Interview • 27.03.2015
"The store windows are our calling card"
Interview with Nicole Werner, Visual Designer at fashion house L+T in Osnabrück, Germany
The design of the German Fashion House L+T is single sourced from the store window all the way to print advertisements. Nicole Werner, who was recently presented with the Award for Best Visual Marketing for her work, is in charge of design at the company. At EuroShop.de, she talks about creative ideas, successful planning and controversial reactions to interactive elements in the store windows.
Ms. Werner, for the past two and a half years, you have been responsible for visual design at L+T in Osnabrück, Germany. How important are the store windows for your company?
They are very important to us. The store windows have always been our calling card, because they make a first impression. Our storefront design is very distinctive, because we are not just decorating the store windows on the first floor, but also those on the upper levels to match our current theme. There is always a lot to design given that we have twelve store windows and one LED wall.
How do you choose your themes?
We decorate using seasonal themes. Together with our purchasing department, we define our trend topics after our fashion info presentations have taken place in-house. They are also a determining factor on which products we order.
What comes next in the planning process?
We start with the store window concept. From the beginning, graphic artists and visual designers are a part of this process. We then create the logo and print elements based on the seasonal design theme, in which the initial advertising brochure determines the look for all the subsequent mailings. Planning is done at least half a year in advance.
What advantages does one-stop design offer?
The biggest advantage is the recurring theme that runs through all levels. The continuous concept affects all of our creative work. We see the bigger picture so to speak. This year’s fall concept is reflected in the store windows, advertising material and on our webpage for instance. Under the header "The Fall Epoch", the recurring theme is a painting by Rubens with orange and gold-tone fall colors. Another recurring element are paper bags that feature this theme and our logo.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The whole world inspires me. I receive many newsletters and am an avid collector of newspaper clippings. I compile all of these ideas on my mood boards. Fashion trade shows in particular play a big role for me. That’s how I got the idea in the fall for the patterns that are reflected in the paper bag material for instance.
You also dare to use new technologies in the store windows.
Once we used augmented reality elements in another window for a month. We presented a so-called marker, for instance a flower, in a completely white store window. Customers were able to point at the flower with their Smartphone and ̶ if they liked also matched to their gender ̶ download an app via an integrated QR code in the store, with which they could choose their favorite store window theme. It then appeared on their display. Therefore, the customers chose what they wanted to see ̶ the flower in a natural or surreal environment for example.
How did your customers respond to this?
Some were totally crazy about it, while others were completely against it. Given that we had 1,600 users, the reaction was very strong in any case. By doing this, we understood that our store windows are being looked at. Our winter store window will once again feature a QR code that directs users to an Advent calendar.
What tip can you give other store window designers?
It is essential that you develop a store window look and your own corporate identity for your business. The world is a colorful place and there are lots of inspirations. Ultimately, anyone can interpret a theme in their own special way. Not just by using copy and paste, but by using your own handwriting. This is what I find especially exciting, because individuality is essential.
Interview: Natascha Mörs; first published on EuroShop.de