How to Become a Window Display Designer

Written by joanna crain salinas
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How to Become a Window Display Designer
Mannequins (mode manikins image by araraadt from

If you are creative and have a flair for the dramatic, a career as a window display designer may be for you. Window display designers, or visual merchandisers as they are also called, come up with original ideas and create visual designs to promote and market a store's image, their products and services. They work closely with the ad agency, marketing team and store owner to make sure their window display's theme corresponds with the current marketing strategy of the business for which they are working. Job prospects are good for those with talent, creativity and skills, but job prospects are great for those with talent, creativity, skills and a degree from an accredited design school or college.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Take a drawing and painting class. You will be sketching out coloured designs for your display ideas. Your sketches need to be of good enough quality so others can understand your concepts.

  2. 2

    Sign up for a computer-aided drawing class or get a software program that you can learn to use on your own.

  3. 3

    Complete a marketing course, so you will understand what the ad and marketing team are trying to accomplish with your window display.

  4. 4

    Take a contracting course for simple construction and electrical work. When setting up displays, you will be setting up the whole scene from using boxes under fabric for staggering design elements to hooking up electrical elements such as lighting and mechanical fixtures.

  5. 5

    Practice draping large pieces of fabric so they lay naturally. Many designs will use fabric backdrops or fabric bases.

  6. 6

    Learn about colour theory and the colour wheel. You will need a solid knowledge of how colours work together and how to apply colour theory to your designs. For example, in a clothing store you will be designing clothing ensembles and dressing mannequins, so you'll need to know how colours work together.

  7. 7

    Interview several window display designers to learn about how they got into the business, what they think is important in preparing for a career in window display design, and what they suggest your next step be.

  8. 8

    Gain experience through volunteering or interning for an established window display designer or at an independent store or chain.

  9. 9

    Get a degree from an accredited art school, college or university. There are many degrees that will give you the foundation you need for a window display design career. Work with a career counsellor at your top school picks to see who can offer you the most direct path to becoming a window display designer, then enrol.

  10. 10

    Create a portfolio of all the designs you have created, in school or professionally. When you go on a job interview, the person or group interviewing you is going to want to see visual samples of your talent and skill set.

Tips and warnings

  • If you decide to become a freelance window display designer, instead of working for a company, then you will want to start collecting various types of mannequins, materials and props of the trade.
  • Pay can start as low as £9,100 a year for inexperienced designers. Building window designs can be physically taxing; you will be climbing ladders, lifting heavy objects and using power tools.

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