Byline: Michelle Rushton
What does a career in visual merchandising involve?
Visual merchandisers create window and interior displays in shops and department stores. They aim to attract customers and maximise sales by presenting goods in a striking and appealing way. Displays are changed several times a year, according to the seasons and any sales promotions.
Most retail companies have a visual merchandising team. In large retail companies, visual merchandisers usually follow design plans created by a visual merchandising manager or display designer at head office.
Their duties include coming up with ideas for displays, drawing designs and plans by hand or computer, using space and lighting creatively and creating visual merchandising packs to send to stores, so that they stay consistent with the company brand and image.
They also have to set up displays, dress dummies and arrange screens, fabrics and promotional materials.
What personal skills do you need?
You need to have a good sense of design, colour and style with plenty of creativity and imagination. Practical skills, such as carpentry and needlework and IT skills are also useful. You must be organised, paying attention to detail with good communication skills and the ability to work to deadlines. You must be prepared to work during evenings and weekends to get displays ready and be physically fit as you will spend a lot of time on your feet.
What training do you need?
Relevant specialist courses include degrees in exhibition and retail design, foundation degrees in display design or visual merchandising and promotional design. …