Visual Merchandising And Architecture: One True Power Couple

Visual Merchandising


I have recently learned about this functional relation while researching my college project (commercial complex). I did not expect that visual merchandising could be essential to lead you to a better space design and a more functional structure. It fascinates people with brand storytelling through a theme and sparks their imagination via emotional impact and ambiance, transforming the place into a sensational destination.

What Is Visual Merchandising

Visual merchandising has a deep relation with Architecture and Design, especially commercial architecture, but many of us seem to underestimate the power of this relation. Visual merchandising is a tool to strengthen your purpose and communicate with the target audience via images, infographics, videos, or GIFs. In other words, visual merchandising illustrates your concepts and work, which can prove to be arduous only by using text.

Presentation plays a key role in increasing the conversion of any retail store. Visual Merchandising, because it is mentioned, has become an integral part of space planning. Right from the entrance to the Style of fixtures used, everything is used effectively to entice the customer to explore the space.

The average attention period of a human is just about 8 seconds! Surprisingly, we are much more easily distracted than a goldfish! Well humans, even being advanced creatures, can sometimes fall back.


About 65% of humans are visual learners! This shows the need for visuals in every aspect. Visuals also increase message retention by 42% and hence making it easier to gain a positive engagement from our target audience if displayed meticulously.

Relation Between Visual Merchandising And Architecture

The Framework

A proficient space design makes the place inviting, so visitors feel welcome and excited to explore the site. A physical structure’s architecture includes visual elements like the floor layout, the range of colours of the décor, and the backdrop, including three-dimensional window displays, shelf displays, and mannequins in case of a store or any commercial space.

Visual merchandising
Photo by Artem Gavrysh from Unsplash


It always makes sense to have a Layout that is open, uncluttered, and organized category-wise. The layout also leans on the type of space and its utility. There has to be continuity and a flow in the Layout which enables the visitor to browse the space independently with minimal help. With a free-flowing space design and marginal hindrances in the movement, the visitors will spend more time exploring and comprehending the spaces.

Visual Merchandising
Photo by  Jonathan Borba from Unsplash

Narrative Architecture

Through Narrative Architecture the space designed becomes a story. Visual merchandising arouses the visitor’s curiosity with storytelling to rework an area into a sensational destination that inspires and enchants the visitors. The architect or the owner of the space decides on the theme of the space, then exhibits a desired effect through the visual displays. Narrative Architecture advances from an introspective exploration of the architect’s or the owner’s mission and keenness, the function of the building, its site context, and even its place in history. Reworking the message into a theme and then morphing it into a story intensifies the experience. Architecturally, the desired theme can be accomplished by materiality, form, structure, and details.

Visibility In Architectural Layouts

Visibility translates to what’s seen is sold in commercial spaces. Visibility affects the way humans navigate. Architecturally speaking, visibility refers to a building’s spatial layout visible to a human. Numerous studies in psychology and architecture have brought out the massive influence of a building’s layout on how people navigate through it, interpret it by reading in between the lines, and understand the story being rendered by it. The space layout, space planning, and its purpose exert influence on the way people navigate through different parts of the space. While designing a public space, Frames of Visibility can be used, enhance the visitor’s visual experience.

Visibility In Commercial Spaces

In commercial spaces like malls, shopping complexes, stores, shops, and showrooms visibility paves the way for the retailers to feature the most prominent products that align with an unparalleled narrative and authentic brand image, while helping shoppers easily find the items they desire in a new York minute. The principle of visibility is to give precedence to the products retailers hype up the most, whether the items are high margin or exclusive enough to drive loyalty, recommendations, and engagement from the customers. There are various ways to enhance the visibility of your offices or commercial spaces.

White Spaces

White spaces give visitors time to take a breather. Few people enjoy working one’s way through a space swarming with immoderate merchandise/ elements/ information. white spaces help visitors relax and enjoy the store atmosphere. It makes the information readable and comprehendible as white spaces go easy on your eyes. White spaces create an unruffled ambiance. Architecturally speaking, White space is the area between or within design element(s). Visual merchandising through white space motivates architects to call attention to elements that relate to their key theme. Despite its name, white space doesn’t get to be white. It is often any color, texture, pattern, or maybe a background image.

Types Of White Spaces

Macro And Micro White Spaces

Micro white space:

Small spaces between or within design element(s) are micro white spaces. Micro white space features a direct impact on content legibility.

Micro white spaces
Photo of BbyB Ginza Chocolate Shop by Daici Ano From NENDO ARCHITECTS
Macro white space:

Macro white space is that the large space between major layout elements.

White spaces
Photo of BbyB Ginza Chocolate Shop by Daici Ano From NENDO ARCHITECTS

Active And Passive White Spaces

Active white space:

The white space is used to boost the structure and help lays the course for the user through a space. It is the space added in design intentionally to drive attention to a focal area.

Passive white space:

It is added to give a proper structure and a better comprehension of the design. It is like giving a facelift to the aesthetics of the layout without guiding the user through a specific flow or order.

Determining The Type Of White Space To Be Used

There are various ways to determine the type of white space being used. These can be used individually or in combos.


With more design element(s) within the layout, lesser amounts of macro white space are going to be available. On the flip side, we will be blessed with a good deal of micro white space. This compromise is vital; or else, spaces would just become clusters of elements!


The space design impacts the ratio between micro and macro white spaces in the layout. The design chosen by the designer/ architect can decide the inclination of the layout to one type of white space over another.


User research can be used to cherry-pick the right balance of macro and micro white spaces for your target audience.

Branding message

Using white space can give a hint of a company’s budget and thus the quality of the products.

All in all, the glorious relation between visual merchandising and architecture is a need of today’s world. We need to stop undervaluing the greatness of it.

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