Display Designer Careers

How to become display designer

What does a display designer do?

All shops and businesses have an image. Displays are placed in shop windows as well as inside stores and are designed to be eye-catching and attract customers into a store.

Display designers are responsible for designing and decorating displays. The displays may be to promote new products or may be themed or seasonal. Designers may receive instructions from head office or draw their own designs, sometimes using computer-aided design (CAD). Display designers are responsible for hiring, borrowing and making props. Selecting and positioning lighting to show off the product to its best advantage is also part of the work. Designers keep display areas clean and tidy and change displays regularly.

A similar role is that of visual merchandiser. Visual merchandisers do not create their own designs and are mostly responsible for arranging products according to display policy.

What's the working environment like for display designers?

Most display staff work 37 to 40 hours a week. Staff may be required to work evenings and weekends in order to have displays ready at the appropriate time.

The work is mostly carried out indoors, and some travel may be involved. Visual merchandisers may travel with a display team, visiting outlets and erecting displays. A lot of time is spent working on the shop floor, lifting, carrying and also climbing ladders. Shop windows can get very hot and cramped.

What does it take to become a display designer?

To be a display designer you need:

  • artistic ability with a good sense of colour and style

  • three-dimensional design and IT skills - particularly CAD

  • an understanding of how lighting works to enhance displays

  • to be imaginative and able to come up with original ideas

  • an appreciation of what image the business is trying to project

  • good planning skills

  • practical skills, such as carpentry and needlework

  • to be a good team worker but also be happy to spend hours alone when creating displays

  • stamina and physical fitness.


Display designer career opportunities

The majority of display personnel work for retail companies, either in the store itself or in a head office position. Other areas of work include: airports, seaports and cruise liners; attractions such as stately homes and theme parks; showcases for film and television studios; museums - creating themed and interactive displays; agencies which supply displays to smaller shops, banks and hotels; and photographers often use display personnel to create photographic backgrounds.

Newly qualified display designers are in demand and there are strong possibilities for promotion from junior positions to supervisory and managerial posts. Some display personnel work freelance. There are also some opportunities to lecture and teach on college courses.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about working as a display designer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

British Display Society
146 Welling Way
DA16 2RS
Tel: 020 8856 2030

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444

Skillsmart Retail
40 Duke Street
Tel: 0800 093 5001

Similar careers