, or bungee jumping… well, maybe not so much, it seemed creative, intricate and something you could boast about making later and then give away to relatives when you got tired of it. Plus, you heard once that your Great Grandfather used to make them.

Only, when the glass bottle company delivers youg glass bottle, it’s a baby bottle. What kind of ship would you design to fit inside a baby bottle? Or would you go with something completely different?

Pretty Simple Site Promotion Ignored

It bugs me when I go to a business or charity type of site and find they have nothing extra to offer me. Not only is it harder and harder to find a real way of contacting anyone online but they are often really skimpy on content too. What are they saving it for? Why not use the free promotion opportunities right in front of them?

Charities or campaigns such as breast cancer, saving the whale or keeping the Internet free should have something I can stick on my own site as a link back. I like having some kind of graphic and if that is included in prepared HTML code for me I can scoop it right up and paste it into my site’s HTML. Simple and sweet and don’t they want linkbacks anyway?

Businesses create lovely packaging for their products and you go to the website to see what else they have, where are other stores located and can you get some of that wonderful art as wallpaper/ background for your own site? Businesses should make this available as most people will recognize the design and notice the referral to the company placed at the bottom corner of the wallpaper. Why don’t they share it this way? Or offer us something else? It’s free promotion for them. So much thought and energy is put into SEO games and yet here is something that doesn’t rely on search engines and would bring in a lot of link backs and traffic, yet it is ignored. How silly.

Watering your Fish

Fish like being watered. Not a heavy, hard water but a light, gentle water. They swim all around the water from the hose when I spray them. Just love it! I think someone should design a theme park for goldfish, just those in ponds cause the goldfish in bowls are just too tanked to really appreciate a good theme park.

Plan out a theme park with a lot of water and bubbles (no ducks or raccoons, this isn’t the haunted house after all) for goldfish in a big pond.

Germinating Stages for Topical Blogs

I’ve had it in my mind to write about a another topic in a new blog, or a column for another site, something like that. Yesterday I thought of a really great title. But… it isn’t practical to start another project right now.

Getting ideas and wanting to start them is great, but you have to know you can back it up and have time, energy and resources to stick with it. Right now I don’t.

One thing which is overlooked is coming up with a list of possible topics to write about. Can you make a list of 50? If not, reconsider your topic/ niche. Yes, fifty sounds like a lot but consider making a post each week for 52 weeks (one year) does it still sound like a lot? If you can’t create enough content ideas (not full posts just the idea for them) for a year wait until you can.

Also, for a topical blog you will need to put a lot of time into finding readers before you can try to keep them. That means promoting the blog and that takes  a LOT of time. Most of it on little things. You need to build your molehill into a mountain. Having several posts ready to go ahead helps a lot as you will be low on time for the writing while you are putting it into promoting.

If I write a column for someone else I won’t need to plan how the site will look or navigate really. The site I write for will already have it’s own design in use. However, writing for another site means I have to research the site and decide if it is a site I want to be part of. Does it get traffic and readers? Does it run a ton of ads and do they overshadow the content? If so, that’s not a site where you will really be able to shine. If they claim to pay, do they? Really?

Starting a project online is pretty easy. Maintaining it is where the real work comes in. If you can’t maintain your great idea put it off awhile.