Retail Better: Declutter Your Stores’ Windows

Discover how to declutter store windows and improve your stores’ appearance while still conveying your big idea. GSP’s Chief Creative Officer Steven Cohen shares an industry secret on how retailers can accomplish these three tasks at the same time.

3 Ideas to Boost Summer Beer Sales

Summer is the ideal time to drive traffic to your convenient store or supermarket beer displays. Here are three cost-effective signage ideas sure to capture your beer customers’ attention and generate repeat business all summer long.

Aisle Invaders and 3-D Floor Graphics – Drive traffic to non-refrigerated beer displays with a header, aisle invaders and floor graphics featuring 3-D photography. Create impact and enhance visibility with aisle invaders. Designed and produced with large contour cut beer bottles and combined with graphics that use special photographic techniques allow products to truly pop.

Aisle Invaders and 3-D Floor Graphics
Beer Cave Destination – Brand your beer cave with a brand appropriate name and graphics that fit your stores’ style. Think cool destination over convenience. Use inviting indoor and outdoor store signage to increase visibility and entice customers to visit the beer cave.

Beer Cave Destination
Mix and Match Six-Packs – Incorporate a mix and match six-pack section allowing customers a convenient way to create their own six-pack of beer. Providing a mix and match beer area can also turn one bottle beer purchases into six-pack sales. A “Create Your Own Six-Pack” area gives you the opportunity to spotlight multiple brands while letting craft beer connoisseurs sample a variety of local and regional beers and microbrews.

From beer caves to complete store remodels, GSP’s Design team delivers. Visit our portfolio page and case studies to learn more.

Effective POP Design - Part 2 of 2: Product and Shape

Part one of this series outlined the challenge that an effective sign must meet to drive sales: it must capture the consumers’ attention quickly while clearly communicating the retailer’s offering. Designers achieve a balance between these two priorities by leveraging the basic elements of POP design: typeface, color, product image, copy and shape.

SEE: Effective POP Design – Part 1 of 2: Typography and Color

In part two of this series, we explore how top designers leverage product images and shape to create effective signs.

Effective POP Design - Product


Graphics should be designed to showcase the product or products being sold as the “hero element of the sign.” The graphic or photographic treatment of the image should highlight the “benefits” of the product: for example, fountain drinks should look cold to suggest cool refreshment and hot food images should be styled to show the mouth-watering ingredients. To do that, it’s important to incorporate a high-resolution well photographed and styled image of the product — one that will work well for large format graphics and signage.

Not every product image can be translated onto every sign, so keep it simple and remember to maintain white space. An industry guideline is 30-40% of the sign area should be blank or resting space. Too much clutter distracts potential customers and the message gets lost.

Effective POP Design - Shape


The overall shape of a sign can play an important role in its effectiveness. Signs in non-rectangular, unique shapes often grab more attention than a traditional rectangular sign.

Leverage shape in POP by using contour cuts to highlight the product: for example, cut a sign for a fountain promotion in the shape of a fountain cup. Retailers can also leverage shapes to reinforce their brand. McDonald’s, for example, will often shape their window graphics as “arches” playing on the “golden arches” identity that they have built, and Target will often incorporate a round target shape into the signs throughout their aisles.

If the specialty cutting and fabrication required to create shapes is too costly, retailers can “fake” the shape by using a combination of clear stock and printed graphics to create the illusion of a countour-cut graphic.

Remember to utilize these key elements for effective point of purchase signage design… incorporate the right typeface and message, the right use of color, make the product the hero and utilize unique contour-cut shapes. You’ll capture your customer’s attention, entice them to try something new, and see improved results from your in-store marketing efforts.

Inexpensive Tools to Improve the In-store Experience

Retailers often think major remodels are the only way to update their store and the customers’ in-store experience. For alternative ideas, Steven Cohen, GSP’s Vice President of Design Services, and Lester Morrow, Industrial Design Creative Director, recently visited various stores to look for merchandising areas with room for improvement. As a result of these store visits, they provided some simple and easy-to-implement solutions to improve the in-store experience and create impact. Here are their recommendations.


Create a system to communicate your offer. Customers only have so much time to find and purchase the item they’re looking for. Make it easy for them to navigate the store space by creating focus—and establishing visually appealing destinations for the main store categories, such as coffee, fountain and foodservice. Consider using a “graphics system” for identifying key areas (see the image on the left above) rather than creating widely varying graphics for each area. A simpler, uniform system will often make it easier for consumers to make purchasing decisions and shop.


Create visually appealing category destinations—organization is key for an improved in-store experience. Equipment is often different heights which creates a visual disturbance or “skyline effect” as shown in the image to the left. By arranging the equipment so that they line up at the top, and by also creating centralized storage for condiments and utensils, you will ensure your category destination areas look neat and organized.


Create your own “Wall of Value.” Make sure that bulk displays do not detract from the overall presentation of the store. For example, in the image on the left, the multiple stacks of packaged drinks result in visual clutter. A moveable platform solution with packaged drinks grouped together with branded background signage can help market and bring focus to your products.

Add Sparkle to Your Holiday POP Promotions

Specialty Ink


Incorporating specialty inks, such as multi-chromatic, pearlescent, metallic or glitter inks in menu board graphic inserts, standees and other POP elements will make your displays sparkle… literally. Combining the specialty inks with other unique printing techniques, such as clear glitter and heavy deposit, can create a unique effect for snow or ice.


Unique Substrates

There are also unique substrates that you can use to increase visibility of your POP. Azuna stock will literally make your POP message pop with its unique 3D appearance. Graphic transparent material has a
reflective mirror-like quality. Aluminum metal decal
material has a unique brushed aluminum look and the
4-color neon cling material provides a bright neon window sign that is sure to get attention.


LED Lighting

For truly attention-grabbing effects, add LED lights to your POP. Illuminating your message with bright, vibrant lights will direct customers’ focus to your display. Low power / high output LEDs are available in a variety of sizes, colors, types, display applications and lighting patterns. Their low power consumption ensures that they will last for extended periods without battery changes.

GSP stocks a variety of substrates in multiple thicknesses to suit particular interior and exterior applications for graphics, signs and POP displays. We also have specialty ink and LED lighting options available. For more information click here.

Why POP Audits are Beneficial

Improve your Marketing ROI by Reviewing POP from the Store-level.

POP Audits are a comprehensive review of a retailer’s current in-store marketing program made from
the consumer’s point of view. The audits involve store rides to several store locations and provide critical feedback on consumer experience, store-level execution and overall impact of your POP program.

POP Audits can help you understand whether you are getting a return on your POP investment by answering the following questions:

  • Are you clearly communicating your in-store offering to your customers?
  • Are consumers seeing too many or too few messages in your POP?
  • Is your POP design eye-catching?
  • Are stores receiving too many, too few or the wrong signs?

Below are some of the key issues GSP reviews when conducting a POP audit.


POP Audits - POP Design

Are signs designed in a way that will capture the consumers’ attention, clearly communicate the offering and not make the store look cluttered? For example,
if the promotion is price-driven, does the design highlight the price without cheapening the overall look of the store? Is POP clearly visible? Too often POP that looks good on a computer screen “blends in” when placed in stores. Are signs legible? Is the typeface sized properly and easy to read?


POP Audit - POP Selection

Are we using the best POP element and the best POP position for each offering? For example, are “traffic-building” promotions featured on outdoor POP? Are “up-selling” promotions featured on in-store POP? If the elements are not properly allocated, determine whether the process for assigning signs to offerings can be improved. If POP elements are not in the right positions, ask store associates how they know where to place elements. There are automation tools that can provide store-specific, illustrated placement guides for POP installation. Click here for more information.


Some POP kit errors are obvious: for example, a window sign promoting a product that is not available in the site. However a POP audit should include a deeper review to uncover less obvious inaccuracies such as POP overages. The auditor should look in the “back room” or even the dumpster to see if extra signs are going to stores. If so, the auditor should review the existing profile for the store to determine whether inaccurate data or inaccurate packing is causing the overage.

POP Audits provide key lessons for improvements, and are important to schedule on a routine basis. Providing feedback from the consumer’s point of view, audits help determine how effective your POP program is in the store, and identify opportunities for costs savings and ways to improve your ROI.

Effective POP Design - Part 1 of 2: Typography and Color

Effective POP Design - Window

An effective sign must meet two challenges: it should capture the consumers’ attention and it should clearly communicate the offering. Designers achieve a balance between these two priorities by leveraging the basic elements of POP design: typography, color, product image and shape.

In this two-part article, we explore how top designers leverage these basic elements of POP design to develop signs that sell:


Visibility, legibility and readability are three main considerations when choosing the right typography and message for a point of purchase graphic or sign.

First, choose a bold typeface style that is easily legible and has sufficient spacing between letters. Sans serif fonts and open styles such as Verdana tend to be more legible. You should work with a lettering style that works visually, yet still affords prime readability. Avoid thin or fancy script lettering as they decrease visibility – especially when signs or banners must be read from a distance.

When designing your sign, consider how far away the readers will be. For example, if you are placing a sign inside your store, your text only needs to be visible to the people in the store. 1-2” letters will work. However, if you are hanging banners and want drivers on a nearby highway to be able to see them, design your letters at 3” or even larger. Your sign’s size will also determine the height of the lettering you should use. A good rule of thumb is every 1 inch of letter height provides 10 feet of readability with the best impact.

For readability, less is better – keep copy short and clear. For best results to engage the customer, use a “call to action” that is readable and understandable at a glance.


Choosing the right colors will not only help get your POP noticed, it can also help you set the tone or support an established company message. Use colors that are in your company’s logo, product’s logo or colors that will increase the “eye-catchability” of your sign. 85% of shoppers place color as a primary reason for why they buy a particular product.

A high color-contrast factor will make your signage easier to read, and there are
certain color combinations that are more legible than others. The most easily read combinations are black on yellow, white on black or yellow on black. Other effective color combinations are black or blue on white, and white on blue. Backgrounds and lettering with similar color intensities are not necessarily good choices, as they lack adequate contrast. Similarly, a too-bright background with colored lettering gives an illusion of motion
or vibration.

Color also has the unique ability to attract specific types of shoppers and change shopping behavior. Red, orange, black and royal blue attract impulse shoppers. Navy blue and teal attract shoppers on a budget and pink and sky blue attract traditional buyers. Yellow is an attention-getter, black represents power,
and green is positive and calming.

Also, it’s important to note that 8% of US males are color-blind. Use color combinations that retain contrast when viewed by color-blind people. Blue and yellow, for example, are a good combination, but blue-green or aqua on white or gray are difficult combinations for a color blind person to read.

Color is Significant Sales Driver

GSP provides design services for many leading retailers. Click here to see how our Design Services team can help bring your retail vision to life… from concept to store-level execution.

Retailer Focus: Dunkin' Donuts

POP Lessons From a Coffee Leader.

Dunkin' Donuts Store Front

Dunkin’ Donuts has over 10,000 current locations worldwide with over 7,000 throughout the United States. With a focus on coffee and baked goods, the growing chain has built a strong brand in the coffee arena in recent years, and is on an aggressive path to add more stores.

The new Dunkin’ Donuts stores have a fresh, modern feel with the inviting aroma of coffee and pastries. There are coffee displays and standees with large coffee photographs near the entrance and coffee counter. The menu panel has many offerings but clearly highlights new drink and food items for big idea impact. On the exterior, there are large iconic coffee images for powerful brand identity that is visible from the street.

Dunkin' Donuts Window

To market and communicate their large variety of coffee flavors and product offerings, Dunkin’ Donuts utilizes a variety of big window signs, produced and contour-cut to different cup designs. The cup decals are simple, with minimal copy and without a highlighted price, but they have big impact. The coffee signs wrap the building.

They communicate their heritage and tagline (America runs on Dunkin’) though their napkins, cups and other product packaging. The brand presentation is consistent across POP and packaging. They also use their primary coffee cup to highlight their new coffee offerings, such as the new Dunkin’ Dark Roast.

Key POP lessons from Dunkin’ Donuts:

  • Large in-store signage with bold photography for best visibility and strong coffee impact
  • Strong brand identifiers with prominent logo and iconic coffee images outside the store
  • They let the drink tell the story with key brand messaging and new product offerings promoted on the coffee cups
  • Use a variety of cup designs to market the drink offerings boldly on the windows with large sign decals contour-cut into different cup shapes
  • The signs also do not highlight a price—it’s all about the experience of the coffee drink
Dunkin' Donuts Store Front

Dunkin’ Donuts strong branding initiatives, logo, tagline and iconic coffee graphics all talk to coffee – resulting in an effective, cohesive marketing campaign. Their bold signage choices work well inside and outside the store to build brand recognition that drives sales and customer loyalty for repeat business.

GSP designs and produces innovative POP signage, such as the contour-cut window signs shown here, for many leading retailers. Click here to see our portfolio.

View our Branding Success Stories Contact Us Today!

How Will 3-D Printing Impact POP?

New Technology an Option for In-store Prototypes

3-D printing, a technology that forms physical objects from a digital rendering by printing in layers, is quickly gaining popular momentum in the manufacturing and consumer products worlds. By eliminating the need for engineering, tooling, grinding or drilling used in traditional manufacturing, 3-D printing enables manufactures to fully automate the process of transforming their digital designs into actual objects. It is even enabling consumers to become “armchair” manufacturers:

MakerBot, a leading 3-D printing company, recently opened up their first retail location in downtown Manhattan, where customers can custom-design and have produced 3-D printed knickknacks like watch bands and other small plastic objects.

The technology is still in its infancy. Nonetheless, it could lead to major innovations in the way retailers approach store design. In the short run, 3-D printing technology will enable retailers to obtain prototypes of fixtures, displays and other three-dimensional display elements faster and, in some cases, at a lower cost. The automation of 3-D printing will reduce if not eliminate the need for expensive tooling and labor-intensive set-up. Prototypes will not necessarily consist of the same materials that would be used for the final display. Nonetheless, 3-D printing will enable retailers to see a scale or actual-size model of the industrial designer’s rendering much faster than current prototyping methodologies.

In the long run, 3-D printing may drive more innovation in store décor by making the production of store-specific product displays and fixtures more cost-effective. Currently, most multi-site operators cannot afford to tailor merchandise displays, menu systems or 3-D design elements such as category identifiers to the individual needs of each store. Providing special fixtures for merchandise that may only be available in a limited number of stores leads to excessive costs and can create execution challenges for store associates who are unfamiliar with the special displays. As 3-D printing advances, however, merchandisers will be able to design and produce one-off fixtures that satisfy the requirements of specialty merchandise. Merchandisers may even have the opportunity to involve store employees in the design changes.

3-D printing has come a long way over the years. With the consumer industry embracing it for ”personalized” industrial design and with new industries such as aerospace and medical device manufacturers leveraging it for faster prototyping, retailers will soon find that 3-D printing is a viable technology for exploring new in-store design ideas.

Images courtesy of MakerBot and Shapeways

McDonald’s POP Advertising

GSP Investigates – What They Are Currently Doing

As the trend to expand foodservice operations and increase fresh food offerings at convenience stores continues, c-store retailers are finding themselves competing more and more with the QSR industry. Steven Cohen, GSP’s Vice President of Design Services, and some of his team members, visited some recently renovated McDonalds to take a look at their POP advertising, to see what types of signage they are using and what new trends or innovative techniques they have incorporated. Here’s the result of their findings.

1. The Arch
In the images below, notice how the well-known McDonald’s arch is represented on the storefront trim and in their graphics – a subtle way to imprint their brand on each promotional element.
The Arch The Arch The ArchThe Arch The Arch

2. Photography Use
The McDonalds signage and website incorporates professionally shot photographs that support their brand. The images are shot with minimal styling on white, color and location backgrounds. In each case the food is hero and impact is made, as demonstrated by their window graphics and menu signage.
Photography Use Photography Use
Photography Use Photography Use

3. Less is More
Instead of a lot of small signs, they utilize large simple messages, like the pictured standee highlighting the new CBO sandwich and key POP advertising signs on the windows.
Less is More Less is More

4. Shapes
Window banners are utilized to highlight product specials and big ideas. They avoid the ordinary rectangle, and use custom-branded shapes to capture the customer’s attention.
McDonalds Shapes McDonalds Shapes

5. Destinations
They have branded destinations for an enhanced consumer in-store experience.
McDonalds Destinations McDonalds Destinations

In summary, McDonalds uses a powerful graphic approach, professionally shot images and takes advantage of every opportunity to reinforce their brand. The result is a clear, easy to understand communication to their customers.