1. Keep an inspiration guide to help you generate ideas. Whether its tear sheets, postcards, photos, books - have a place to log visual references. Always be seeking inspiration.
2. Keep a record of your past windows. Look back on past work by year, month or season–you don’t want to repeat but you do want to know what worked so you can re-use a concept.
3. Speak to your stores marketing team to know what products to highlight – its best if you can plan by the year or at least the quarter. Stores should have a consistent message throughout.
4. Focus window design on what products you are selling. Good VM should tie back to merchandise – find a thread to link props to product.
5. Hold brainstorming sessions with team members from various departments; sales, PR, VM, etc to get different points of view and fresh ideas.
6. Speak to your store or brand audience. Tailor your windows to appeal to your customers. Controversial window designs are maybe not the right choice for stores with an older, traditional clientele.
7. Fully design your window(s) layout and be clear of objective before you begin. Think how it will be viewed and will it convey the message you are aiming for?
8. Set a budget and timeline and determine how you will get all items to store by install date – leave time for accidents, delivery mistakes and problems.
9. Add props and enhancements that will make pedestrians stop and note, or customers take a second look within the store. Be bold – people love to be wowed!
10. After you have installed the windows or store sets, walk around and check work. Stand outside and listen to people talk – they may give you things to think about for next time.
And finally remember to be flexible. Sometimes the best ideas are not carried out with perfection and can muddle the message. You may need to change your idea midstream but don’t get stuck – your goal should always be about the end result – a great window or floor set. And remember, sometimes - less is more (and sometimes it’s not).