Thursday, February 21, 2019

How to Design a Window Display From Concept to Creation - With Bonus Tips and Tricks Videos

Each year, I have the privilege to design the window displays for the Qualatex trade stand at Spring Fair, NEC, Birmingham, U.K. It truly is a job that I love doing, although challenging, I find that I can really allow my creative juices to flow!

Baby Boy window display by Sue Bowler - Balloon Art by Sue Bowler
Baby Boy Window Display by Sue Bowler. CBA.

Designing a window display is definitely worth pre-planning. Otherwise, you can end up filling a space without really knowing what you are trying to achieve. My role at Spring Fair is to showcase a range of new Qualatex balloon designs in a way that makes them look exciting and striking. 

Probably one of my favourite displays this year was the "Baby" window. I love the NEW "Baby Stripes" balloons; the beautiful pastels with gold and white are so elegant and completely on-trend!

18" "Baby Boy Blue Stripes"
also available in 9".

18" "Baby Girl Pink Stripes"
also available in 9".

Designing my displays

Sometimes I find the process quite easy, but not always, and so planning is especially essential for me. I start by creating a design board. I want to be sure that the ideas I imagined will be functional as well as pretty. I often use this same technique when I am proposing a design to a client, and have found that it really helps them to get a good understanding of what they will get. Below is the design/mood board that I made when working on this window. It helped me see how the balloon would look with a crescent moon shape and garlands. Although I did not re-create exactly what I had originally designed, I really did not deviate too far - that's pretty unusual! 

The ability to be able to download images directly from the Qualatex website in a png format (clear background) has made designing so much easier. I simply download all the balloons that I want to feature and then play around building shapes. If you are working on Columns, Arches or balloon walls, you can use Chris Adamo's fabulous design tool that will help you to produce good look design images every time! Designing the crescent moon was fairly simple. I import shapes into a Word or Pages document and build the shape that I am looking to make, add circles and fill them with the colours that I want to use. 

Balloon Display Design by Sue Bowler

Making the design

The display was created from two main elements - the crescent moon and the air-filled garlands. Using air-filled balloons in window displays is the key to longevity. The garlands are extremely long lasting and could be easily stored and re-used for a future display. The crescent moon has a limited life but to ensure that it looked its best for the entire show, I double-stuff all the latex balloons or treat with hi-float.

The crescent moon frame was made from a length of 6mm aluminium rod bend into a crescent moon shape. I actually used one of my hoops from another display as a template to ensure that I had a good curve. I secured the frame to a NOT base, which worked perfectly for this design. If you look at the finished design you will note that the base is white. I like to spray my bases with a white, quick-drying floral paint when I am creating pastel and light-coloured designs. 


To achieve the beautiful pastel blue that has been used for the Baby Boy Blue Stripes balloon, I double-stuffed Caribbean Blue with either White or Pearl White on top. Using both whites and mixing them into the design gave a subtle change in texture, some of the balloons looked a little more shiny whilst others had a subtle softness.

I also added a few under-inflated 11" Chrome Gold and some Gold Confetti-filled balloons too! If you are wondering what the tiny gold balloons are, they are a mix of small gold baubles and the inflated tips of 260Q Gold Chrome balloons! Excepting the 11" Chrome Gold balloons and the 260Q bubbles, all the other balloons are 5" inflated to different sizes.

Air-Filled Garlands

Making the garlands takes a little time, but the effort is truly worth it! My garlands were made from 4" Metallic Gold Stars, 9" & 18" "Baby Boy Blue Stripe" balloons. These were all air-filled and heat sealed as required. Each balloon was connected together using a very fine monofilament line. The finishing touch was to decorate each balloon with a tiny hand-made satin ribbon bow - it's the finishing touches that makes the difference!

The Display

The window space is quite small, so to make the best of the space, I use a layering technique to ensure that each element stands out in its own right. The long garland with the 18" balloon at the base was positioned towards the front of the window. The crescent moon was centred and slightly angled, and the shorter garland was positioned towards the back of the window. This gave the display a visual balance as well as the opportunity to see each of the elements very clearly for every position. The gold glitter balloons added an elegant twist to the design and reflected the confetti that is printed on the balloons.

Tips and Tricks

Here are two very short video clips that will show you how to make the mini 260Q Bubbles and how to make 5" Confetti-Filled balloons using Hi-Float, both of these techniques I used for the crescent moon design. 

Getting both window and in-store displays right are critical for the success of a business. They are the opportunity to show your brand and to promote products or seasonal themes. 

Happy Ballooning!



Sue Bowler (Marston-Weston) said...

My pleasure, to be honest I thought that I would used some 11" inflated to 6" but they were just too big.

Lilly said...

Hi Sue! What is that amazing contraption called that you used to open the 5" and fill with confetti?? I need one!

Unknown said...

It’s called a castrator. You can find them online or at a farm supply store. They are used to band animals. I won’t go into details why. Just look it up. Lol

Sue Bowler (Marston-Weston) said...

Thank you Lisa for answering Lilly's question... yes, it's a castration tool!

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