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One of our favorite parts of pop-up planning is when the time comes for creating the store’s design and layout. This is where we get to utilize our creativity and really build intrigue around a brand. While we can begin with a range of unique ideas, we also know that before we can put any of them into play we need to have our design foundation solidified. For us, this means creating our color palette, our materials palette, and getting a full understanding of our budget. Previously we went through tips on creating the ideal color palette for your brand (read again here.). Once you have this in place, your next step is to create one for highlighting your desired materials.

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Define the Aesthetic/Concept of the Store

First and foremost, it is always important to have a deep understanding of your brand, the message, and the specific concept behind the pop-up. You want to be sure that you stay true to the aesthetic that is already put in place. There are usually specific styles we find our clients identify with, which is where you start and then add your own twists to make them unique. A few common styles brands connect with:

  • Industrial: Raw and natural feel. Neutral, darker colors. Materials such as wrought iron, exposed brick, reclaimed wood.
  • Contemporary: Minimalistic, with strong lines and clean palette. Materials such as lacquered woods, leathers, glass, metals.
  • Coastal: Laidback, bright, and breezy. White and pale neutrals. Materials such as crisp fabrics, weathered light or white woods, natural fibers.
  • Luxe: Glamour with an understated sophistication. Mix of neutrals with bold colors. Materials such as lacquered woods, luxurious fabrics, mirrors.

Take into Consideration the Store Aesthetic Already in Place

The next thing you should think about is the look of the actual space. During location scouting we always aim to secure a space that already fits the feel of the brand, but with the unpredictability of the market you often need to work with what is available. In that instance it’s important you aim to marry the two as seamlessly as possible in the final design. Where this really starts coming into play is when you start thinking of your materials. Some things you should ask yourself:

  • What are the walls made of?
  • What is the flooring made of?
  • What is the look and feel of the windows?
  • Are there any other special features that affect the aesthetic of the space?

Once you know the answers you can decide which existing materials you can utilize in your palette and what areas you may need to adjust to make the space fit your aesthetic.

Create a Unique Materials Palette with Inspiration Areas

After having a clear picture of the aesthetic, you can then begin to narrow down the materials you would like to use and where you think they would work best. To start, think back on the current features of the store. If your aesthetic is industrial, is there a brick wall you can utilize? Are there wrought iron windows that you can highlight? Or maybe you are going with a coastal feel. Are the walls white? Are the floors a natural wood? Answering these types of questions starts the base of your palette.

Once you know where you can use the materials and where you can’t, you can then decide how to utilize what is left of the materials on the palette. Is there no wood yet in the store? You can tie-in wood furniture instead. Do you want to incorporate metal? Fixtures are a perfect way. Do you need to incorporate bold lacquer without it being overwhelming? Accents are the best option.

You should also always make sure to incorporate the colors from the already formulated palette to really make the design feel unique to your brand and not just the common style. For example, one of our clients wanted a luxe, yet warm and inviting feel to their pop-up. To achieve this we worked with glass and lacquered materials in white and gold as the foundation pieces and then added in colorful, soft accents in the brand’s colors to bring in a cozy touch. Another example is an industrial pop-up we concepted for a client. . We wanted the look to exude the unique and masculine style of the brand so we added in muted blue woods that gave a more sophisticated feel and were also a part of the brand’s core colors.

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Inspiration from Pinterest

Whatever you may be designing, your top importance is to make sure your brand’s voice and aesthetic is front and center. You should never let creative design ideas overshadow or divert from that direction. This is why it’s critical to invest the time to having a strong design foundation in place. By organizing and visualizing the materials in advance, you will have a clear roadmap to achieving the ultimate design for your pop-up.