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Chief Editor
& Visualiser

Anuraag S

Swati Bhalla

Special Contribution
Vandana V

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Mannequins-The silent salesperson
by Swati Bhalla, Director-Studio Atomium

For thousands of year's mankind has used mannequins in wood, wax, wire and even plaster. Kings and Queens, the only symbols of fashion at some point of time, like the ancient pharaohs, would have a dress form made to their body dimensions, to avoid any royal embarrassment during the course of a fitting, the court dressmaker would use the 'dress form' to make the clothes.

In the 1880s windowpanes began to be installed in retail establishments. The improvement of sewing machines enabled ready to wear clothing to be made in large quantities. The industrial revolution also created a new middle class with money to spend on what was previously only available to royalty and landed gentry - fashionable clothes! More retail stores opened and the storeowners needed mannequins to display the latest fashions.

Other than mannequins in men's, ladies and children's forms, there are display forms of hands, necks, heads, legs and headless torsos. Some mannequins are even made to resemble famous movie stars and celebrities. The latest trend being that of real look mannequins, i.e., mannequins with not just hair, but details like eyelashes and full make-up.

Always, the merchandise is the king of the display, but you need to know how to set up the mannequins in a way to get the desired effect. The selected mannequins, along with the pose, the style of hair and the color of the skin should reflect the merchandise or garment to be displayed.

For instance, if your store has a sportswear section, the mannequins will naturally be displayed in active poses. The skin tones of the mannequins should also reflect the active lifestyles of athletes. The wigs for the mannequins should be short - cropped or with ponytails. On the other hand, mannequins in the formalwear department, that display evening gowns and formal apparel, should have more conservative poses.

Finally, it isn't wise to leave your mannequins standing in the same position for too long. Try to rotate them and dress them up in different clothes regularly. Avoid mixing window mannequins with the floor ones. It is always a good idea to clean your mannequins regularly so that they always look fresh.

Goldsmith's "Noche" collection is straight off the runway with high-fashion poses and don't-hate-me-because-I'm-fabulous attitudes.


Pick of the Month A chance to get noticed in the industry. A chance to show your creativity. A chance to participate and win display awards every month.
(submit your entries at [email protected])
Zara Kids Diesel
BC BG Max Azria
Contributed by Vandana Verdia, Maui - Hawaiian
Louis Vuitton
Any Questions?

If you have any display or store planning/layout related questions, send it to us!
Mr. Surender Gnanaolivu, Concept Head - Lifestyle Dept. Store, Reliance Retail, will answer your questions... (Mr. Surender Gnanaolivu has a rich experience of 14yrs in Store Planning, Retail Planning, VM, Presentation & teaching Retail Management.)

(submit your questions at [email protected])

Q: How we can make our store look attractive and classy? -Manoj Kapil

We need to have a reference point to what we mean by "Attractive and Classy". The way to go about this is as follows :

a. Understand who you plan to sell to: To a 20 year old a Classic look (like Arrow) will not be attractive though it may be classy and attractive. Maybe a Levi's look would be more like it though the design elements and the theme is completely different. Plan what your customer thinks is attractive & classy. So find out about them, talk to them, study how they lead their life and get that information.

b. Understand what you plan to sell: You need to understand the range, the fashion, the price and the USP of your merchandise. Classy and attractive presentation for a value merchandise may need an innovatively put together mass display complemented with graphics and props ( jeans presented in an polished & brass barrels with shiny brass trims). Where as for a formal merchandise the setting that is classy and attractive could be a very classic carved wooden table with just 2 pieces of the merchandise placed on it.

c. Understand how you plan to sell it: Do you sell by style and fashion (you have merchandise of the same style and color with different sizes together) or do you sell by size (merchandise of the same size together) or are you a specialty or a general store ? Are you a single category or a multi-category ( a footwear store or a garment store)? All these aspects determine the type of display, the cross-merchandising needs, the props, the mannequins etc. With this information the store presentation can be strategized, designed and implemented.

Post the above, the use of good lighting, good fixtures, props and great attention to details in terms of implementation and maintenance will help deliver to the customer the message of the retailer being "classy and attractive".

Q: Role of visual merchandiser? -Manoj Kapil

The role of the visual merchandiser is the following :

a. Planning & implementing the Visual Presentation of the store (the Displays, Graphics & Merchandise Presentation as per plano grams)
b. Planning & implementing the Visual Communication of the store (Copy cards, Information signage’s, event communication )
c. Store tidiness & upkeep overseeing (ensuring the interiors are well maintained, lights are properly focused, fixtures are cleaned, merchandise is tidily presented, furniture & fixtures are in good condition)
d. Store music system content and quality (planning music for different seasons and events)
e. Training Operations for Merchandise Presentation.
f. Monitoring the effect on the sales with change in visual presentation in the store.

Q: What is the way to make the eye catching color blocking? -Sarfraz, Bangalore

Color Blocking is a technique where similar or same colors are massed together to deliver a visual need which can be as follows:

1. Communicate the color range of fashion merchandise: Here the color blocking is done vertically and the color options are done horizontally (Eg: All red family stacks are placed vertically one below the other and the next color, say orange, is in the next vertical stack and so on). Here the shopper can know the color range of the merchandise my panning their vision horizontally. This also works even when the store is very crowded as the shopper will be able to see the top most stacks ( remember that the stack is vertically of the same color family) and hence know the range of colors.

2. Communicate material of the merchandise: This is very effect for junk jewellery/hair accessories where customers come looking for merchandise to accessories a garment they have. Here blocking different merchandise under colors helps ease of selection. The same is applied for paint finishes where paints of similar colors can be kept together.

3. Create a visual impact in a feature wall: This is very effective for art and coloring material where the feature section of the department can carry pigeon holes/niches where each niche can be filled with one color of merchandise creating a splattering of colors (illuminated with accent lights) and bringing that section to life and definitely catch the eye of the shopper.

News Flash

IRDC Registration Open for IRDC 2007
Registration is now open for the seventh annual VM+SD International Retail Design Conference, Sep’ 19-21 at the Inter Continental Buckhead in Atlanta.
Executives store planners, visual merchandisers, designers & other retail professionals are invited to attend this annual educational and networking event. IRDC draws speakers and attendees from throughout the U.S. And abroad for three days of inspiration, conversation & rejuvenation.
For more details, visit

NASFM Retail Design Awards 2007
Shu uemura is all about appearances. And the appearance of its South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa, Calif, caught judges attention in the 36th annual National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers Retail Design Awards. The beauty & skin care company was named NASFM’s Sore of the Tear for it’s sleek and elegant look.
Learn Visual Merchandising, Contact


Here comes the Spider-Man
Sony Style in New York brings Spider-Man to life in clebration of the comic character’s upcoming movie, “Spider-Man 3”, hitting theaters May 4. Passers by can catch a glimpse of the superhero and his new villians, Snadman and Venom, on display inside the electonic retailer’s latest window campaign, which includes movie clips displayed on LCD screens and scent air technology.

Share Display Snaps
(submit your entries at [email protected])




This snap was taken in 1883 in Calcutta.

Check out the step display method for better visibility and the man in the front is taking care of the 'impulse' merchandise.

While, the big bigger baskets are kept in front for better accessibility.

Contributed by Anuraag S

Window Case


1 The depth of the window is approx. 3.5’.

2 The lights are focused randomly but balanced.

3 The props used are:
a. Wooden partition
b. Metal Table
c. Merchandise (on table & on the partition)
d. Black vinyl on the window glass
e. 3 White Birds (below the table; to create ‘interest’)
f. 2 Signage’s (laid flat on the floor)

4 The mannequins are draped in casual wear smartly.
Overall the window is well balanced. Focus is somehow
on the merchandise only.

5 The window glass is announcing the web-site of
the store/brand/organization.

Top View Legend

Motorola RED

The (Product) RED campaign works to bring the fight against AIDS in Africa to mainstream America. Corporate heavy weights like Converse, Gap, Giorgio Armani, American Express and Motorola joined the global initiative and produced an array of merchandise featuring the parenthetical logo. Sales from (Product) RED benefit Global Fund-financed AIDS programs.

WalkerGroup (New York), in collaboration with the Motorola design team, created a “pop-up” store on Chicago's iconic Michigan Avenue for Motorola's (Moto)Red cell phones. The single-level, 1000-square-foot space received first place in the 2006 ISP/VM+SD International Store Design Competition for a specialty store with a sales area under 1500 square feet.


“We have created an immersive environment within a retail shell that showcases not only the stunning (Product)RED merchandise, but also the powerful message that underpins the campaign,” says Randall Ng, managing director of Walker Group.

Mimicking the logo's brackets, designers created convex-shaped walls out of fabric panels from Moss Inc. (Belfast, Maine). The structured fabrics draw attention to the RAZR phones and other Motorola (RED) accessories elevated on red and white pedestal displays. Signature parenthetical statements of the campaign, such as “Desi(red)” and “Inspi(red)” are screen- printed in chunky white letters along one curved wall, while the other side presents the campaign's manifesto. A crisp white floor with illuminated plexiglass boxes by DNS Display Industries Inc. (Concord, Ont.) showcase other (Product) RED merchandise. The store's red-tinted glass entrance stood tall on Michigan Avenue for two weeks.

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I must say, it’s a commendable effort by Studio Atomium. At least we have some platform to express and share our views
on VM (in this country) and which is so approachable. Great going! Keep it up!...Pradeep Kumar
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