3 weeks


Retail Store Environments, Pop-up Shops, and Trade Shows are a rich and dynamic design typology that engage the consumer at one end with Trade Shows being the back-end platform where retail purchasing agents discover new products. As a whole, these are very connected and designers can move between these user experiences very easily.

This assignment provides students with several choices of design options. Choose the direction that most closely fits your area of design concentration.

You may wish to work with or off from a brand you used in a previous assignment and now imagine that brand in need of:

  1. Trade Show Display with Retail Display "Furniture", or
  2. Mobile Retail and/or Event Pop-up with Display "Furniture"

When you go to a retail store, the mall, or any number of retail environments, notice there are usually a variety of free-standing floor displays, or cabinets with drawers, operable door panels, or hooks for hanging or storing merchandise. You rarely notice them as you're normally focused on the product that caught your eye, but if you take a closer look as how the merchandise is displayed, you'll often find an interesting piece of furniture that was designed specifically for that brand and the display of their product.

For this assignment research a company for which you love their product.

Research where their product is sold in stores and investigate their current retail displays.

Consider, record, and catalog all the "assets" that display will need to showcase.

Students are tasked to develop a new design for their chosen client/brand.


Students will need to use a system to control their basic perspective layout and proportions. You may purchase perspective grids, print them from Adobe Illustrator, or construct your own 1-PT or 2-PT Perspective Grid, or utilize the Pull-down System. You can even simply use a perspective photograph that is in the proper perspective as an underlay to help set up your space/environment. You may even use a base Sketchup (or similar) 3D model. There are a variety of systems used by designers that have some variation, but they all serve the same purpose, namely, to help establish good proportions and a control system for your design. Use a system you're most familiar and/or confident with, and by all means do not get so bogged down in a system that you are unable to design!

Consider the types of product your brand would need/want to show/display.

Consider unique methods to display your brand's product(s). Some things simply work, you don't need to fight it.

If choosing the Trade Show Display, you may wish to download and use the Long Beach Convention Center plan provided below. Although this plan is prepared for the International Motorcycle Show, it can be used as a general reference for many other types of trades shows, such as Agenda, the lifestyle and fashion trade show.

Consider materiality, walls, steps up, seating, hanging systems, etc.

Consider lighting.

Signage or logo brand placement.


Tradeshow Display "booth" area 12' x 24' with a typical wall/divider height of 10', and a Ceiling max limit of 30' -- You have a convention center with a


Week 1: Layout Construction (underlay) and Research Reference aesthetic language, brand culture, identity, etc.

20 preliminary sketches, approx 8x10" or similar on trace, etc. – Min of 6 in perspective, other views may be top, side, front views, elevations.

Articulate (draw) Design choices, use a grid or other control system, drill down on your idea(s) to refine the ideas you feel are strongest.

Week 2: Bring it all together into a Layout and Rendering for Presentation


  • Final Presentation on Bond, Marker Paper, or Computer Printouts, rendered using Markers, Ink pens, and Prismacolor Pencils, etc. and/or combined with Photoshop or similar digital rendering and/or layout program
  • A client background, analysis, mood, and materials panel/sheet/board
  • Basic Floor Plan, Rendered
  • A Longitudinal Orthographic Elevation, Rendered
  • At least 2 Perspective Views from different POVs.
  • 3 - 4 11x17" sheets should be sufficient


Audi display Shanghai Auto Show by Schmidhuber

George P. Johnson

JPS Designs Build

Some students find it helpful in planning their design(s) to utilize a convention center-type plan. Below are a couple for your consideration

International Motorcycle Show
at the Long Beach Convention
Center Floor Plan (PDF)

VRLA Floor Plan
at the Los Angeles
Convention Center (PDF)

Agenda Trade Show

Various examples of Active Lifestyle Brands at the Long Beach Convention Center

Brother's Marshall lifeguard towerKase Real EstateCreative ReCreationCreative ReCreation2D3EPGoProGoProNixonNixon2Nixon3Nixon4ParafinaModus BearingsSanukStanceStance2PrimitivePrimitive2Dark SeasBrand not knownShape StudiosStapleFi Collection?Unknown sneaker brand20 - 24<>



Retail display design includes freestanding floor displays for apparel, helmets, and other merchandise
called "table" and "gondola" styles, wall systems, "new bike island" (motorcycles), and cash wraps.
Below are a few examples taken from the brand Ducati.


View of the Diavel on display with back-lit illuminated photography.Diavel on display in the immediate foreground, a faring or gas tank gondola display, center (mid-ground), and the Café in the
far-ground right.
Ducati Trade Show SystemBack of the Café.Notice this design is essentially
a box with large radius corner rounds. The canopy looks like a circle in perspective, ie. an ellipse.
Notice the video display is projecting off the wall and
the shadow shows us. Maybe
your design reconsiders this design.
C. New Bike IslandA New bike "Island" is a type of retail display design to feature the most recent new motorcycle model being feature. Notice this computer model is very "generic" and lacks good rendering light logic.The merchandise display above is a "table" furniture and can serve as a reference for understanding some of the types of merchandise that might also be displayed.The merchandise display above is wall-based, but can serve as a fine reference for understanding some of the types of merchandise that might also be displayed on either the Table or Gondola.A. TableTable merchandise display furniture. Consider adding drawers or cabinets to conceal additional stock.B. GondolaThe Gondola is a freestanding merchandise display furniture, easily movable system where hooks can be added for hanging clothing and shelves are vertically adjustable.Photo above of actual bike island in store.


MAC and Benefit inside Nordstroms, left.


Left. Various elements for the Lapierre cycling brand, shown here without bicycles in place.Shoe (and helmet) display for an area bike shop.Right. Display system for a major wheel company, ZIPP.


Watch displays from a few different brands.


Two sides of the same gondola for this off road suspension company.


Here are two examples of Vendor Islands at an area outlet mall.


Ergonomic Considerations

Long Beach International Motorcycle Show

Long Beach Convention Center

November 16–18, 2018


Los Angeles Convention Center

May 4–5, 2018

Agenda Show

Long Beach Convention Center

June 28–29, 2018




All assignments depend on strong application of the following:

Base Construction System. 1pt-, 2-pt grid, or 3-pt Perspective, or 3D Modeling Software for Base underlay.

Details. Articulation of and Scale via the human figure.

Rendering Values. Various techniques include cross hatching in graphite, pen, and/or in marker,
rendering with color pencils, rendering with marker and pencils.


While each assignment will have a primary representation focus, most if not all, will include some combination of the following stages and/or drawing types. It is the student's responsibility to become well versed in these types, and when/where they are used in the design process:




Exploratory and Analysis Sketching.
By drawing, you are thinking about the problem and considering solutions while not jumping to first-thought solutions, which may be strong, or may be lame, but drawing helps to discover what you know, and don't know and can do more research and development of.

analysis sketch evaluating existing circumstancesexploration sketch considering potential solutionsrefinement of concept sketch



Below, a preliminary rough sketch for an exhibition display. Notice the Logo would need to be corrected to comply with the correct logo, italicized and bolder lettering style. Other styling cues, such as rounding of some corners should also be developed. Display stands need representation of accessories, bikes need to be added and people should be traced from photos or entourage. More background context should also be added.


Feel free to sketch the environment in which your display furniture will live. These sketches do not need to be the primary focus of your design, but may be a great complement to your presentation.





  1. Challenge students to make choices and develop surface changes based on core shade and rendering logic.
  2. Challenge students to apply perspective drawing logic to small scale environments.
  3. Challenge student's ability to create organic and complex surface changes.
  4. Challenge student's ability to develop a coherent system for a specific brand.


The following Rubric will apply in assessment of the student's work product, presentation, and/or process:


* Estimate only. See instructor and calendar for specific due dates. Summer Session schedule is more compressed with one week equal to approximately two and half semester weeks.

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