Retail Design: creating award-winning spatial experience

The Red Dot Award: Communication Design enters a new round on 5 March 2018. From this day, agencies, designers and companies from around the world can enter their projects from the field of communication design. One of the 17 categories in which works can be entered is “Retail Design”. The discipline is a substantial element of a brand’s appearance since companies come that close to their customers at hardly any other place.

Storytelling at the point of sale
In times of digitisation, online trading enjoys a large clientele. All the more important is it for the local retail sector to attract customers on site and commit them to the business in the long-term. This can be best achieved by a positive shopping moment which the consumer wants to repeat. The purchasing should become an experience: stories are no longer told online only but also lived through in the shop.

Experiencing Gaggenau’s history
On the occasion of the 333rd anniversary of kitchen appliance manufacturer Gaggenau, the agency eins:33 from Munich designed the “Gaggenau Restaurant 1683”. It invited selected guests onto a time trip to the company’s origins in the Black Forest, Germany. From welcoming in proper style with a cuckoo clock to cocktail reception in an atmosphere reminiscent of a blacksmith shop to the restaurant area with visual, acoustic and aromatic characteristics of the forest – an outstanding brand experience was achieved which visualises at all levels where the history of Gaggenau began. The bridge to the present is the integration of the manufacturer’s latest kitchen appliances. They were used for preparing the menu. The Red Dot Jury awarded the Red Dot: Best of the Best for this excellent achievement which was realised between the poles of old and new, nature and high-tech.

Juror Philipp Teufel about the staging of rooms
Professor Philipp Teufel has been teaching and researching in the field of 3D communication at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf, Germany, for more than 20 years. Being an expert for the design of rooms, he is a member of the Red Dot Jury. He says about his profession: “As a designer and scenographer, I create the setting for museum exhibits or brands. In other words, just like a film director, I create an environment which can be experienced at an emotional level. The intention is to let the exhibits speak for themselves and for the brands to be felt and experienced. […] The topics and contents are always different and exciting. Sometimes you need to make sustainability experiencable and some other time luxury luggage is staged.”

Flagship store: concentrated brand staging
Where could the story of a brand be better told than in its own flagship or pop-up store? It offers manufacturers the possibility of a 360-degree communication. Free from smaller retail spaces, which are integrated into a bigger shop concept, they can communicate their brand promise at all levels in a concentrated way. A holistic approach enables for an integrated communication: from corporate design to advertising and packaging to retail design. No matter what medium, the consumer experiences a consistent image which accompanies all stages of his or her consumer behaviour.

Retail design as a challenge
The tasks and challenges associated with retail design are many and varied. Sales spaces are not only used for presenting the products to clients but alike for storing goods. This becomes apparent in an optician’s store: “lens and space”, designed by iiiudesign for fbv glass from Taiwan combines both aesthetic and functional aspects in a harmonious spatial experience.

Elaborate shop front
The customer should be stimulated to purchase something. This can only be managed if he or she is attracted to enter the shop in a first step. In this context, the shop front plays a decisive role. It is the walking advertisement and provides a view inward. In an impressive way, the Red Dot awarded pop-up gym “NIKE+ RUN CLUB” illustrates the link of the interior and the exterior. Situated on the lively Huaihai Road in Shanghai it is completely devoted towards the running experience: the live performance stats of the runners inside are displayed both to them and on the front to passers-by, drawing their attention to the Nike+ Run Club.

The right location
But the interior must also be well-conceived and meet the offered products’ requirements as well as promote sales. PRECIOSA Lighting from the Czech Republic recognised this, too, and employed Austrian studio Vasku & Klug to design the Preciosa Flagship Store Prague. It presents the manufacturer’s crystal chandeliers in an old city palace in the centre of Prague, which is reminiscent of the architecture which dominates in Florence – the perfect setting to stage the high-class luminaires and the brand promise. When it comes to entire shop chains the demands are many times higher, since the retail design must not only be applicable for one store but for many, which feature totally different spatial conditions. The design must be customisable.

Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2018
Current projects from the field of retail design will be evaluated by the jury of the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2018. From 5 March onwards, agencies, designers and companies from around the world can enter their works in the competition.

» Further information on the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2018

» Discover award-winning retail design in the online exhibition