21 Art Fair Display and Merchandising Tips

With fall and holiday sales approaching, this week’s blog post gives you 10  display tips for artists to help merchandise their booths and elevate their displays.

  1. Its important to know that display should not outshine the product but should help elevate the items. You can always add simple branding elements like your logos or colors to add a personal touch to the display element. When in doubt, keep it simple or go with neutrals.
  2. The displays should fit the product they hold. Think about the shape of your items…. round items in square bowls looks unbalanced.
  3. Never buy a cookie cutter display from an online display and merchandising store without altering it to fit your brand or sized project. This is where tip #1 can also come into play.
  4. Keep materials (and material trends) in mind when building a display. While shiny white table tops with chrome table legs may be in, this look could be out in a year or two. Instead of following the trends – design a booth or display around your brand and your product. It will last longer both in durability and creative longevity.
  5. Consider hiring local artists, craftsmen, or woodworkers to custom make you what you need for your display especially if it brings added value to your items. This option can oftentimes be more affordable than you think.
  6. Plan for interactivity at your booth. While some creative merchandise and artwork shouldn’t be handled, consider how you can add a level of interactivity or selling culture around your items. Can you wear one of the t-shirts your selling or provide a small pop up changing room so visitors can try on your apparel? Can you make a small version of your painting where people can touch the texture while the original remains hands free? Will you let customers try on your jewelry? Find ways to get people interacting with your product because this will increase the likelihood that they will connect with your product and purchase your art.
  7. Dress the part – as suggested in tip #5, consider wearing some of your artwork if its wearable art. Otherwise show up to the art event looking like you fit the look of your brand. This doesn’t mean dress super professional, but it does mean look like you are apart of your business that you are promoting.
  8. Properly displaying your items includes proper signage and pricing. Consider how the logo, colors, and fonts that communicate this information also speaks to your brand.
  9. Customers shouldn’t have to hunt down a price. There are a variety of ways to do price point signage but make sure your product is labeled. It doesn’t need to be front and center on the piece, but it should be readily accessible.
  10. Tuck away what isn’t relevant to your set up. This includes your personal items (coat, purse, lunch, etc.). The customer doesn’t want to see your items. Find a safe place to store these items to prevent theft and distraction from your product.
  11. People often walk into spaces and stores and head to the right of the entrance. Make sure you have something there for people to look at and realize that usually items and product to the left often get missed.
  12. Things always look good in 3’s; its a good balance when displaying items.
  13. If something large sells, like a big piece of art, have a plan in place for its replacement. It will look very silly to have a big blank area in your booth because a piece sold. Spacing out work will help cover up the visual “hole” a significant sale will make.
  14. Overstocking your booth will tell your customer that the next time they see you at a marketplace or art fair, that you will probably have this work of art they are on the fence about. Keep your art and display curated, elevated and feeling special. Its okay to have multiples out, and its okay to let people know you have more than one of something, but don’t set out 5 prints of the same artwork out when 2 or 3 will suffice.
  15. An easy way to think about merchandising is to consider the function of the item. A good example of this would be apparel items like clothing. These items should be hanging or neatly folded and stacked (preferably not loosely air folded like you do your weekly laundry – spend some time here). Consider additional displays to showcase your apparel product on a dress form or even wear one of your items yourself. Consider the placement and display of every type of item for your both in this manner.
  16. Colorizing product is a great way to sort items so warm and cool toned product are placed near each other.
  17. Alphabetizing product is another way to sort your items and make it easy for the customer to locate product.
  18. Categorizing product keeps certain sized or type of items together.
  19. Collections of product can boost sales. Do the work for the shopper, pull together collections of items you can potentially sell as a group so you promote and increase sales. If you sell handmade gloves, display it with a hat that matches or a scarf. If you make jewelry find a set of earrings to accent a displayed necklace. If you are a ceramic artist, pair a teapot with a couple of tea cups.
  20. Create displays with your creativity and branding in mind, meaning develop your own look and theme to your set up. This takes time but it will really make your booth stand out.
  21. No fake plants – they collect dust and you are not fooling anyone

If you liked this blog post, you may also want to read this one too! 

Designing Displays for Art Shows & Retail Opportunities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *