As retailer store designers, we focus our initial efforts on our client’s brand and the customer experience to ensure our design achieves the clients’ goals. While some retail spaces might appear to be a ‘big open space,’ every retailer has a methodology for their business operations. As the designer, it is our responsibility to ask the right questions, understand the products sold, and be faithful to the brand identity. Some of our clients have an established brand identity, and some need our assistance to design their brand with them. In either scenario, our goal is to design retail spaces and create an experience that the customers love and want to return to time and time again.
After a store location has been selected, we then have the challenges of existing conditions to analyze (i.e., storefront conditions, low ceiling obstructions, uneven floor, odd-shaped lease area, utility locations). Some clients have pre-established design standards and in-house visual merchandising teams, which will help drive particular design factors, such as location and quantity of tables, fixtures, wall shops, and shelves. We design alongside the team to ensure the correct sales-to-stock area ratios, ceiling heights, lighting levels, etc., are being met while also meeting all the necessary code requirements. As the designer, we need to fit ‘XYZ’ into that space, and it can be very challenging when given a small or odd space to work with. For other clients who are establishing a new brand, we tailor the design, custom design fixtures, lighting, finishes, and specifications to the client’s specific needs.