Branded Windows: The Semiotics of a Window Display
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
The objective of this study was to analyze the visual communication of fashion brand identity through the concept of window displays. Window displays are often categorized as an aspect of a much larger concept of visual merchandising that should be seen as a crucial part of the entire marketing communications. Although the concept of window displays is not new, their effect on the overall brand image creation remains relatively unexplored. The interpretation of communication in a visual form is complex in nature, and this research approaches the matter from a semiotic perspective. The approach was selected due to its capability to explore deeper meanings behind visual objects. In this study, window display is understood as a crucial part of the sign system of a fashion store. Window display is commonly regarded as the starting point of the entire shopping experience, and therefore in the lack of previous research, it is a logical starting point for this study. The analytical framework of the study follows the thee metafunctions of semiotic modes as discussed in the Theory of the Grammar of Visual Design by Kress and van Leeuwen (2006). The analytical framework is then applied to analyze six different window displays produced by the same fashion brand. Findings of the research are discussed in terms of the three metafunctions of ideational, interpersonal and textual, and the purpose is to increase the knowledge of how window displays can be used to depict different relations between brand, people, places and things. In terms of brand identity communication, the most important contribution is to understand the complex relationship that is formed between the window (the brand) and its viewer (the customer). As a result, this research finds that the window displays are loaded with multiple visual cues all of which intend to serve the same purpose of brand identity communication. Clothing and accessories are the most salient elements used and they can be understood as the embodiment of the brand identity. Images of models and mannequins are used to address the viewers and create a specific relationship with them. The less salient elements in the window displays are used to support the message the brand is conveying through the display.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Brand Identity, Fashion Retail, Window Display, Visual Merchandising, Visual Communication, Semiotics
Economics and Business
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-10719OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-10719DiVA: diva2:972095
Subject / course