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  • Welcome to the Retailworks Blog!

    Our close-knit team has over 250 years of experience in art, design, branding, visual merchandising & display, architecture, general contracting and cabinetry work. We're here to impart information that will make you think, laugh, and wonder. If you are looking to strengthen your "customer's experience", and increase traffic, sales and profit, then follow us. You'll never look at your environment the same way again. Read, learn, and enjoy!

Create beautiful, inexpensive window displays using only one key product: Paper!

Window displays are crucial for attracting consumers to your retail space. Not only do they provide free advertising, they help set the tone of your brand before your customers even cross your store’s threshold.

Whenever you need a fresh idea for decking out your windows, you can turn to paper! It comes in many forms, and almost all of them can be used creatively to design bold, colorful and captivating window displays. Paper is easy to find, easy to manipulate and easy on a budget.

Mackinac Window DIsplay

Our Social Media Strategist enjoyed this fun window display featuring colorful papers in Mackinac Island, Michigan. Strips of pastel paper hung from clear wire create a whimsical display, making the store’s merchandise stand out.

envelopes window display Merch Mart

Our founder spotted this intriguing window display at Mart News. This is a great example of how paper can be used for decorating no matter what form it comes in. Envelopes arranged in a vibrant color pattern make a statement and add dimension, livening up the display.

sticky notes window display

Paper is an excellent option when you have a large window space to cover. It can change the shape of your window display and control how much light gets into your store. Post-It Notes arranged in in the shapes of different profiles draw interest and, in this wavy pattern, create movement, which is a proven method for grabbing attention.

wreath window display

Switching out your window display for the holidays can be pricey, but not if you use paper as your main attraction! This display incorporates the theme of gift giving by using gift tags as its paper product. Paper can easily be overlapped to create texture as shown in this cheerful display.

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Another great thing about using paper in your displays is that you can use recycled materials, as well as recycle your entire display when you are ready for something new in your windows. This will help your business be more eco-friendly, a value that may be important to several of your customers. Anthropologie always provides wonderful display inspiration, and we love their window display created from the pages of recycled books!


If you’d like help creating a custom window display for your store, whether it be made from paper or any other materials, visit us at! We can help you showcase your brand and increase sales by designing a window display that will draw consumers in. For more display inspiration, follow us on social media.

Savvy Signage

At Retailworks, we are always looking for fresh inspiration. Sometimes, this comes from travel! Our president and founder, Lyn Falk, took a trip to Colorado earlier this month, and was very impressed with the signage she saw in downtown Fort Collins and Louisville.

Great exterior signage can really help your business stand out, especially on a bustling main street! Check out these amazing vintage, blade and marquee signs:

This illuminated blade sign will draw customers into a store both day and night. Millennials in particular appreciate strong, creative graphics, and signage like this will catch their eye.

blog sign 1

This vintage sign retains the charming feel of original city buildings, while establishing branding before a consumer has even crossed the restaurant’s threshold.

blog sign 2

Marquee signs generate excitement and catch attention right away. When people are selecting a place to dine, signs like these can really make all of the difference!

blog sign 3blog sign 4blog sign 5

If you need custom signage for your business, or advice on your next design or display project, visit us at or follow us on social media.

The Future of Conference Spaces

Meeting rooms play an influential role for many businesses. They foster idea brainstorming and development, teamwork and knowledge-sharing, and workplace organization and seamlessness. Having a functioning, up-to-date meeting space is key to maintaining strong collaboration and productivity.

With millennials playing significant roles at several companies, it is crucial to be sure meeting spaces are not stuck in the past. The incorporation of brainstorming tools, technology and innovative design can help make a business’ conference center more constructive and creative, leading to better ideas and happier employees.



Better Brainstorming

Instead of having an office with scratchy carpeting and a PowerPoint projector, consider creating more of a relaxed, collaborative space, where workers can easily brainstorm and advance relationships with their peers. An open, more casual meeting center with snacks and couches, in addition to the ordinary desk-with-chairs set-up allows for more mingling and group work. Millennials work well in small groups, so it is important to give them an area in which to flourish.



Next, consider letting workers write on the walls of your meeting space! Nothing gets creative juices flowing like being able to draw big, colorful drawings and list ideas without boundaries. IdeaPaint is a new finishing that allows walls to be written on, erased clean, and used again. Perhaps, in the future, we will even have walls that record what one has created on them and send it directly to one’s computer.



Even though our walls can’t record what we write so far, our white boards can! There are new digital whiteboards that record everything you do, so not only can you go back and see your end product, but re-watch the entire process that lead you there so that your ideas can be refined and perfected.

Allowing employees to take a small “play break” in the middle of a meeting can also help inspire them. Millennials work better when they take mini breaks, so give them a moment to tinker with new technologies, play a brief game or even visit a new location via augmented reality. Often fresh ideas come when one is exposed to new scenery, so viewing a beach or forest via augmented reality would be an excellent method for one’s creativity to be renewed.




Tuned-In Technology

The development of hands-free voice-control speakers, such as Amazon Echo, allows for a more streamlined, uninterrupted meeting setting. Hands-free speakers can receive vocal commands, and then access both the surrounding environment and the Internet to find solutions. For example, a presenter can shave seconds off a meeting by asking the speaker to dim the lights instead of getting up to flick a switch prior to their presentation.

In addition, if specific information is needed during a meeting, employees can ask the speaker for answers instead of leaving whatever they currently have pulled up on their computer to search the web themselves. For example, one may inquire anything from the definition of a word to the description of a local business. In addition, the speaker can read articles and business reports out loud.



These speakers can also be asked to set a timer, keeping the meeting on schedule or even setting aside a 10-minute chunk of time for brainstorming. When a meeting has a set time length, workers are more likely to focus on the job at hand so that it can wrap up on schedule.

The Amazon Echo can also keep workers on task by memorizing, reciting and adding to a to-do list. In addition, it can e-mail the remaining items on the list to the meeting’s attendees when it is over. It can also remember your schedule and remind you of when somebody is next using your meeting space.

These speakers eliminate several forms of interruptions from meetings and therefore make a conference smoother, faster and ultimately more efficient. Perhaps, in the future, hands-free speakers will even be able to record meeting minutes.

Instead of featuring just one projector screen in your meeting space, consider hanging multiple screens, where information can be moved from one screen to another and several ideas can be presented, contrasted and compared at once. Everyone in the meeting should also be able to view the content on the screens on their personal devices, so that even the person sitting farthest away can still view all the materials.



Developments in technology also allow people to view the same thing, mark it up and drag it between screens whether they are in the same office or across the country. In addition, videoconferencing and file-sharing programs make remote collaboration much simpler.


Up-To-Date Design

Use creative design in your meeting room instead of a traditional office feel. Include many windows for natural sunlight and a pop of color to keep the space lively. You can even invest in smart glass technology, which transforms windows from transparent to opaque with the touch of a button.



A desk that can be adjusted into a standing desk is also a helpful touch for when employees are feeling sluggish. Standing helps keep people alert and has wonderful health benefits, especially after a long day of sitting.

Extend your brand’s story into your meeting space, whether it be through your color palette, a mission statement on the wall in bold font or an attractive branded display. This is essential because you never know when a client will end up in your conference room. In addition, it will ensure your workers know the brand by hart, teach corporate values and inspire employees.




For more tips on how to design or brand your corporate space, visit us at or follow us on social media!

Warm to Cool: A Single Light that Changes Temperature

Last week, our team received a presentation about tunable white technology, which is specialized LED lighting that is easily adjustable to fit the needs of a space throughout the day, or to program the ambience of a space for special events. Tunable lights use both cool and warm LEDs, allowing the light system to display a vast range of color temperatures, from 2200K (yellow-orange light) up to 4500K (blue-white light). They can also be dimmed.



Business owners/managers can easily manipulate the hue and brightness of the lighting in their space at any time by using an app on their phone, or by setting up a scheduled timer in advance. This is a perfect option for not only retailers, but spaces that need to change their lighting to create a variety of moods throughout the day.

Here are 5 spaces that would highly benefit from installing tunable white technology:

1. Churches

These spiritual spaces hold a variety of events that need to create vastly different moods. For example, weddings and funerals are two scenarios that would benefit from having very different lighting. Tunable lighting provides this change quickly, by simply clicking a button.




2. Cafes

Cafes and restaurants often desire a bright, energetic tone in the mornings, but need a warm, calming tone in the evening. Tunable technology allows these spaces to easily control the mood-lighting as needed.




3. Clothing stores

This technology works great in dressing rooms, where customers can try on an outfit in lighting that matches that of the event where they will be wearing it later. This is important because lighting can change the appearance of clothing fabric and skin tones. The ability to have a light that changes to match different environments is a great customer perk.




4. Schools

Imagine being able to adjust the lighting in an elementary school to help children focus on the task at hand. After recess, the lighting could be changed to a warmer color to calm children for their next activity. Additionally, lighting could be adjusted to a cooler color to increase children’s concentration and alertness prior to taking a test, helping maximize performance.




5. Hospitals

Tunable white technology could make a big impact in hospitals and nursing homes, where the lighting can be adjusted to meet the needs of the patient. For example, lights that provide a dimmer/warmer hue could be used in Alzheimer’s patients’ rooms at night while they sleep, and then slowly be adjusted to brighter/cooler colors for daytime activities. Tunable technology allows for a gradual change in color temp.




Overall, we see a lot of growth for this changing light technology because of its versatility, easily adjustable features, and ability to make a powerful impact on a space and its occupants.

To learn more about ways to properly illuminate your space, or for design tips in general, visit us at And follow us on social media!

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Augmented Reality in Retail

Two of our designers, Holley and Carmen, attended Milwaukee Tech Engine’s AR/VR Meet-up, where they learned about the latest and greatest in augmented and virtual reality. With the advent of Pokemon Go, we have already had augmented reality on our minds, so we were excited to hear their takeaways from the meeting. While AV and VR will have beneficial uses in several fields as the technologies advance, we are especially excited about the new opportunities they create in retail!

Try it On

Phone apps are using augmented reality to allow consumers to “try on” products at home. For example, the app TryItOn Jewelry helps people to visualize how a piece of jewelry would look on them by viewing it on their body through their phone. Several jewelers are registered through this app, so consumers can pick out pieces they like when shopping online and then “try them on.” The ability to actually see how a product would look is especially helpful when customers are making a decision about a high-involvement purchase.












Digital Packaging

Augmented reality can also be used to extend a product’s packaging into a digital space. Sometimes, in order to keep design clean, a product’s package cannot incorporate all of the information that is ideal. However, Heineken solved this problem by using AR to give themselves more space to reach the consumer. They allowed customers to scan Heineken bottles with their phones to learn more information about the product, enter a contest and even watch a video. Heineken obviously has limited room for branding on a bottle, so they increased this space by extending their marketing content virtually.



Changing Point of View

In addition, our designers learned at the AR/VR Meet-up that augmented reality is being used to help interior designers create a space in ways that benefit different groups of people. For example, older adults often have a hard time seeing certain hues or spotting the difference between two similar colors. AR can allow a designer to visualize a room through the eyes of senior citizens so that the space can be best designed to be aesthetically pleasing and meet their needs. Not everyone views the world in the same way, and AR is a great tool for helping designers to understand the perspectives of others!









For more retail and design tips, visit us at and follow us on social media!



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