Judgement Day: Five Takeaways from a Store Design Competition


Sitting on a panel and reviewing leading design submissions from around the globe is a tremendous privilege – lots to be inspired by and plenty to learn from. I recently had the opportunity to chair the judging for the 43rd International Store Design Competition, which celebrates exceptional global retail design projects in over 20 categories from full-line department stores to manufacturer’s showrooms.

Five best practices rose to the surface throughout this judging process that may be of benefit to you or someone you know who is preparing for a competition:

1. Video can be a very effective way to present a project and a welcome disruption to still photography. Be selective in the music choice and make sure the ’tone of voice’ fits the project.

2. Ensure the story being told – through photography, video or other means – highlights what is unique about the project. The story needs to take the audience on a journey so judges truly understand the layout of the space.

3. Think through what the design should be remembered for. How can it connect emotionally and make a difference? Choose a powerful leading shot, headline and closing statement.

4. Beautiful architectural shots are great, but the inclusion of people and the effect of motion help inject personality and life into a submission that otherwise may seem static and dull.

5. Make sure the photos are color corrected and edited to showcase the design in the best light, but don’t go overboard or the submission may not be believable!


Who was the winner?

Of course, the point of the competition is to recognize outstanding retail design from around the world. I speak for the entire jury when I say that it was no easy task to select winners from such a wide variety of outstanding projects. The prestigious Store of the Year Award went to Umpqua Bank. For more winners and additional information about this design competition, please visit www.retaildesigninstitute.org.


March 21st, 2014 | Retail Therapy

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