Spotlight on Store Image

July 1999


Spotlight on Store Image

Natural looks and dramatic lighting take stores into the 21st century

'Express yourself." First the theme of a hit song by pop star Madonna, it's become the punch line of office store Kinko's TV ads. In one, a prospective beau states his case with charts and graphs; in another, a farmer uses booklets and posters to demonstrate his egg production dilemma to a barn full of chickens.

It's also a message that will carry retailers into the 21st century. With intense competition and homogenous retail atmospheres, expressing your store's image is more important than ever. You can stock products meant for a specific customer, but unless you design stores and market yourself to these customers, you may never reach your intended audiences.

With this in mind, thousands of retailers converged this spring at GlobalShop, the massive store fixturing and design trade show in Chicago. A look at the trend-setting fixturing, display and point-of-purchase materials on display revealed a modern retail look that is often romantic and nature-inspired. Flat surfaces suddenly sport swoops and curves; showcases and displays curl and branch to suggest waves and plants. Materials have an "unfinished" look – showcases built of unstained woods and fixtures made of recycled aluminum or heavy roughly finished metals – yet walls and floors take on rich colors, enhanced by dramatic lighting.

Here's a rundown of image product trends seen at GlobalShop and in retail trade magazines this year.

– by Stacey King

The SoLux Task Lamp produces cooler lamp temperatures for a near-daylight effect. The light increases visual clarity and shows the true color of objects. $150 including light source.
Tailored Lighting, Rochester, NY; (800) 254-4487,


BGI Displays' Spectra Systems tower displays come in acrylic or metal. Prices start at $475.
Burke Gibson Inc., Auburn, WA; (206) 735-4444.



Various showcase heights in this display system are combined to add visual interest. The cases are finished with standard-grade laminate, have a satin aluminum track and are equipped with glass-to-glass construction, sliding locking doors, halogen lighting and storage. $200-$300 per linear foot.
Galaxy Store Fixtures, San Francisco, CA; (800) 222-1070.

Spartan's Classic Series showcase is finished with custom stain veneer and includes mirrored sliding doors, storage doors and a 1,000 series Octron light and lamp. Prices start at $1,881.
Spartan Showcase Inc., Union, MO; (800) 325-0775.


Tecno's curved wall showcase in brushed silver includes a clear back and mirrored deck, two adjustable shelves, four 50-watt recessed halogen overhead lights and hidden wheels. Other laminate colors are available. Price range, $1,400-$1,500.
Tecno, Brisbane, CA; (800) 255-3536.


  • Curved or "wavy" edges and surfaces for a modern, casual look.
  • Light-colored woods (pine and beech) with silver matte trim.
  • Increased use of laminates for easier cleaning.
  • Waist-high showcases feature intermittent towers for added visual interest.


The Studio II by Juno Lighting Inc. is a track lamp that creates a theatrical atmosphere. The fixtures, available in PAR30 and PAR38 lamps with black, silver and white finishes, can rotate 358º horizontally while the faces can tilt up to 90º from vertical.
Juno Lighting Inc., Des Plaines, IL; (800) 323-5068.



  • Brighter stores in general and increased use of highlights.
  • Use of natural light, plus more cooler-temperature lamps to emulate daylight.
  • Flexible fixtures (track lighting that negotiates showcase angles, fiberoptic lights that operate underwater).
  • Theatrical lighting, as "retailtainment" continues.


Bufkor's display set uses various woods with frosted plexiglass and aluminum accents.
Bufkor, North Tonawanda, NY; (716) 693-3223,

Dark and light shades of the same color accent Chippenhook's Le Rothman display system. The set is available in six fabrics and 52 colors. Prices start at $290.
Chippenhook, Flower Mound, TX; (800) 527-5866,

The Forum ring display line, highlighted with gold beading, is available in king-, queen- or princess-sized sets or with units and flooring only. Price range, $212.50-$494.75.
Gerald Fried Display Co., Tonawanda, NY; (800) 828-7701.


  • Less use of stark white and more cream and beige in display units.
  • Curly, wavy and "tree branch" looks in metallic display fixtures.
  • A mixture of dark and light shades of the same color.
  • Displays serving dual purposes, including drop-down safes and interactive point-of-purchase functions.
  • Interactive and sophisticated signs, including more three-dimensional pieces.
Scroll chain and earring displays are made of natural wood and wrought iron. Price range, $28-$80.
Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 545-6566.

Custom acrylic and glass logo signs are available polished, beveled, sandblasted (frosted), etched or silk-screened. Price range, $4-$15.
Mila Displays Inc., Hewlett, NY; (516) 791-2643.

Classic mirrors by Visiva, available in Salem Gold or Iron Stone colors, are always in stock. $169.
Visiva, Chagrin Falls, OH; (800) 273-7557.


Stoffel Seals' plastic injection-molded Prestige® Seal is decorated with foil and available in standard and custom sizes, shapes and colors. Price range, $0.30-$0.50, depending on specifications and quantity.
Stoffel Seals, Nyack, NY; (914) 353-3800.

These European-style shopping bags, made of matte laminated paper with gold-embossed cuffs, can be hot-stamped with your store's logo. They're available starting in quantities of 2,000.
Image Packaging, Horseheads, NY; (800) 793-2095.

Artistic black-and-white marble print with gold hot-stamping is one of the options available with Jewel Case's watch packaging.
Jewel Case Corp., Providence, RI; (800) 441-4447.

This high-end lizard Leatherette box is accented with brass corners and features a satin and velour interior. A matching outer box is also available.
Boxco International Ltd., Long Island City, NY; (800) 95-BOXCO,

The wine-colored boxes in the Cabernet Collection have white satin and velvet interiors and flocked velour exteriors. Necklace box is suited for omegas. Prices start at $0.99.
Presentation Box & Display, Pawtucket, RI; (800) 556-7390,

Spirit International offers a variety of porcelain, poly resin and specialty wood packaging and gift-with-purchase boxes. Price range, $0.50-$5 (prices vary with quantity).
Spirit International, Dallas, TX; (972) 444-8400.


  • Gift-with-purchase boxes and travel pouches.
  • Textured or corrugated papers for bags and boxes, inspired by German design.
  • Unique bags and boxes shaped to fit a specific product or a store's logo.

The Horizon Series by Gunther Mele is styled with a dome shape and available in white or burgundy Leatherette in six sizes. Price range $0.77-$0.99, depending on quantity.
Gunther Mele, Brantford, Ontario, Canada; (519) 756-4330.


Formica® Flooring offers a two-board, cherry-style laminate with a warranty against wear and fading. $3.99-$4.49 per square foot uninstalled.
Formica Corp., Warren, NJ; (800) FORMICA,
Amtico International's Marcasite tile, a sparkling silver graphite tile, is reminiscent of the mineral often used in jewelry. $8.10 per square foot uninstalled.
Amtico International Inc., Atlanta, GA; (404) 267-1900,
Play n Store Products' children's activity center is designed for a maximum amount of play in a minimal space for retail stores. Prices start at $2,500.
Play n Store, Cleveland, OH; (800) 371-5650.


  • Ivy and rough checkerboard variations in carpets.
  • Carpets using combinations of light marigold, wheat yellow, pistachio green, sienna, deep chocolate brown, silver and pink cranberry.
  • Nature-inspired faux material emulating wood and stone for hard flooring.


  • Designs, borders and store logos on hard floors.
  • Bright colors in wall paint to establish a company's identity.
  • Addition of play areas as stores become more kid-friendly.
  • Rich Asian-influenced reds and yellows and still-strong blues and purples for interiors, packaging and displays.


Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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