Playing at Window Dressing

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The age when window displays were simply a collection of symmetrically ordered points of purchase die-cuts and actual packages are long gone — or are they? Maybe they’re just not as alluring as the windows from New Jersey (below) created by the Point of Purchase Advertising Society.

These displays from the 1940s are remnants of commercial simplicity, though effective marketing. Headache? Anacin is a good choice. Constipated? Feen-a-mint makes a dent. Thirsty? Stack up on Canada Dry. Blades? These are gems. Still Thirsty? Holy Cokes. Smoke? Call for Philip Morr-a-is. Five o’clock shadow? Gillette has perfect pitch. More Smoke? I’d walk a mile for a Camel.

The templates for how to compose a window suggested have a focal point surrounded by product, product, product. It worked too. Add to that a store wide event and watch those bottles, boxes and bags fly out the door.

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The International Design IssueThe October issue of Print, Steven Heller explores the Evolution of design magazines and speaks with the founders of the independent book publisher, Unit Editions. The International Design Issue explores everything from the posters of Cuban designers to the street art in Cairo to the UN’s design team.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →