Visual merchandising is the manipulation of design elements and themes in retail outlets that creates a pleasant store atmosphere and experience for consumers. To successfully teach students on how to determine the appropriate strategies for different types of stores, training in both aesthetics and business is important. However, Hong Kong Chinese students have adapted a passive learning approach; they are result-oriented and insensitive to art, and therefore expect that instructors will provide guidelines, definite answers and examples during the learning process as the means to achieving good grades. This is a cultural phenomenon found in many Asian countries. Therefore, stimulating their creativity becomes a difficult task as absolute answers cannot be given in aesthetics and creativity. Instead of doing so, an approach that integrates a customizable design platform of an online store layout with store display assignments, and takes into consideration field research on local customs and aesthetics, is applied. A total of 100 Visual Merchandising students at a Hong Kong university have participated in this study. Focus group discussions and content analysis are chosen to collect and analyze the data respectively. It is found that the work of the participants do not have a high degree of aesthetic congruence with those of previous students which were provided as guidelines, and have adopted an open and creative attitude in developing store displays, thus indicating the success of this approach in stimulating student creativity. To further demonstrate their abilities, an exhibition has been organized that showcase their creativity to the public.
Derry Law, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Stream: Higher education
This paper is part of the ACE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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