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Online shopping has taken over the world, but a visit to a physical store remains popular. The way consumers shop has changed though: they do not come to the physical store anymore for the sheer convenience – they want inspiration, atmosphere, entertainment and experience. Shopping has become an outing and this trend continues in 2016. Mostly visual branding plays a big part in this, as it can create a real shop and brand experience. As for innovation there is a world to gain. Here are the most important visual branding trends for 2016.


Although the term visual branding itself only seems to focus on the eyes, stimulating all senses is a must for retailers. The visit to a physical shop is an important contact point, which can be used to positively influence the customer. Let’s take the combination of music and visual branding as an example. Music is a powerful tool: it creates an atmosphere and gives people a good feeling. A new technique that combines the visual aspect with music is the Soundwave Frame. This is an aluminum display in which thin, invisible speakers have been processed. The music can be streamed wirelessly from your iPhone to help determine the atmosphere in the store. However, all senses play a role, have people taste, feel, smell and do things.


Grabbing attention and holding on to it is becoming increasingly important. Dynamics and movement are ideally suited for that. Moving images and messages trigger rather than ‘passive posters’. More and more options are available: you can do a lot with lighting, but think of 3D printing and holograms as well. A new technique that can be added to the list is the dynamic animated lightbox. This technology goes a step further than the more often used lightbox, also known as LED frame: a frame with for example an advert printed on it, with LED-lighting to add more atmosphere. The dynamic animated lightbox works that way as well, with the additional possibility of showing animations via LED.


New printing techniques make it possible to print on even larger sized fabrics. From banners to lab walls and from Visual Magnetics to window stickers: 2016 is the year of big prints. The advantages are clear: you can go big visually and you have a lot more space to present your message, which makes it stand out. Use your storefronts to draw people into the store, while you influence the buying process instore by using large visuals. This way, not only your advertisements literally become bigger, but your revenue as well. As retail spaces are sometimes limited, the really large prints are often used out-store. Scaffolding is increasingly equipped with enormous canvases with brand expressions.


Of course, screens have made their appearance in stores a while ago, but are they used optimally? The combination of interactive screens instore with customers smartphones gives both the retailer and the shopper extra possibilities. Whether people visit your store physically or online: the visual branding should always have the same, good appearance across all channels (Omni channel). With screens you bring the online experience into the physical store. Instead of using standard displays for the screens you can design displays for the screen that integrate with the visual branding of the store in order to further strengthen the brand experience. Finally, you can send personalized offers via beacons to shoppers, when they are near or in the store. We can conclude that visual branding will become much more than just visual resources in 2016: with a mix of sound, light, scent, movement and technology, retailers can create the experience, atmosphere and inspiration customers expect from you. Shopping as an outing it is!

Niels van Straaten



"Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful."

Joshua J. Marine