Visual art can contribute significantly to a sense of wellbeing, and it can also stimulate and enhance mood. It also works as a marketing tool, encouraging people to buy, as a form of visual merchandising.
“You can prepare people to be in a state of readiness to buy with the visual stimuli you surround them with,” Paul Feather of Vista Digital explains. “What they see plays a big part in the experience they have when shopping, and shopping can most definitely be an experience, not just a means to an end.”
Art for Art’s Sake?
Typically, people think of visual merchandising as point of sale and window displays and other elements associated with shops. Paul, however, specialises in murals.
“You could see the mural as more of a one-stop solution to visual merchandising because much of its impact derives from its scale as well as its content”
This is encapsulated in a recent installation Vista Digital completed on behalf of the London auction house, Sotheby’s. Their Senior Designer and Visual Merchandising Manager, Simon Morris, was looking for a dynamic solution to promote sales which would work within the context of the business’ history, heritage and reputation.
“What we could offer, and deliver, to Sotheby’s was a large-scale solution which was a Onepiece, high-definition reproduction of one of theie key artworks up for sale”
The mural covered the entire wall of the stairwell leading down to the main auction room.
“This was an impactful idea, but it had to be of a quality that dovetailed with the piece it was a reproduction of. And with the whole ethos of Sotheby’s,” says Paul.
The Market, the Heart and the Head
Effective visual merchandising requires a clear understanding of the target market, and what is likely to work to elicit a positive response.
“You have to apply psychology to it,” offers Paul, “so that what you display clicks with your audience’s tastes and aspirations. It has to be appropriate to your audience, and to what you’re selling.”
The visual element should engage with people’s emotions, so that they undergo a shift of mood, however unconscious this is.
“With Sotheby’s we were highlighting the sense of occasion, and building anticipation. Just being present in Sotheby’s brings on associative feelings of value and our Onepiece mural added to this value, and introduced a strong, visual dynamic”
Just as the heart responds to visual stimuli, so does the head. The idea is to keep people’s interest, to intrigue them.
“What the mural is doing is upping the whole sense of prestige. It’s reinforcing the importance of the event, so that people attending are less likely to take anything for granted. In the end, I truly believe that in helping create this special atmosphere, we also helped drive Sotheby’s sales.”